Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Aimaq, Taimani of Afghanistan

Over at the Joshua Project you can find a top ten list of the most unreached people groups in the world. Weighing at #1 are the Aimaq, Taimani of Afghanistan.
Who Are They? The Taimani are a large population of Char Aimaq people (a make up of four smaller clans within the Aimaq). Thus, the Char Aimaq are actually a sub-group of the Aimaq people.
Located in the mountains of Afganistan the Taimani are a semi-nomadic people. Like many peoples in Central Asia, they were nomadic before certain interactions with the U.S.S.R. brought about a change. They now leave only seasonally to graze their cattle in different, more fertile lands. They have practically disappeared off the map, sociologically speaking, since the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Therefore, there is not a lot of new information about the Aimaq and their language (Aimaq).
What do they believe? The Taimani are Hanafi Sunni Muslims. You can learn more about that here . This is the largest sect of Sunni Islam (49%). They know the Bible stories mentioned in the Koran but view Christianity, as most Islamic people, as heresy.
Status of Engagement: Right now there are zero believers known amongst the Taimani Aimaq. No surprise since they are #1 on the list given to us by Joshua project. Currently there is at least one agency committed to reaching the Aimaq.
They are hard to reach because of their isolation from the rest of the world. As they have said over at the Joshua Project, "The remote location and wide dispersion of the Taimani have made them hard to reach with the Gospel. At the present time, there is no Christian witness available to the Taimani. Prayer is the first step toward seeing them reached with the Light of the Gospel."
Learn More/Prayer: Since prayer requests change I won't list them here. But, here are some websites you can visit to learn more and get prayer requests for the Taimani Aimaq. You can also subscribe to a prayer letter for them on the first link.

Prayer Requests from the IMB
World Cultures (You can scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the bibliography to read about them.)

Would your church Get involved with the Taimani Aimaq?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bible Translators Killed

I hate to post this right on top of WLH's new post but you may want to be updated on this situation. So, before I get to that, please read the posts below. We've actually been posting here regularly, but with a greater frequency this week.

The BBC has an article on its web-site describing the deaths of three Bible translators who were killed intentionally. So, please be in prayer for their Christian community as they have specifically been targeted.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is there a Theology of Cooperation?

Dr Chad Brand and Dr David Hankins published a book about the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention called One Sacred Effort.

I admit, going into the book, I was a bit skeptical. I do believe that churches are interconnected. I do not take the autonomy of the local church to be total separation from other churches. All churches are united in one head--Jesus Christ.

But on this very blog, I have accused Southern Baptists like myself of pseudo-cooperation. What I mean by pseudo-cooperation is sole financial cooperation. As such, the SBC would be some charity that I, or my church, gives to but has no stake in actively participating in the work of the charity. Following my missions training, I whole-heartedly affirm that missions cannot be done by proxy. I go a step further and say that the church is the primary agent of missions. And I do not think this contradicts the Cooperative Program. After reading One Sacred Effort and the 1985 version, Cooperation: The Baptist Way to a Lost World, I am less skeptical of the cooperative efforts of Southern Baptists. I would change a few things if I could, but overall its a sound method.

Before I begin to unfold how both the church and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention can be agencies of mission without contradicting one another, let ask you a question? (My answer prior to this past February would have been I don't know much).

What do you know about the Cooperative Program?

Follow Up Question:

Do you think that centralized programs, like the Cooperative Program, are efficient or inefficient at collecting and using funds?

Another and important question:

Do you think that cooperation should be based on a common mission, or a common theology, or both, or do you see another basis for cooperation?

I look forward to your input!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Contextualization- Your Thoughts

Before I start to ramble about what I believe to be some of the most important parts of sharing the gospel/theology cross-culturally I decided to let you guys muse about it for this week.

So, what would you all consider important guidelines when attempting to share the gospel cross-culturally? Or, what else would you add to my question because of your concerns while working in other cultures?

Please feel free to post a comment and we'll get the ball rolling on what I believe to be a very important discussion.

Through Christ,

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Word Among Us- Part Uno

There are two things which I think about the most. 1) Interpretation and 2) Contextualization. The first term does not need a definition, for I think most of you know what it means to interpret something. However, contextualization may need a definition. The problem, if I give you a definition it is probably going to be used differently by some other author. Thus, your context will cause you to misinterpret their meaning. :)

The problem with contextualization has just as much to do with its history as its present. The term was first used by the World Council of Churches (see Gilliland's introduction to The Word Among Us, 2). Also, liberation theology, and black theology, are considered to be contextual theologies (ibid). This has caused evangelicals/conservatives to usually shy away from the discussion.

For the next long while we'll be discussing contextualization here. We'll be going chapter by chapter through The Word Among Us, edited by Deas S. Gilliland. This work was written by Fuller Theological Seminary staff and is useful, I think, in opening the discussion on contextualization.

In the forward of the book, David Allan Hubbard begins with the image of the fiddler on the roof, "fall to the right and you end in obscurantism...slip to the left and you tumble into syncretism." This is the whole issue of contextualization in a nutshell, how do we communicate God's word to other cultures? Will we do it in a way, like the right, where it means nothing to the people, or to the left, where it has nothing of the true gospel left in it. This is the fine line the missiologists have to walk when communicating the gospel, translating the Bible and discipling.

Therefore, at a blog like this, the topic of contextualization will have to come up. It will have to be discussed and that is what we are going here. In the next post I'll post some of my major concerns/biases in this whole discussion so you'll know them up front. But for now let me say on thing about the book, The Word Among Us. I am going to try to bring out its good points, but I am already not apt to do so. I read this back a few years ago and when I started to do my homework I found some errors on the part of those writing in their analysis of Greek used in the New Testament. I am more likely to criticize this work than present its arguments in a fair manner. If you catch me doing so—that is not presenting a balanced approach of criticism—call me on it!

I hope that this discussion is fruitful and glorifying to God. I hope that we all can learn from one another and that we can exchange ideas in a good way. Missionaries—speak up on this topic, we'll greatly appreciate your input.

Through Christ,

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

People Groups, Churches and Blogging

First, let me apologize for the fact that this blog has not been maintained too well. All three of us have hit a busy spell. But, I do hope to continue blogging here, even if my comprades do not. Though, they have not expressed any desire to quit blogging.

I cannot post with a great deal of frequency here myself, even on the light weeks. So, I have decided that once and possibly twice a week will be enough here.

So, what will I be posting about? Well there are three things I would like to do. First, I would like to start going through a book on Contextualization edited by Gilliand called, The Word Among Us. Second, I hope to profile a few people groups, maybe once or twice a month. Third, I will be discussing how your church can be involved with missions overseas, or to put it another way: how your church can mobilize for missions.

I hope that these topics will be a fruitful time of discussion about missions and ecclesiology.

Through Christ,