Is it ever ethical to attempt to persuade others to change their religion, worldview or other fundamental belief? This endeavor has received in the recent years increasing line of criticism. In January 2001 in South Asia, Dalai Lama has condemned Christian and Muslim practice of seeking converts, “Whether Hindu or Muslim or Christian, whoever tries to convert, it’s wrong, not good.” (Thiessen, 2011, p. 6).Richards, Svendsen and Bless aptly describe the sorts of pressures restricting the ability to engage in religious persuasion as “an increasing apathy of secular states towards the importance of religious freedom and the exclusion of religion from the public square; the preclusive dominance of established ideologies in other states; consolidations of power by authoritarian regimes; worries about the destabilizing influence of new or unfamiliar religious movements, religious extremism, or terrorism; a downgrading of religious freedom rights vis-á-vis these other human rights; the marginalization of minority religions; reactions against globalization or perceived neo-colonialism; burgeoning state and transnational regimes; expanding notions of privacy; and transforming modes of communication” (2011, p. 154). Martin E. Marty suggests that “[t]he proselytizer violates boundaries and disrupts traditions” (Ibid.). Novak explaining why Jews are resenting those who proselytize says that they come across as people who “feel no moral compunction in denigrating other faiths and their cultures for the sake of cajoling their adherents to cease being what they have been and change their identity to becoming what the missionaries are” (1999, p. 43). At last, many people perceive a connection between religious proselytizing and violence. Sociologists Grim and Finke found that “violent religious persecution is pervasive. Of 143 countries…, 86 percent (123 countries) have documented cases of people being physically abused or displaced from their homes because of …religious persecution” (Richards, Svendsen, Bless, 2011, p. 156). Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Mission
Use of Body
We often hear that 80% of our communication takes place on the non-verbal level. While the words “I forgive
you” are unequivocal they are subjected to extreme test of sincerity through our facial expression, posture and tone of voice (as opposed to the content of the words) so is, to a high degree, everything else we say. Broadus again puts it well: “To say, ‘Leave the room,’ is less expressive than to point to the door. Placing a finger on the lips is more forcible than whispering, ‘Do not speak.’ A beck of the hand is better than ‘Come here.’ No phrase can convey the idea of surprise so vividly as opening the eyes and raising the eyebrows. A shrug of the shoulders would lose much by translation into words.” “He who is master of this sign-language has, indeed, an almost magic power.” When a speaker is able to match his body language with the content of his sermon it adds a marvelous dimension to his message as it is not only his mouth that is speaking anymore but now his entire being plays with the beat of an idea he has to deliver.
Several points are to be mentioned regarding the use of body.
- Good posture – just as it was important with the voice it has its indisputable aesthetic reasons as well. It is one of the common mistakes to lean forward either to hold a pulpit or to simply stoop. While touching a pulpit can ease speakers psyche during preaching it is a poor habit that will hardly be appreciated by any congregation. One on one conversations are customarily accompanied by these “leaning tendencies” especially when a highly sensitive subject is dealt with. Kevin A. Miller, however warns us not to bring these inclinations to a stage: “…when we pull in our hands and lean our head a little lower, we can end up looking smaller and cramped, at just the moment our bodies should be communicating, “This is big news! Listen to this!””
- Eye Contact – The two sphere-like sources of our visual perception are crucial to our countenance. All preachers passions and emotions, his inner thoughts and workings are represented in their utmost fullness and power in his eyes. With those can he penetrate into the soul of his audience and “enter into a living sympathy with them.” Bryan Chapell summed it up as follows “You must look at people! The eyes can spit fire, pour out compassion, and preach Christ in you. When you deny people your eyes, you really deny them yourself. No one ever talks to them without looking at them – unless to insult them.”
- Gestures – Facial expressions, hand motions or stage movement are some of the visible ways we can provide accompaniment to our verbal presentation. Here, moderation is always the order of the day. While it is unnatural to remain stiff, an overdone action is rarely an improvement to ones delivery. At this point, it is an uneasy task to cover all the instances as gestures present us almost with unlimited possibilities. “Quintilian says: “As to the hands, without which delivery would be mutilated and feeble, it can scarcely be said how many movements they have, when they almost equal the number of words.” However two things are in my opinion to be highlighted. As a note of variety, any monotonous repetition of any given set of motions is a shortcoming. Read the rest of this entry »
After looking at the essentials, there is much to say about the everyday practicalities in a speakers life. For instance one should avoid staying up far into the night especially on Saturdays since lack of sleep and poor physical health can spoil a good sermon as speaker may not be able to vividly experience emotions, hence much of his power and passion due to exhaustion might not come across. On the contrary it is helpful especially for the young preachers to exert effort to feel good on the stage avoiding any personal distractions. (Among others this can mean to take a bath before going to church, having the clothes in which one feels good or even brushing teeth before a meeting starts. It is simply an unnecessary distraction to have to put up with pants that keep falling or realizing the horrific possibility of having a poppy seed from breakfast between the front teeth.)
Use of Notes
While more notes tend to increase precision, conciseness and smoothness they unfortunately decrease effectiveness and are perceived in a colder manner. They also limit speakers movement on a stage as his dependency on the fine crafted sentences work as invisible chains on both his body and eyes. A great use of this method of delivery Broadus suggests Read the rest of this entry »
How should culture affect the way we lead?
Does it mean then that Christian LC should by all means remain indifferent to the culture surrounding it? In no way! In its very beginning church was founded on the structures of the Roman Empire and spread its functions over the Europe long after the empire collapsed. Hierarchy was the dominant organizational pattern over centuries which people understood and could easily relate to. It does not mean that these patterns and structures are the only suitable structures for Christian leadership, just as much it does not mean that Aramaic is the only suitable language to be used in Christian fellowship because Jesus spoke it. The point being made is that when a firm biblical ground is established under our leadership, we can proceed to choose LC that is most appropriate to our context. While not all cultures are equally valuable many aspects of cultures are not intrinsically evil or good, wrong or right, thus there is a wide variety to choose from.
Today we may encounter a good deal of styles and leaderships. They are called Transformational, Transactional, Entrepreneurial, Servant or Situational Leadership. Styles are Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Charismatic or Democratic. Adding all the differentiations from the beginning of this paper, one needs to be very careful in assembling the proper LC. At this point it might be simply concluded that the appropriate LC is the one that will work in a given context.
As we experience increasing fluctuation of people across the globe a new term in leadership is gaining attention, namely Cross-Cultural Leadership. Here admitting the lack of mutual understanding is the common ground for any further planning and cooperation. A great sensitivity in listening, sharing and identifying the differences is crucial. Here our deep-rooted expectations and attitudes must be left behind so as the new collective and functioning culture might ever be created. Yet, it shouldn’t be a surprise that for the sake of co-operation one must never Read the rest of this entry »