History helps clarify, I hope

Archived from http://doinglikewise.blogspot.com/

For you who have read the previous entry concerning Spiritual warfare, I must apologize in advance; this is another piece of history. Not because I want to drag this out, although the thought has occurred to me and I find it somewhat appealing. Perhaps someone will read three of these discourses, but, not, I admit because I am clever, rather because there is in us an understanding that God does not always ‘just show up’ on the spur of the moment as if He has nothing better to do at that time and is wandering about looking for ‘action’.

The reason to take the time to share the history and the events which define the miraculous is just the opposite. Our God is not an accidental God happening upon a situation and serving up helpings of urgent mercy, although He certainly can do that, all the time. Rather, I think, God is about laying out a purpose and a plan for the life experience of His own and the end is never in our sight. We are allowed to see today and today alone, even though one of our greatest delights is implanting our idea of the future affect of God’s presence, we are hardly ever even close to what is the fullness of life He has in store for our path. So I ask you to relax and allow for the history to become the important part of the outcome that it, in truth, is.

In the Book of Acts there is an issue, type, context of conflict which challenges the church over and over. One the one hand we have the religious authority, and the other the economic interest of the location wherein Paul finds himself. Neither one has much use for this upstart and somewhat fringe ‘cult’ leader who is turning the heads of the people, challenging the comfortable means by which the community has found to co-exist and in general, disturbing the peace. It is a plight which has been and may well be forever in the daily process of the church being “One Body”. If you look close, you can see it today, in every community and every theological expression of God as doctrine or tradition.

What in the world has this to do with anything I have said to this point?

In 2008, shortly after returning to the U.S.A., I received my first, of what has been many, contacts declaring the un-mistaken trickery and fraud of the people of the village and the leadership specifically. I can, or will, not expound on each but to say they have all had certain aspects of similarity. The first of anything seems to be the most memorable so I will share some of the detail. Because of the addition of one of the other Pastors in the area on our web site a certain individual from the NE section of the US contacted me and expounded on the personal failures of both men involved, even to declaring they were one and the same man and the facilities and people involved in their ministry were, in fact, the same people. I had independently met each of these two men and their respective locations are not conducive to close interchange of people and in fact this was, in itself, an untruth. As I dug a bit further I found that the Pastor in Kenya had accepted money for his church and ministry from this man even though the man had demanded strict adherence to a “truth” that they were alone the true remnant of the church and they alone held the certainty of eternal life and any teaching otherwise was heresy. The motive for the contact with me was not one of peace and working in concert for a greater good but rather a warning against these men and their scheme, upon viewing the web site of this man I discovered that the certainty of eternal life rested in this man and his doctrine alone. Oops!

It was true that the Pastor had accepted money for the ongoing work of the church; he repented, asked for forgiveness, and rededicated himself to Jesus Christ as Lord of all. Since that time I have received many email notes, all complaining, until confronted with known facts and then pleading mercy or just disappearing. Africa sees a white face as one having money and any tactic is fare game to get some of it. It is a reality and we should not be naive nor reluctant to work within this fact of the outcome of aide. (in my opinion). This idea was best identified by the village elders who wanted the blessing for themselves and said “remember charity begins at home”, which was a nice way to say ‘we want our portion first’. Some were not so subtle, I received one complaining of the fact the children were being helped with school and doing community projects, the women were receiving training on better farming and micro businesses, yet the men had received nothing. This person asked, what are you going to do for the men? Not important to this person was the fact that the men had yet to embrace their part as equal participants in the effort.

During the time of email notes, as we worked to find the sources, it became more and more apparent that the church in the local community was not an innocent bystander in the determination to discredit. Names, persons, connections and associations with real persons brought to light that the attempts to discredit were not only economically motivated but also in some instances were motivated by jealousy over congregational growth and community actions. Even doctrine reared it separatist head. Possibly most notable of this ilk, other than the fore mentioned man who alone had the true doctrine, was the ongoing difficulty of interaction between a clinic established by a European mission and the local community. 2010 was a year that saw this conflict reach such an intensity that Go and Do Likewise was drawn into the interaction, or lack of it, as more allegations and misleading information was spread. So as we headed into the final months of 2010 and neared the spring visit to the village conversation grew concerning the need to interact on a face to face basis. During this time tentative invitations were presented to the clinic leadership and to the greater group of Pastors. Even in the days immediately preceding the arrival of the travelers on April 2, 2011 in the village, even though we had confirmation of a “Pastors Conference” to be held and high hope for a meeting with the European Pastor we had no clear view of what lay ahead. In retrospect the late addition and the difficulties of the inclusion of Pastor Don plead clear evidence that something was up, but until the issue on departure day, no insight into the level of Spiritual significance was forth coming from any of us.

There now, in short form, is some relevant history. There is more, some too personal and specific to other persons, which might deepen the view of a war in progress. Personally, I am not surprised or amazed that this was war and am also not naïve enough to think that it is over. The events of the days of our stay and the times, subject and power of the prayer given up as the group prepared for each day is the testimony to the significance of those events and the importance of the days and months ahead.

This is not the end, more to come

We are children of the Most High God and He will and has conquered,

Be blessed

Bud Potter