Wednesday, Christian formation

Redemption comes by suffering with and for and instead of rather than pointing out sin from the sidelines.   E. Stanley Jones 

   Much of my other work is done in the area of Christian Education and formation, which boils down to helping others, and myself become “thin places.”  On Wednesdays I will share things that I am involved in or working with in this particular area.  

   One of my practices is to use a daily devotional guide throughout the year.  I have a variety that I have collected over the years and I put them on a year to year rotation system.  Last year I used a book that was purchased at the end of 2012, but was a reprint of a much older book.  i found it in the strangest of places, a remainder shop that I frequent which while popular is not widely known for harboring devotional materials.  The book “The Way” was authored by E. Stanley Jones, a missionary whose work I became familiar with on my mission to India in 2008/2009.  E. Stanley Jones was a Methodist missionary to India who was influential with Ghandi and other leaders of India.  I had the great fortune to stay at the Ashram he established for Christian retreats in Northern India.  So I had this unusual connection to this devotional resource.  
     This book was a reprint, the original publication date was 1946, and contained many references to historical events.  Jones commented on World war II as a fresh event, not one that occurred more than half a century later.  The devotional contains many references to his work with the governmental leaders of India, as well as the growing Christian presence in that country.  One of his most significant contributions was to create an understanding that Christianity in India could not be in the same context as Christianity in the west. 

   Context.  That is an important concept that the church seems to be struggling with today.  All too often we are the ones pointing out sins, and not stepping on to the playing field and working together.  We become “thin places” for ourselves and others when we realize that our formational events become transformative, for ourselves and others, when we take our place along side others.  

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