Welcome to the July issue of Lausanne Global Analysis.
Whether you are planning to read the full articles or just the executive summaries, 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 an influencer you will be better equipped for the task of global mission. 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.
In this issue we discuss the use of sexual violence in war, with a particular focus on how Christians are helping survivors in Democratic Republic of Congo; we return to Asia to see what lessons can be learned from the Way of Hope movement in rural Cambodia; we assess the significance of the HANA consultation, bringing together Hispanic and Asian North American pastors and theologians; and we follow up our March article on the Micah Challenge with an article specifically focused on the impact of corruption.
‘The use of sexual violence (SV) has become a specific tactic in modern conflict’, writes Olivia Jackson (freelance writer and speaker, focusing on social justice and human rights law). Access to civilians provides a direct means of undermining whole communities. The practicalities of bringing prosecutions face huge obstacles. Nevertheless, 25 years ago this issue was not even on the international agenda. Progress has also been made in treating survivors, although their lives will never be the same again. There are now many Christian organisations working on the issue of SV in conflict. ‘We have more influence than we sometimes realise [and] raising the profile of this issue is vital’, she concludes.
‘Way of Hope is a movement of 12,000 Cambodian Christ followers, organized into more than 1,000 cell churches, reaching out in more than 170 villages in five provinces’, writes Stephan Bauman (President and CEO of World Relief). The cells are little communities of hope incarnating the presence of Christ into the pressing problems of the rural Cambodian landscape. Way of Hope also moves beyond working ‘on behalf of the poor’ to allowing the poor to become their own agents of change. ‘Movements like Way of Hope renew the essence of church for me . . . these Khmer disciples are inspiring people like me who long for a renewed vision of church in a world increasingly thirsty for the real thing’, he concludes.
‘The first ever Hispanic Asian North American (HANA) Consultation on Theology and Ministry was held in May 2013’, write Allen Yeh (professor in the Cook School of Intercultural Studies at Biola University) and co-author Octavio Javier Esqueda (professor in the doctoral programs in educational studies at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University). The racial discourse in North America has traditionally been just black and white. However, Hispanics and Asians are the two fastest growing minority groups in the United States. The consultation brought together Hispanic and Asian pastors and theologians to find commonalities and theologize together. They explored common themes in their faith journeys, such as being profoundly shaped by their immigration histories and cultural theologies. However, they understand that they are merely two groups within the multiplicity of people that God has formed and are ministering within a wider redemptive context of God’s work in this world. ‘Other groups around the world face similar issues and can benefit from consultations like HANA’, the authors conclude.
‘How is it possible that taking a stand against corruption could be seen as gospel work—even evangelism?’ asks Dion Forster (professor at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and international chairman of ‘EXPOSED – Shining a light on corruption’). Some 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty (on less than USD $2 a day). A significant contributor to global poverty is corruption. The Christian Scriptures focus significantly on issues of social justice. The Christian anti-corruption campaign ‘EXPOSED – Shining a light on corruption’ was launched in October 2012 to engage with Christians in 100 countries, enabling them to take public action against corruption. The challenge for evangelical Christians around the world is not only to preach good news, but to be good news in our communities, in our places of work, and in the church. ‘Together God can use us to make a significant difference in the world’, he concludes.
Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue of Lausanne Global Analysis will be released in September.