Friday 29 September 2023

The Good Childhood Report

The Children’s Society recently published ‘The Good Childhood Report’ for 2023.

Their key findings are as follows:

• Almost a third of the children aged 10 to 17 who completed our annual survey this year were unhappy with at least one of the ten specific areas of their lives that we ask about.

• The majority (74%) of children who completed our annual survey felt positive about their own futures, but less than four in ten felt positive about the future of the country and the world.

• More children (aged 10 to 17) who completed our annual survey were unhappy with school (14.5%), a larger proportion than for the other nine aspects of life included in the Good Childhood Index.

• Children aged 10 to 17 who completed our annual survey who worried about how much money their family had were more likely to be unhappy than those without financial worries with all the different aspects of life that they were asked about, and particularly with their home, money and things they own, and the amount of choice they have.

• When asked about a list of seven issues relevant for the future, having enough money was the item that more children and young people worried about, followed by finding a job and getting good grades at school.

• When asked about a set of nine societal issues, rising prices was the top worry among children completing the survey this year, followed by the environment.

More information is available here, the full report is available as a pdf here, a summary with recommendations is available as a pdf here, and a youth summary is available as a pdf here.

Thursday 28 September 2023

Lausanne Global Analysis 12, 5 (September 2023)

The latest issue of Lausanne Global Analysis, from The Lausanne Movement, is available online from here, including pdfs of individual articles as below.

The summaries are taken from the Issue Overview by Loun Ling Lee.

Steve Moon

Innovative Integration and Collaboration on the Mission Field: A Holistic Intercultural Approach

Steve Moon reflects on the approaches and processes to evaluate what ‘new and creative ways, expressed through new cultural and technological tools’, would be appropriate, realistic, and faithful to the Word of God. Such evaluation requires much practical wisdom gained through contextualization, integration, and ‘collaboration with diverse people across disciplines, sectors, generations, and backgrounds’. This spirit of innovative integration applies also to mission financing. He recommends ‘integrating faith missions approaches and missional business approaches’ as ‘a realistic solution in many contexts’.

First Rievan

Beyond Self-Support Fundraising for Missions: Thinking, Structures, and Practices for Majority World Missionaries

Kirst Rievan addresses the question, ‘Are there ways to make international missions more sustainable and less dependent on the West?’ Although ‘the financial systems of most mission organisations are now more diverse than at their foundation’, their basic principle is still that ‘individual workers are responsible for raising their own support’. This poses great challenges especially for mission workers from the Majority World. The author revisits ‘the general models for financing international mission workers: 1) self support, 2) organisational support, and 3) a hybrid. Each has variations, strengths, and weaknesses’. He recommends changes in ‘thinking, structures, and practices’ and concludes that ‘multiple models’ are the way forward for financial sustainability for international mission organisations.

John Cheong

Islamic Economics for Christian Ministry and Mission: What We Can Learn from Zakat, Waqf, and Islamic Banking

John Cheong illustrates how we can ‘integrate the sociocultural and religious dimensions of economics into missiology’, particularly in Muslim contexts, by ‘examining three aspects of the Islamic economy: zakat (almsgiving/tithing), waqf (endowments/trusts), and Islamic banking (interest-free financing)’ and comparing them with Christian ‘life and witness in relation to the socioeconomic dimensions of life’. He hopes by doing so, we will ‘recover a more holistic gospel that is truly good news to the poor’.

Al Tizon

The Legacy of Ronald J. Sider: Five Elements Shaping Transformational Mission Today

According to Tizon, Sider’s one great impact on global mission is in catalyzing social transformation. His motivation for that ‘came not from humanist altruism, but ultimately from authentic, Christian discipleship – a deep desire to follow Jesus faithfully and radically in the world’. Since its first edition in 1977 to its sixth edition today, Sider’s book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger has challenged ‘the church to repent and to begin living out the economics of the kingdom’, including practising an ‘economically conscious mission’. His unwavering commitment to ‘a simple lifestyle’ and nonviolence as well as his urging of Christians ‘to enter the public square with the politics of Jesus’ have significantly influenced the ‘contour of mission’ and helped ‘build the kind of society that reflects God’s peace, justice, and righteousness’.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Theos Report on Volunteering After the Pandemic

A new report from Theos has been published:

Hannah Rich and George Lapshynov, Volunteering After the Pandemic: Lessons from the Homelessness Sector (London: Theos, 2023).

More information can be found here, and a pdf of the full report is available here.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Mission Frontiers 45, 5 (September–October 2023)

The September–October 2023 issue of Mission Frontiers, published by Frontier Ventures, contains a number of articles devoted to the theme of ‘Arts, Worship, and Mission in Today’s Church’.

Here is the issue blurb, which sets the scene:

‘Western hymns and worship songs are not the only valid forms of worship. Not only does worship not have to be Western, it doesn't have to be in song! Jesus is worthy of worship expressed in every style and every form. The ethnodoxology movement seeks to enable Christ followers in every nation, tribe, and language (and culture!) to worship God through multiple culturally relevant art forms. Ethnodoxology encourages worship that helps connect the worshiper's heart to God, resulting in forms that seem natural rather than foreign and that catalyze Disciple Making Movements.’

The issue is available here, from where individual articles can be downloaded, and the entire issue can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Thursday 7 September 2023

Kathleen Nielson on Proverbs

Every month, The Good Book Company make available digital versions of one of their books at no charge. This month (September 2023), it’s Proverbs for You by Kathleen Nielson, which is available in exchange for an email address here.

Friday 1 September 2023

Francois P. Viljoen and Albert J. Coetsee et al. on Prayer in the New Testament

Thanks to Alistair Wilson for the heads up on this open access volume, to which he has contributed a chapter:

Francois P. Viljoen and Albert J. Coetsee (eds.), Biblical Theology of Prayer in the New Testament, Reformed Theology in Africa Series Volume 13 (Cape Town: AOSIS Publishing, 2023).

Here’s the synopsis:

‘This publication deals with a biblical theology of prayer based on the New Testament. It forms the second of a two-volume publication on a biblical theology of prayer, dealing with the concept of prayer in the Old and New Testament, respectively. This New Testament volume begins with an introduction on prayer and worship in early Jewish tradition, followed by eleven chapters dealing with New Testament corpora. It concludes with a final chapter synthesising the findings of the respective investigations of the Old and New Testament corpora to provide a summative theological perspective of the development of the concept of prayer through scripture.

‘Prayer forms a major and continuous theme throughout the biblical text. Prayer was an integral part of the religious existence of God’s people in both the Old and New Testament. It underwent its greatest developments during, after and as a result of the Exile and was deepened and transformed in the New Testament. In both the Old and the New Testament, God is the sole “addressee” of his people’s prayer. This conviction continued into the New Testament, but was broadened with Trinitarian elements of worship, adoration and intercession.

A biblical theological investigation is chosen as methodology. Since all the biblical books form part of one canonical text, the assumption is that the various theologies about prayer being displayed in these books can be synthesised into a developing meta-theology about prayer. As the Old and New Testament form part of the canonical text, the results about prayer in the Old Testament can be brought into play with the results about prayer in the New Testament. This eventually leads toward an overarching biblical theology of prayer.’

Further information is available here, from where the book can be downloaded as a pdf.

The Old Testament volume referred to in the synopsis is available from here.