Ministry Talking Points is an attempt to share with my audience key thoughts or ideas I’ve seen that I think pastors and church leaders should be talking about.
In this issue:
Dennis Rodman a Missionary
Seth Godin: The Problem is Awareness
Pope Francis on Abortion and a Throwaway Culture
It’s crazy to think that the “Bad Boy of Basketball” from my youth is setting an example on how to break down barriers. The truth is Rodman has always broken the barrier (cross-dressing, dyed hair, strange piercings, tattoos, etc.). This time, Rodman is working to develop a relationship with the isolated people in North Korea who are being held back by the barriers world leaders have established. I’m not suggesting Rodman is doing this because he is a Christian or sees himself as a missionary, I don’t know Rodman nor his faith. I only know what CNN reported one of his teammates, Charles Smith, as saying,
“We went there to do what we normally do, and that’s to be cross-cultural ambassadors and use the game of basketball as a bridge for exchange.”
The willingness to go cross-cultural and be an ambassador is what I see as the missionary act. When was the last time we saw someone give up the comforts of his culture or world to learn about the culture of another? I applaud Rodman for his efforts. If more private citizens took it upon themselves to breakdown cultural barriers, I think we’d see some pretty remarkable things happen in our world. CNN reports that Smith shared “he has no regrets about going. He said he was able to meet some North Korean citizens and even came across one man who winced before shaking the hand of the first African-American he had ever met. Smith said the man told him they didn’t have a very good view of African-Americans. The man rubbed his hand as if the color would come off, Smith said.” Kudos to Rodman for breaking the barriers, and for even wishing a Happy Birthday to the North Korean leader.
Let me start by saying, I’m a big Seth Godin fan. He has a unique ability to articulate keen insights in a few paragraphs. In this post, Seth reminds us that the key to raising awareness of our cause, group, church, etc. is not to focus on the big one-time event, but rather design our systems so that we are a continually in the conversations. Let me admit this, I’m really good at the big and flashy ideas. Developing systems I can do. My challenge is maintaining the system. How about you?
This weekend, people around the nation will take part in the remembering the historic ruling of Roe vs.Wade by the United States Supreme Court, as they hold memorials or rallies regarding the sanctity of life and the power of choice. The news outlets reported Pope Francis recently expressed that abortion was evidence of our “throwaway culture.” In the past, Francis has elaborated on the “throwaway culture” especially as it relates to food and other resources. It seems Francis understands the way to overcome the desire for abortion is to address the consumer, self-centered issues of our culture. When I first heard Francis talk about the “throwaway culture,” food seemed to be the central aspect of the conversation. I walked away challenged to throwaway less food. That doesn’t mean I should necessarily “clean my plate,” though I often do. Rather, I think the challenge is to waste less food. In that daily practice of wasting less food, could I begin to overcome my consumption desires and my tendency to throwaway things? What if each of us wasted less food? Would it cure many of our issues like obesity and world-hunger? Could it even reduce poverty, abortion, war, and the like? In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, he asserts that the reduction of litter and graffiti in New York City led to a reduction of overall crime. Without a doubt, food is in abundance in the United States. What if we chose to waste less of it? Could that curb our desire to consume and throwaway? I’m going to do my part.