According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater
Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma
It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds
assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

Monday, June 8, 2020

A Peace Child Brings Healing to the Nations


Marind people - Wikipedia
A Marind tribe sharing a southern border with the Sawi tribes of Papua, New Guinea

The Sawi, or Sawuy, are a tribal people of Western New Guinea, Indonesia. They were known to be cannibalistic headhunters as recently as the 1950s. They speak the Sawi language, which belongs to the Trans-New Guinea language family.
Sawi, or Sawuy, is a language of the Sawi people of the Trans–New Guinea phylum spoken in sago swamps in the southwestern parts of the Indonesian province of Papua. Of the neighboring languages, it is most closely related to the Awyu languages to the east.
Sawi is an inflecting language and uses both inflections of the stem and suffixes to indicate person, number, and tense.

Awyu-Dumut languages.svg








The Peace Child: A Night With Don Richardson
A peace child offering among the Sawi tribe of Papua, New Guinea

Journey into the Unknown

I remember reading Don Richardson's story of Peace Child either in my late teens or early twenties and thinking how wonderful his use of the cultural elements he lived within to communicate Jesus not by his own Western standards but by the tribe's own standards whom he had befriended.

Yet in another sense I also remembered how the Sawi tribe was "fattening him and his family up" with good fellowship and tribal affection as they were preparing Don, his wife, and youngest child Steve, for a rite of death. Though Don never mentions this in his journal the tension was evidently there by his recounts of what he was witnessing. The Sawi tribe he was living amongst were a Papua, New Guinea tribe of Indonesia well know for their cannibalism.

It was through a cannibalistic incident between the Sawi tribes where Richardson first saw a glimmer of how to share the deep relevance of Jesus to his machiavellian hosts which might bring a deep spiritual meaning to upsetting both the human soul and tribal practices of a culture devoted to premeditated murder upon one another. And it was through this biblical form of typology that opened blinded tribal eyes to see the atonement of Jesus between God and man.

But rather than ruin or spoil the import of Richard's story I'll leave it to the reader to pick up an old copy and re-explore through Don Richardson's missionary eyes the perils he and his family had entered into amid the discoveries they had made having survived their first Sawi encounters. Peace Child reads simply and quickly, but within the words of the page lies a deep sublimity providing a transitional context between people and tribes of unlike cultures looking to find common ground with one another.

Context

Which brings me to my last thought of the day. Context. If, like Don Richardson, we are seeking a way to share the gospel of God's love through Jesus in a meaningful way, it is by listening and learning from within whatever cultural context (of community context) we find ourselves in. This is where an evangelist or missionary, pastor or discipler, might begin. It will never be obvious at first but with time and insight it might become obvious.

The key to Richardson's insight was that he came to live and work within the Sawi tribes. When he did, he found God's insight into a deeply formative tradition held within the very cornerstone of the Sawi tribes. An identity heightened by lies and deception before killing of another human being. It was this very cornerstone of their tribal identity the Lord reveal to Don that he might use it's same evil to share God's love.

Had Richardson brought his own culture into the tribe he might never have exposed himself to its hazards and reality. Further, Richardson could have recited the "law and order" sections of the bible's Hebraic traditions and simply forced his own Christianized Western culture upon the Sawi. But by proceeding through love and fellowship he exposed himself to the very evil lying resident among the tribes of Papua needing redemption. If he had not done this, the gospel wouldn't have been anything more than window-dressing added to craven human behavior and customs.

Context? Context is everything. Isn't it?

R.E. Slater
June 8, 2020

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Mind the translation gap – Hektoen International

Never The Same:
Celebrating 50 Years Since Peace Child

Pioneers USA
Dec 12, 2012

The Sawi were headhunters and cannibals when a young couple named Don and Carol Richardson arrived in their village carrying their seven-month-old boy Steve—and a message that would change the tribe forever. The year was 1962, and Steve—and later, three more children—spent their youth among the Sawi, learning the language and embracing the culture in ways that would shape the rest of their lives. Their story was immortalized in the best-selling book Peace Child and a feature film of the same name, inspiring a new generation to take the gospel to the remaining isolated tribes of the earth.


Fifty years later, Steve joins his father, Don, and two brothers, Shannon and Paul, to visit the Sawi village where they grew up. What is the state of the church they planted among the Sawi? Are the friends they played with still alive? Will anyone remember the mark their family left on the tribe? Journey with Steve as he travels to the swamps of Papua, Indonesia, to introduce you to the Sawi, and explore the impact of the gospel among a previously unreached people group.
Music Credits
  • "A Beautiful Tale" and "Revival" by Ryan Taubert © 2012 SHOUT! Music Publishing Courtesy of SHOUT! Music Australia
  • "O My Soul", "The Introductions" and "Moving Frames" by Adam Taylor, used with permission
  • "The Father's Heart" by Tony Anderson, used with permission
  • "The Ladder" by Drake Margolnick, used with permission


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Never The Same: Celebrating 50 Years Since Peace Child



Missionary Visits Cannibal Tribe 50 Years Later


Moira Brown speaks to Don Richardson about his life's
work as a missionary and the impact it has had worldwide.

Don Richardson-Author / Conference Speaker

Books: "Peace Child" & "Eternity In their Hearts"

To Get Your Copy:


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Amazon Link


DVD Link

In 1962, Don and Carol Richardson risked their lives to share the gospel with the Sawi people of New Guinea. Peace Child tells their unforgettable story of living among these headhunters and cannibals who valued treachery through "fattening" victims with friendship before the slaughter. God gave Don and Carol the key to the Sawi hearts via a redemptive analogy from their own mythology. The [Sawi's] "peace child" became the secret to unlocking a value system that existed through generations over centuries, possibly millenniums, of time. This analogy became a stepping-stone by which the gospel came into the Sawi culture and started both a spiritual and a social revolution from within. With an epilogue updating how the gospel has impacted the Sawi people, Peace Child will inspire a new generation of readers who need to hear this unforgettable story and the lessons it teaches us about communicating Christ in a meaningful way to those around us.