Welcome to the March issue of the Lausanne Global Analysis, which is also available in Portuguese and Spanish. We look forward to your feedback on it.
In this issue, we examine India’s water crisis and ask how Christians can be part of the solution; we consider how a global versus international organizational model can help in the unfinished task of reaching the unreached; we ask what it means to live in global integrity; and we analyse the challenges of the grace approach to Muslims and the need to balance grace with truth.
‘Access to fresh water is becoming critical in parts of Asia and Africa’, write Atul Aghamkar (Director, National Centre for Urban Transformation) and Ken Gnanakan (Founder, ACTS Group of Institutions). Reasons for India’s water scarcity include global warming and climate change, population growth and urbanization, the demands of agriculture, increasing demand for electricity, and increases in industrial demand for water. In India, water conflicts exist at various levels from fights beside the village well to inter-state water disputes. Major issues include religious and caste oppression, demands for equitable access to drinking water, dams and displacement of people and water privatization. Some Christian organizations have already started responding to the water crisis in central India but the church in India needs consciously to address and speak out against unjust access to and usage of water by the powerful and stand for equal rights to water. South Asia, particularly India, faces acute water shortages. Lack of access to drinking water, hunger, disease, and sanitation issues are all interlinked. Increasing urbanization will soon make these challenges increasingly unmanageable. Only good and responsible governance and individual resolve will bring much-needed change. ‘The Church in India has a great responsibility to take the initiative, in partnership with the global church, to inaugurate projects that would not only address the water issue but also provide lasting solutions to the water crisis in line with its commitment to demonstrating Christ-like love to those affected by it’, they conclude.
‘Between 1910 and 2010, the number of missionaries increased from 62,000 to 400,000. Yet, despite the increase, mission and development agencies are still struggling to reach the unreached with the gospel’, writes Ben Thomas (Director, Kigali International Community School). The author argues that one of the key reasons for this is that many organizations are operating from an international model rather than a global model. Global organizations are more effective in representing the diversity of Global Christianity and are more likely to encourage local contextualization of the gospel. Global organizations serve multiple countries, often with a matrix structure where each subsidiary is deliberately sharing information and expertise with the others and headquarters, and learning from each other to best serve their constituents in each country. Ideas and practices are shared across borders. Constituents and leaders in the global south must be heard as they are closest to the challenges of the unreached. Intentional collaboration processes are vital to an organization’s ability to learn. Each leader and organization should consider doing a brief self-study to determine if they are global or international. What is one area they can move forward in to be more global? ‘As a result of implementing some of the global leadership principles found above, may more Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and other not-yet believers come to know Jesus through personal relationships with Christ-followers’, he concludes.
‘How much integrity do you have? If you are like most people, your response is a definite “lots!”’, write Kelly and Michele O’Donnell (consulting psychologists with Member Care Associates). Yet our self-appraisals of integrity can be seriously influenced by our own self-serving distortions: namely rationalizing away inconsistencies between our purported values and our actual actions. This article distils some of the lessons the authors have learned over 15 years in promoting integrity and confronting corruption. Why is it hard to live up to our moral and ethical aspirations? They reflect on the reality of dysfunction and deviance, highlight the challenge of self-deception, describe anti-corruption resources, and summon the church-mission community to a global integrity movement marked by righteousness and relevance. Global integrity is moral wholeness at all levels in our world. Living in global integrity is essential for sharing the good news among all peoples. Our common identity and shared responsibility as Christians who are global citizens can be leveraged to integrate integrity into the individual-institutional-international levels, and everything in-between. It is a propitious season to invest in global integrity through a growing, sustainable Global Integrity Movement. Global integrity requires ongoing, honest reflection at all levels. Like the character and virtue in which it is embedded, it is refined in the caldron of life’s tough challenges and choices. We are the light—or the darkness—of the world. ‘We can be keys to influencing moral wholeness for a whole world’, they conclude.
‘The “grace approach” to Muslims . . . represents the noblest attributes in the Christian faith’, writes Jenny Taylor (writer, journalist, and consultant). However, it is an approach that can only emerge from the truth. Anything else cheapens the cost. An eyes-wide-open capacity to face and engage ‘the dark side’ of Islam is our missionary calling in a culture too used to its ease. However, it is proving difficult to balance truth with grace. There is a homogenising tendency prevalent in Western culture. All faiths are not the same and their devotees are exposed to massively dissonant influences that are too easy for us to ignore, especially if we fall into the trap of ‘Anglicising’ Islam. Others, less charitably, call it ‘colonialism’, attributing to Islam and its followers motives and manners that colonise their thought worlds, rendering them familiar, and therefore comfortable to deal with. With Islam now dispersed throughout the West, we must become wise to constant war-mongering by Salafi-Jihadis, as the fear it causes, especially to Muslims themselves, infects the broader populace. The ‘grace approach’ to Muslims recognizes the use of Islamic scripture to control and terrify, while at the same time discerning the spiritual need of individual Muslims, and challenging them with the freedom from fear that Christ promises in scriptures for which Mohammed himself commanded respect. ‘The good news of Jesus is the only antidote to the fear and hatred Islam sometimes justifies. The possibilities of authentic, courageous outreach are there to be had’, she concludes.
We hope that you find this issue stimulating and useful. Our aim is to deliver strategic and credible analysis, information and insight so that as a leader you will be better equipped for the task of world evangelization. It’s our desire that the analysis of current and future trends and developments will help you and your team make better decisions about the stewardship of all that God has entrusted to your care.
Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue of the Lausanne Global Analysis will be released in May.
David Taylor serves as the Editor of the Lausanne Global Analysis. David is an international affairs analyst with a particular focus on the Middle East. He spent 17 years in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, most of it focused on the Middle East and North Africa. After that he spent 14 years as Middle East Editor and Deputy Editor of the Daily Brief at Oxford Analytica. David now divides his time between consultancy work for Oxford Analytica, the Lausanne Movement and other clients, also working with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the Religious Liberty Partnership and other networks on international religious freedom issues.