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Gifts and Laments from Lausanne Cape Town

October 19, 2010

“Welcome to Africa!” Projected during a spectacular opening ceremony of drums, dancers, and the buzz of 5,000

“The whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world …” A description from the platform I found difficult to receive. Amidst the incredible gifts of who is here is the reality of who is not here – including my Catholic brothers and sisters from east Africa and the U.S.

“Be still and know that I am God” This came to me yesterday, wrestling with how to engage this large Congress. Later, many surprising encounters with friends old and new, from native American Richard Twiss, to legendary Ron Sider, to Emmanuel Ndikumana of Burundi, to my delightful table group members from Germany, Indonesia, Canada, Ghana, and Ethiopia. Later I remembered it was October 18, “Grace Day”—the memory of a sacred breakthrough in 1997

“We are over-evangelizing the world too lightly” John Perkins’ words came to mind hearing “unreached people groups” mentioned. How does this account for “reached” groups which are Christian and engage in deep social injustices (South African apartheid, U.S. slavery and segregation, Rwandan genocide)?

“The most heavily militarized country is also one of the most churched” South Korean participant, speaking of his nation

“There is an elephant in the room. We have a black president and black children in the White House, and there are many American Christians who have a problem with this” Participant in a U.S. regional gathering of 650 yesterday. I was grateful for the transparency of this gathering

“We need to overcome the global/local divide. We need fresh approaches which integrate global faithfulness and local faithfulness” Peter Cha, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This is already emerging here as a crucial challenge within the U.S. context. Many people confess to me they’d rather go to Rwanda or Haiti than East Durham or the west side of Chicago. I see it as the “Samaria challenge”—not avoiding the difficult places which are near on the way to the “uttermost parts of the world” (Acts 1:7-8)

“Good process is a means of grace that allows the grace of God to flow and the gifts of God’s people to be used. But that means not controlling the final product” A mentor’s wisdom at breakfast today. I had never thought of “process” as sacramental

“Hanging wall paper with you, eating barbeque with you, playing the guitar together, this was real life” Haami Chapman, New Zealand Maori, speaking of visiting our Mississippi Antioch community 15 years ago. What a reunion, being with Haami after so many years

About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School. He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. He writes regularly at the blog Reconcilers.

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