In HOPE

  In HOPE 5.29                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

Annie Dillard's collection of essays in Teaching a Stone to Talk (Harper Collins, 1982), includes the wonderful essay "An Expedition to the Pole." She re-tells the stories of historical polar expeditions to draw out spiritual truths for the church and believers today in a confronting and disturbing way.    

HOPE Happenings

Earlier this week Hope International University hosted an accreditation team from the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), as we seek additional program accreditation for our ministry degrees. (We already have accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.) The visit was very positive and we are optimistic that the programs will be approved at a February meeting of their Commission. 

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

 

"Our culture says that ruthless competition is the key to success. Jesus says that ruthless compassion is the purpose of our journey." (Brennan Manning)


It is Christ

Peter Claver was a 17th-century farmer's son turned Jesuit priest, who ministered to slaves in South America.

In a diary entry from 1627, Claver wrote about meeting a large ship of slaves, many of whom were sick and dying from the torturous journey. In wet and cold conditions he and those with him gave their cloaks to the naked, built small fires for the cold, and treated the beaten and the wounded. "This was how we spoke to them, not with words but with our hands and our actions."

Through his 40-year ministry, nearly 300,000 slaves experienced and came to know Christ.

One night, according to Dorothy Day, Claver recruited a couple of volunteers to help minister to a dying man whose rotting flesh had been eaten away because of years in chains. When the volunteers saw the oozing flesh and smelled the putrid odor, they ran panic-stricken from the room. Peter cried out, "You mustn't go. You can't leave him -- it is Christ."

Everything around us demands efficiency and effectiveness. We're compelled by "the greatest good to the greatest number" and feel pressured to statistically defend our time, actions, and efforts. Touching a single life is rarely as valuable as an effort to reach the masses - unless that single life has special potential in money or influence.

In our competitive culture, efficiency is everything. Time carefully used; efforts carefully calculated; ministries carefully assessed for maximum effectiveness. And in our strategic planning for optimal results, people become relatively anonymous means to our personal, competitive, ends.

In such a secular setting, a media mogul, company president, or city mayor becomes more prized than the local vagabond. We view CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs as evangelistic trophies while a single mom on welfare is "small change."

God overturns the tables of such trading in humanity. Compassion is not an air-freshener for the masses. Instead, it nurtures one soul at a time. Philip Yancey called this pain-staking approach "holy ineficiency." It's the way of Christ.

While we express regret for the stress-filled lives of the middle-class and the frantic schedules of over-committed families, how might we re-connect with those for whom Jesus felt deepest compassion -- the destitute, the demoralized, and the drunken; the hurt, the homeless, and the hungry; the beaten, the bloodied, and the bewildered?

Dare we run panic-stricken (or walk indifferently) from the room? We mustn't go. We can't leave them -- it is Christ. "For as much as you've done it to the least of these, you've done it to Me."

In HOPE -

David

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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

For back issues of In HOPE, see http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/