It’s been a few days since I blogged and I don’t have anything big to share, but a number of smaller items have come to mind.

Last weekend our family drove over for a night at a beach hotel in Benin  (Our weekend includes Monday, the official missionary’s day off.)  We met Christine Crowson and her boys and the Vaughn family, who are missionaries to the Aja people in Benin.  The occasion was Tori Vaughn’s seventh birthday.  Being the Texans that they are, the Vaughns chose a Western theme, which was a lot of fun for all the kids.  The sun was blazing hot at the beach; almost too hot for me.  The pool did feel nice—that stretch of coastline isn’t safe for swimming in the ocean.  I’ve posted a few photos below, but you can see lots more of the Vaughns’ photos on Randy’s blog.


As Promised

I finally finished that study on Acts that I mentioned a few posts ago. It’s called “The Three ‘Pentecosts’ and the Missionary Momentum of the Church in Acts.”   If anyone cares to look at the full twenty-three and a half page outline, it’s available as a PDF file (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is probably already on your computer) by clicking here.  You can then save a copy from your browser.


Ministry from Mitford

I may as well go ahead and admit that, although I’m a guy, I read and enjoy the Mitford series by Jan Karon.  (I wouldn’t know that it’s not supposed to be a guy thing if some of my guy friends hadn’t laughed when they found out that I read the books.)  One of our teammates (a female, of course) recently lent us last year’s release, Shepherds Abiding, which I just finished.  I find the simple stories refreshing and at the same time revealing of the common human emotions that bind us.  In this book, one character waits anxiously to hear whether or not she is going to be able to buy the bookstore where she has been working.  The day that I read this part, I too was feeling a lot of anxiety.  In the book, the character recalls Father Tim’s words – “Don’t worry about anything, Hope, Father Tim had said, but in everything, by prayer, supplication, with thanksgiving … ‘… make your requests known to God,” she recited aloud, going quickly down the stairs, “and the peace that passes all understanding will fill your heart and mind through Christ Jesus” (p. 110).  A new thought?  No, but one that spoke to me deeply at the time.

My appreciation of the country humor betrays my Alabama roots.  I particularly enjoyed this exchange, which takes place in the local diner as Christmas approaches:

“Did I hear you’re givin’ your boy a rototiller?” Bob Hartley asked his boothmate.
”That’s right”
”He’s forty-two an’ working a steady job.  Why can’t he buy ‘is own rototiller?
”We like to be nice to Harry; he’ll choose our nursin’ home.”


What Are the Questions?

I’ve seen that lots of my fellow bloggers link to Wade Hodge’s site, so I wander over occasionally and have a look.  I was intrigued by a series that he posted back in April of this year on “An Emerging Church of Christ,” which drew lots of response.  (The link is listed under his “Favorite Posts.”)  One of the most thought-provoking comments was signed by Scott Lybrand where he challenges us to make sure that we are offering answers to the questions people are asking.  You may or may not agree with Scott’s answers, but we have to face his questions.  He writes:

Part of my problem with this whole discussion is what I should do with a church that is still worried about instrumental/noninstrumental when I am worried about some of the following:
What do I say to my gay friends when they ask if they will be welcome at my church? I say they should be welcomed, my church does not.
What do I say to my female friends (both in church and out) when they ask why Churches of Christ continue to push women to the margins? When they ask why they cannot be ministers, though they are talented? Teachers, though they have incredible minds?
What do I say to my friends of color when they walk in the door and see a lily-white congregation?
What do I say to the poor and homeless when my congregation writes an enormous check each month to pay the mortgage?
What do I say to friends who are concerned about the environment when they see a church parking lot full of shiny new SUVs?

What are the questions that you hear people asking in American culture today?  I’m not looking for the answers—just the questions.