Sunday Service 2022-09-25

Sunday School led by Rodney Duttweiler, missionary to Africa. The usual American style. I don't agree with where he repeated a few times (since dinner) that he followed the African proverb: "A log that floats do not become a crocodile", meaning that he will never become a Senegalese in spite of how long he's been with them. There are tons of Inland Missionaries who identified themselves with Chinese, despite their Caucasian looks. Culture and everything else. That should be the heart of a missionary, hence I alluded him to David Livingstone, whom he quite certainly knew, whose heart was not permitted to leave Africa posthumously.

Sermon: Colossians 3:16-17

I thought I heard the pastor said "Music is not part of God's grace"? or is it. Since the video has not been uploaded yet, I cannot rewatch this to confirm. I think his point was trying to keep people away from worshipping music. If so, that I agree, but I would disagree that music is mere subjective, which I think the pastor may allude to. There is a qualitative value to music, good music, bad music. Sure, there is at certain level a subjectivity to music appreciation, but it is mostly due to cultural differences, not emotional. One needs a deep study in music for such discernment.

After service, I learned a couple of things about the church in the Annual meeting:

  1. given a list of Grace Community Church Missionaries Supported ministries. (Scanned into my archive)
  2. That the church is still under mortgage, and has about 7 years to finish from now.
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Thoughts

单身神学理想:上帝有叫有些人单身吗?有 (Matthew 19:12). 但那是什么样的人?什么叫为天国的缘故?一定不是那些认为自以为自己可以独立的人,若是要论自立而单身,肯定不是在上帝理想旨意里行的,最多只是在祂怜悯的许可下,不然的话,肯定会在婚姻问题上,离婚率比一般人还要多。这样看来,真正在上帝恩典上赐下做单身为天国的缘故的人,与那些最多在祂怜悯的许可下而单身,像是为天国其实是为己的人,是不难辨别的。

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Geography: Senegal

So because we have Rodney Duttweiller as this week's church mission speaker on Sunday School as well as dinner this Saturday (tomorrow), I figure I'll look up the countries he's supposed to have served in, Senegal and South Africa, before I see the whole team at dinner. I'm not a big fan of American missionaries these days, but it is what it is, how else would I connect with anyone in America?

Looks like a face with long nose (Pointe des Almadies on Cap Vert Peninsula - advantage for trade routes) and a mouth (The small country Gambia - river to ocean).

14 regions. 70% population on West side.

Capital: Dakar

Most important port on Pointe des Almadies: Port of Dakar

Was French colony. St. Louis used to be the capital for 200+ years, and also was the entire French West-African Colony capital (1895 - 1902).

Independence: 1960

Port of Dakar was main Atlantic slave transport location. Goree Island, a tourist site now.

Relationships with:
Mali - 1959, Mali Federation for 1 year.
Gambia - 1982, 7 years later done.

Tour sites:
Ifan African Arts Museum
Gate of no return on the slave house of Goree island
Women's museum (Henriette Bathily)
Cap Manuel's Abandoned Bunker
Museum of Black Civilizations (Dakar)
Senegal Stone Circles
Mosquee Massalikul Jinaan (Pathways unto Heaven)
Grande Mosquee de Touba
Grande Mosquee de Dakar
Mosquee de la Divinite
African Renaissance Monument (Largest statue in Africa) built by North Korea, who also built multiple such monuments (20+) around Africa.

Senegal name comes from the Senegal River. Wolof words: Snuu Gaal" = our boat. The transition line between Sahara desert and savannah.

North most part: Sahel - hottest, driest part.
Middle, above Gambia: Sudanian Savannah, green.
South most part: Guinea Lowlands, tropical green.

No significant mountains. Situated in the basins of 4 main rivers: Saloum, Gambia River, Casamance (most Christians), Senegal River. Rivers however are blocked at Barbarie Spit, the sand bar beach by the coast, and water could only exit: town of Tassinere.

Pink lake: Lake Retba/Lac Rose
Lac Guiers: main source of water, even for Dakar.

Suffers sand storm Harmattan in the North every year during dry season: Dec - April. Resulting in the Green Wall Project, barrier of trees from Senegal to Djibouti.

Agriculture is main industry: Peanuts, 10th largest producer in the world.

Niololo Koba National Park in the South East
National animal: lion

Food: Fish, seafood => Fadiouth shell island, entire island made of sea shells.
Yassa, Maafe, Stuffed Perch (Capitaine a la Saint-Louisienne), Thiakry (sweet millet pudding), Bassi-salte, Soupou Kandja, Nems spring rolls (influenced from Vietnam), National dish (Thiebou dienne/thebou Yap (Jolof rice - popular in all West African countries with their own versions) - Jolof Kingdom originated in Senegal.

Culture:
Teranga - most tolerating hospitality. Shown between Muslims and Christians, though majority is Muslim.

16 million people, 20 ethnic groups, 40 languages: French = Official language, but Wolof is the common one.
People: 41% Wolof, 18% Fula/Peul, 16% Serer, 14% Mandinka, etc. Most Asians there are Vietnamese.

Religion: 95% Muslim, rest is mostly Christian.
Sunni/Sufi Maliki school of thought, like most North Africa.
Grand Mosque of Touba, pilgrimage known as Grand Magal, celebrating the teaching of Sheikh Amadou Banmba.

Wolof & Serer are descended from ancient kingdoms. Serer and Fula people joke with each other as each's servants.

Their kind of pattern cloth: Seurou Rabal

Darkest skin tone on Earth.

Sadio Mane, most famous African football player.

Laamb/Lutte avec Frappe (Wrestling with hitting) most famous sport: Objective - have opponent's knees, shoulder or back touch the sands, or pushed out of given area. Attract foreigners.

Thiossane (history tradition & culture)

25% 4 wives, islamic law.

Borom Sarret (The Wagoner) 1963, first film made by Black African, a Senegalese: Ousmane Sembène


Musical style: Mbalax (French African mix)

History:

  • Neolithic Senegambia Period
  • Ghana Empire (~500 AD)
  • Migration of Wolof Serer and other people groups
  • Berber Almoravids come in introduce Islam
  • Arab slave trade begins
  • Mali Empire
  • Songhai Empire
  • Portuguese Dinis Dias lands in the Senegal River
  • Dutch take over Goree Island
  • French and British come to take Senegal & Gambia
  • Atlantic Slave Trade
  • France gives privilege to 4 communes
  • Independence from France
  • Quick Mali Federation
  • Portuguese Military Drama in Guinea Bissau in the 70s
  • 1981 New President Abdou Diouf, first peaceful transition of elected official
  • Senegambia Union for 7 yaers
  • Casamance Drama
  • Tourism became major investment

Friends:

Vietnam, Lebanon (Shiite community in Senegal, made Shuwarma famous in the country), France (frenemy - the bad past, but works well together now), close with Guinea (marriages), Mali (shares lots of culture), closest is Gambia = literally the same people except Gambia colonized by UK.




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Assumption is also a form of Judging

If we assume wrongly, we are sinning. Falling in the category of fools, liars, etc.

This is different from honest inquiry.

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The Community of Christ - Not your typical LDS but still, a Mormon group

Came across someone (Joe Simpson) from this 2nd largest Mormon group called The Community of Christ, on Facebook.

Formerly called Reorganized (RLDS) Church of Jesus Christ, CoC broke away from the more popular Brigham Young led LDS following Joseph Smith's death. CoC's leader, Joseph Smith III was only 11 then. It is said that CoC followed mainline Christian doctrine much closer than LDS. In fact, it seems that the CoC worked so hard to align with the main Christian body but accepting Joseph Smith as their prophet as well as the addition of the Book of Mormon (1966 edition) and the Doctrine and Covenants (last updated 2013).

As for anything Mormon related, https://www.mrm.org/coc is a good resource. I'll add it to Projects Category as there's some reading (and listening) about this for me from the site.

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Thoughts

Received in the post mail invitation to service from Garden State Baptist Church. Emphasis on "multi-ethnic". Curious. Sundays 10:45AM & 5PM. 17 mins South of us. I'll just mark it on the map. I do wonder, if this is the best way American Christians do evangelism these days. Kind of sad. But it's better than not doing anything.

On Christ being of Mary's substance: This site lists a few good quotes from great men (See comments for copy).
Came across a section of Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology, and I was reminded of a debate I had on FB a week ago, with Mike Holloman, touching on the subject of female pastor, who claimed to be a Baptist (fundamentalist) preacher of 48+ years and appeared to love Berkhof's. Yet everything he said opposes this part of Berkhof, be it intentional or not:

Berkhof's Systematic Theology: The States of Christ - The State of Humiliation:

d. The incarnation constituted Christ one of the human race.
In opposition to the teachings of the Anabaptists, our Confession affirms that Christ assumed His human nature from the substance of His mother. The prevailing opinion among the Anabaptists was that the Lord brought His human nature from heaven, and that Mary was merely the conduit or channel through which it passed. On this view His human nature was really a new creation, similar to ours, but not organically connected with it. The importance of opposing this view will be readily seen. If the human nature of Christ was not derived from the same stock as ours but merely resembled it, there exists no such relation between us and Him as is necessary to render His mediation available for our good.

So it seems that this is a thing with Anabaptists, that Jesus' human nature is not organically linked with ours, though they may not view His human nature as non-created, at least not according to Berkhof, but the actual fact I am not sure. Although, it is not surprising that the Anabaptist influence today has resulted in a uncreated/uncreaturely human nature of Jesus view. Not just among Chinese Christians as Alex once proposed.

And Bavinck's take on this is just gold:

Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) explains the motivation of these Anabaptists: “That [Christ’s] human nature did not exist beforehand. It was not brought down with Christ from heaven and borne into Mary from the outside and, so to speak, conducted through her body. The Anabaptists teach this in order to hold to the sinlessness of the human nature in Christ. But in taking this stand, they are following in the example of the ancient gnosticism, and proceed from the idea that flesh and matter are in themselves sinful. But in the incarnation, also, Scripture holds to the goodness of creation and to the Divine origin of matter. Christ took His human nature from Mary (Mt 1.20, Lu 2.7, Gal 4.4). So far as the flesh is concerned, He is from David and the fathers (Acts 2.30, Rom 1.3, 9.5). Therefore this nature in Him is a true and perfect human nature, like ours in all things, sin excepted (Heb 2.14, 17, 4:15). Nothing human was strange to Christ. The denial of the coming of Christ in the flesh is the beginning of the antichrist (1 John 2:22).”[11] The Divine and Human Nature of Christ by Herman Bavinck

The FB Debate pasted below in comment.


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When People Say They are Leaving a Church

This is largely based on my experience with Rev. Laura Lin's (whose chief problem is idolizing gifts/talents) church but not limited to hers only in my experience. I have already criticized Lin, so there's no need to do any stomping anymore. There there is judgment, there must be room for calmness.

When people say they are leaving a church that they've been around for a while, then we can consider the following:

These are folks who have been around the churches for a while. And they have especially voiced such concern or "ultimatum" to the church leaders/pastor. Therefore, I am not referring to those who have suddenly gone silent for no reason, which they truly meant: We will come when we come. Perhaps they found a better church but wish to maintain some sort of life line connection to their previous churches, hence the silence. Whatever reasons they maybe, these people do not wish to make clear whether they will be coming or not.

No I am not talking about them. I'm talking about those who specifically mentioned to pastor and leaders (and basically anyone), indicating that they have no desire to return. Now let's eliminate one category of these as irrelevant to this topic: Those who have moved away, or for whatsoever reason it is, causes them to not able to attend anymore EVEN IF THEY WANT TO. I'm also not referring to pastors or preachers. These do not get to choose to leave in ordinary circumstances because they are like parents to a family. I do not believe that there is such calling of God that would call a pastor to leave the church for another like a father leaving a family for another.

Alright, now we've filtered out the unnecessary categories, let's get down to brass tacks.

Those who specifically clarified that they won't be returning to the said churches that they have been attending for a while, as if they were already members, are those who obviously meant that there is something wrong going on. And it is the church's responsibility to seek this out. What is the reason for declaration? For who else should care about this? Certainly not the one who already said they are leaving. God? (No wonder churches in the West sank into individualism - and it's a shame for Chinese churches to follow suit, because this is the one thing Chinese church and culture has triumph over Western churches - family-like caring).

Now, to be fair, it's not necessarily that it is the church's fault when some long term members say they are leaving. It could be the fault of the ones leaving. For example: Music isn't modern enough, did not feel welcome, talking about Bible too much, age group differences, cultural differences, etc. These problems I attribute not to the church in general. Nonetheless, the church should still try to communicate with such goats, just so in case that they may actually turn out to be sheep. Confused sheep.

That leaves the part where it is the church's own fault, when someone say they are leaving. Therefore, it is the church's task to find out why, as always whenever a member leaves. It is not necessary the burden of the one leaving to make his reasons clear, especially when he believes that it is pointless or when there is no fellowship. A church however, cannot function like such individual, believing it to be pointless to seek out why someone leaves, for the church has chiefly, a Gospel responsibility. Believer or not, the church should seek that person out to confirm that his departure is solely his own fault, that all attempt to reconcile has failed. The worst thing the church can do, is to make false assumption of why a person is leaving and leave it as that without any communion. First, this shows if the church ever cares at all if anyone stays or leaves, truly care and not just hoping for numbers, second, this also shows if the church ever concerns her own shortcomings.

We have touched on the church's role in this. Now what about the one leaving? What reason should justify one leaving? Obviously in this case, is because that there's some short comings in the church. Lack of caring, age/culture group differences are top on the list, but insignificant, I believe. They are popular but not good reasons enough to leave a church. For the church is a fellowship of saints, not a Caesar's Hotel. The other side of extreme reason possible is that the church has become a cult. Practicing heretical views. This is rare but will validate people leaving so much that those who stayed should really be viewed questionable.

So what else could be a good reason to leave a church? I have no set principle for this. But in general, I would say that when a church is dying and nobody cares. How can a church be dying? When she is no longer Gospel-Centered. Everything we do in the church, is the fellowship resulting from the Gospel, that is the beating heart of all. Without which, the church cannot seriously be talking about evangelism but mere recruitments, marketing strategies, tribalism. Many churches would be fooled into thinking that they are Gospel-centered, but they are actually just Gospel-supporting, because when looked upon closer, that which should be seen in Gospel-Centeredness does not match up with a Gospel-Supporting-only church. Members of a Gospel-Supporting church do not usually know their basic Bible knowledge as they should: ie. who is Moses? Especially after being member of that church for well over 30 years. And when push comes to shove - those members would insist: All religions are good, which may be a tell-tale sign that the church is heading towards heresy, if not already is in.

Last but not least, when a person leaves a church for this very last reason, he should show some discipline of care for such a church. To pray for the church. To check up on such church here and then. Not hoping her to fail, but hoping that God would strike such a blow in her heart that she repent. The wise smacking love of care.

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Moonism - and its Ilk

It seems to be an Asian thing for cult founders to consider themselves the divine Christ themselves.

WMSCOG (World Mission Society Church of God) is very similar to Moonism - Unification Church.

China has the "Eastern Lightning", etc.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST

WMSCOGUnification Church
Founded in South Korea in 1964Founded in South Korea in 1954
Claims its Korean founder (Ahn Sahng Hong) was the messiahClaims its Korean founder (Sun Myung Moon) was the messiah
Claims its founder’s romantic interest Zahng Gil-Jah is divineClaims its founder’s romantic interest Hak Ja Han is divine
Zhang Gil-Jah is head of the “International We Love You FoundationHak Ja Han established the Women’s Federation for World Peace
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Bible Study: Psalm 20

The inscription shows that the psalm was composed by David; but though he was its author, there is no absurdity in his speaking of himself in the person of others. - John Calvin

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Rail Strike Threat

https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/13/politics/possible-rail-strike-white-house-contingencies/index.html

Strike in the West is done by Union workers. And this act of strike by Unions is to force the government to force pay raise. Therefore, I see Union as an abuse of human rights and the strike is the tantrum of the spoiled brats.

Because the government has so imagined that the union labor force is the ultimate respect for human rights, it failed to realize it has taken a role of a bully. That is, to mingle in matters it should not be. Minding to businesses of others. Thinking itself expert enough to do all that. Their passion for human rights ultimately comes from their pride.

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