The Peoples Next Door Posts

The Romans had chariots, the cowboys in the Wild West had their horses, the modern American has the mid-sized sedan (or oversized SUV for some) and West Africans have the “bush taxi.” Labeled the bush taxi more for where it goes than its appearance (they look nothing like a bush), this fine mode of transportation is the staple in this area. For inter-village travel, there are few options other than walking, and this venerable vehicle has found its niche here in the jungles of West Africa.

The bush taxi starts its life some 20 years prior to its service in Africa as a compact, European sedan. It was cheap when it was produced in 1986, so imagine it now. After a long life serving its European owner(s), and sometime just after is falls completely apart, the loosely assembled pile of car parts makes its way across the ocean in a shipping container bound for the dark continent. Here, it will serve out the remainder of its life toiling down the dirt trails these folk call roads. When I say dirt trail, I want to be sure you understand that I am referring to something that would make the moon rover cry. I simply do not know how they do it, but they do. Read More Delight in the Law of the Lord: Part 7 – Application

Discipleship from Africa Hermeneutics

If ever there was a strategy that would reach the world for Christ, it must be the church sign. Crowning the curb of church properties across America, these little, often backlit, beacons of truth shine out to a lost world. If am not mistaken (and I may be), the origin of the church sign can be traced back to the Apostolic Fathers. Ignatius himself has been quoted as saying, “Seven days without prayer makes one weak.” Indeed some of the earliest extra-canonical sources we have include such pithy statements as: “Dusty Bibles lead to dirty lives,” “Forbidden fruit creates many jams,” and “Searching for a new look? Get a faith lift!” If statements such as these are not going to do the trick, than what better solution do we have?

In all honestly, there are probably few things for which we Christians are more mocked. Statements like these are shallow. How do you sum up God’s grace in a sentence? I can tell you one thing, it is not by saying, “Free trip to Heaven… details inside!” In a world with hundreds of competing worldviews, we claim ours is the only true solution. We say that it answers all of life’s most important questions and explains all of existence. Then we hang the truth of God on statements that barely support themselves. These church sign slogans are weak nails indeed. Read More Delight in the Law of the Lord: Part 6 – More Technique

Discipleship from Africa Hermeneutics

I have a confession. Pulling water is not one of my spiritual gifts. For those of you too pampered to have ever experienced this, “pulling water” is the euphemism applied to dragging buckets of water up a rope and out of a 50ft-deep well.

Pulling water, that sounds easy. At least I thought so when I first heard this would be part of my daily routine in the village. That was one of many stupid assumptions I would make adjusting to life in the bush.

Before I ever tried this activity for myself, I watched as the women and little kids would go casually over to the well, throw the bucket down into the chasm and effortlessly lift the water out of the hole and pour it into their own containers. It appeared to be a cinch, and the concept was simple. Drop in bucket, pull out water. Anybody could do that. Read More Delight in the Law of the Lord: Part 5 – Technique

Discipleship from Africa Hermeneutics