Francis Schaeffer and the shaping of Evangelical America by Barry Hankins is not a new book. It was published by Eerdmans in 2008, but I’m just now getting to it. It was a hard book to read. Schaeffer profoundly shaped my thinking as a young adult. The love with which the Schaefers received both European and American young people at L’Abri (“the Shelter”) in Huemoz, Switzerland, was as powerful an apologetic for his conservative Christian faith as his tireless teaching. Although I visited L’Abri only briefly in 1976 (and that at a time when the by-then-retired Schaeffers were away), I heard him speak several times, most notably at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. Hankins’ summary of the contents of Schaeffer’s trilogy (The God Who is There, Escape From Reason, and He is There and He is not Silent) brought me back to the roots of much of my thinking that I have taken for granted for many years—the importance of worldview; the upper and lower stories that divorce faith and reason; the mannishness of man, separating us from the animal kingdom; the need to engage culture if we are going to win a world for Christ.
SIM is not your grandfather’s mission agency! We are in transition as is the whole world of cross-cultural ministry. Founded as Soudan Interior Mission in 1893, SIM has since merged with groups working in Asia and Latin America, as well as our former mission, Africa Evangelical Fellowship. With expanding territory, the name was changed to Serving in Mission. But a lot more than the name and areas of service has changed!
Dr. Robert Livingstone Foster passed away last week. Dr. Bob, as he was always known within our mission, was born in what is now Zambia in 1924. His parents were missionaries who experienced first hand the medical challenges of Africa, losing a little girl to cerebral malaria, which also left young Robert’s brother, Edgar, mentally challenged. In an effort to protect their remaining sons, Bob and Harold, their parents left the boys in Canada when they returned to the work to which they believed God had called them.
I have been surveying readers to find out what they would like more of on this blog. This is for all those who like book reviews and for those who want to hear more spiritual thoughts relevant to travel, justice, etc. It also falls under “other people’s ministries with children at risk” because, although she is fictional, Jeanette Windle’s character, Amy, in Freedom's Stand works with women who have been imprisoned in Afghanistan and their children. (That is, children who have been growing up in prison with their mothers. You can’t get more at-risk than that.) Some of the “women” are hardly more than children themselves—children running away from forced marriages to older men who abused them.
Room by Emma Donahue was recommended to me by my daughter, an avid reader and administrator on a Nook e-readers site, and by a fellow writer on an e-mail list I subscribe too. The writer recommended it as a powerful child protagonist voice. My daughter just said it was a good book. She started to say, ‘I really enjoyed it,’ and then decided ‘enjoy’ was definitely not the right word. “It’s disturbing,” she told me.
It’s your fault!
Who hasn’t heard voices like these telling her how worthless she is? I know I have.
“Don’t look down,” my coach told me. “Focus on the goal”—not the hot coals under your feet. (Rich didn’t say that last part. Mentioning hot coals would turn my mind in a direction it wasn’t supposed to go.) “Cool moss, cool moss—chant it as you walk”—on the hot coals that you aren’t thinking about.
The Southern and East Africa leadership of our organization, SIM, was meeting at Carmel Christian Accomodation and Convention Center outside George, South Africa. The view of Victoria Bay was spectacular. Mountain mists watered colorful gardens each morning. We even saw whales frolicking in the surf when we hiked down to the beach.
I acknowledge that you are God. You didn’t stop being God when the sea roared and the mountains of Haiti fell into the sea. You know each person who lies buried beneath that rubble, and you care about them even more than the frantic family members who are still searching for them. We are horrified by the situation; we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the logistics needed to bring help; we are heartbroken by the hunger and pain, especially of helpless children. Your heart breaks for them too, but you are not overwhelmed.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.