Tuesday, December 29

Christmas in Paris.. just a meditation



After only 4 years in Canada, and already 14 years in Europe some North American Christian traditions are still strong to me. Although Candles services are originally from Europe, they are almost forgotten in France.


I still remember with emotion the lovely Candle services at the Wolfville Baptiste Church, the town church that hosted me during my 4 years in Canada. . The main goal of candle services, to stop and think about the true meaning of Christmas, was reached beautifully each 24th of December. As a forerigner this is an unforgottable memory for me.I am a reformed hearted fellow but I really enjoyed my 4 Baptists years in Canada. I miss that lovely church I hope I will be able to visite them again one day.


So 14 years later I am an elder in a little and humble Evangelical Reformed local church in the south of Paris.

Unlike Wolfville in NS Canada which is a 4000 people lovely town, Paris and its suburbs are 20 million people!!. In Wolfville the 24th of December we smiled people warmly at the streets, most of them would already had finished a day before their shopping, and a few of them who hadn't yet, they would finished it way before 5h00 pm, at 5h30 pm every thing was closed and every body went home, so we took hot chocolate or a cappuchino and enjoyed the first snow flakes. At that season Canadians don't call it "snow", they call it "White Christmas." So we just enjoyed the season feelings and prepared ourselves for a lovely Candle Services at 7h00 pm.


Paris the 24th of December is just awful, and up 50% or probably 70% of Parisians are still buying their presents until midnight. Shops are crowded, and streets are jammed. There is a little probability of snow, yet it is very cold outside, moisty cold. People are stressed and very distracted, and it goes like that until probably 8h00 pm or later. Oddly enough Paris had snow this year, but a week early, and the 24th it had already melted and we had only plain cold rain :-(


So a candle service in Paris can have too a deep meaning; to stop our rushness and to think about the true meaning of Christmas. So I started candle services traditions at my church almost 7 years ago, and although we do not follow the same North American style, year after year a small crowd of our church manages to challenge trafique jams, crowed streets and last minute shopping and come at 7h00 to sing, pray and praise the Lord and to remember the true mining of Christmas.


So I had the Christmas Eve mediation privilege and again we read Luke history of nativity for a thousand time, yet a thousand time later three phrases will never ever stop to amaze me.


Luke 2

· (7)…. and wrapped him in swaddling clothes,....

Like any child… like any human child…. God almighty became flesh and as any baby He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. How can we sometimes forguet the awe of Christmas?


· (7)…….. and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn

There was no room for him!!!! I wonder if now days He has room in our Christmas, in our life, in our schedules, in our logics, in our way of being Christians!!


· (15) the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us

The good news was addressed first to simple people, forgotten and outcasted people. Shepards were indeed the lowest class popiluation of their time, poor, ignorants, illiterates, impure and unworthy to be part religious life of their time. Indeed forgotten people of their time doing and unworthy job. Would I be part of these people at the time? would I be part of the first people that God had choosen to deliver the first good news? and if so I wonder if I had probably missed the whole thing stuck in traffic jam!!



I love buying presents and I love giving them. I get caught in my feelings when my kid opens his presents and loves them, I love my huge natural Christmas tree that I buy each year since my Canadian days between 2m and 3 m) I am proud of all the Christmas lights I set up at home. I do love all these things... Yet I should never forget these three messages that Luke story tells us of the fist Christmas . Otherwise, I will just miss the whole point just as if I would spent my whole Christmas in a Parisian traffic jam. Lots of light, lots of noise... even lots of beautiful things to see outside in the street, yet a stressful, useless and meaningless waste of time.


Tuesday, September 15

Theology from the balcony or theology on the road? John A. Mackay

John Mackay may not be a common name for the English world today and he is a theologian almost unknown and forgotten in this side of the Occidental world.


Indeed, he is not an intelectual who is studied side to side to Karl Barth, Paul Tillich or Abraham Kuyper. Yet his thoughts have shaped a generation and his influence and thinking are still revolutioning churchs theologies.

Contemporary Emerging Churches use Mission Integral theology as one of its references. Mission Integral is a theology developed by third world evangelical theologians who search to understand better the message of Jesus while struggling with political and criminal violence and poverty.

Mission Integral Theology is not an emerging church product; it had and it has been influencing it.

The Paradox is that Mission Integral has its origin in the old Calvinist reformed theology, and in a humble calvinst unknow theologian. Mission integral as we know it today was developed by a Presbyterian minister who lived in the first half of 2Oth Century . “Mr John A Mackay”. He believed that announcing the kingdom coming had strong implications on our daily social interaction. And it was not reduced to some moral values (not do this, not to do that, not to be like this, not to be like that).

Samuel Escobar, Rene Padilla, and other young folks of the following Latin American generation had all of them something in common. They all were deeply influenced by this sympathetic and brilliant Scottish fellow who arrived to Latin America (First to Peru) in the late 30's Mr John A. Mackay. He was almost Thirty years old when he arrived to Peru.


He graduated from the University of Aberdeen with First Class Honors in Philosophy and later he ventured across the ocean to Princeton Theological Seminary.

Returning to Europe the First War caught him and he went to Spain before the Spanish revolution. He was very intrigued by the Spanish culture and in particularly of a Spanish Poet Miguel de Unamuno, the Spanish existentialist who, before many others, had discovered and written about Kierkegaard. It was the beginning of a love affair with the Hispanic culture to which he would be devoted throughout his whole life.


In Peru he and his wife founded a Protestant school, now known as the “Colegio San Andres”.

His thoughts, his influence over Political leaders, his philosophy challenged traditional catholique elitist Latin America Spanish structures. John Mackay was quickly indentified as a voice that would challenge establishment from a protestant christian point of view.

John Mackay was invited to occupy the chair of Philosophy in the National University of San Marcos. The Oldest University in South America, founded in 1551 by the Spanish and symbol old Intellectual Elites

So he was the first Protestant to be appointed to such an academic position, and probably the only one until today. In this reknowned university, later he was honored by an award of the "Palmas Magisteriales" by the Peruvian government for John Mackay's contribution to education.

Under special assignment with the South American Federation of the YMCA, he began to lecture and write first in Uruguay and then in Mexico. He was appointed a member of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church with general oversight of Latin America and Africa.

John Mackay was called in 1936 to the presidency of Princeton Seminary, where he served for twenty-three years not only as President, but as Professor of Ecumenics, the first such designated chair in an American seminary. It was a time of theological crises, Division between liberals, traditionalist, reformed, evangelical etc etc


John Mackay managed the situation with passion for the gospel, deep belief on the mission and deep understanding and respect for each reality he established an environment of orthodox openness and dialogue

His long and distinguished career was still long and distinguished by:

Head of the Commission on the Universal Church and the World of Nations at the Oxford Conference in 1937,

· Member of the Central, Committee of the World Council of Churches (1948-1954)

· President of the American Association of Theological Schools (1945-1950)

· Chairman of the International Missionary Council (1947-1958),

· President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (1954-1959).

· Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA in 1953.


After his retirement from Princeton, he taught at the American University in Washington as Adjunct Professor of Hispanic Thought.


Latin America and Hispanic culture were his passions All his assignment on the international

scene were remarkably well accomplished. He lived through the second war and the cold war Time.


A Young Latin American generation growed up reading his books, listening his lectures. He challenged these young Intellectual Christian to make Theology on the road on their own and not repeat old ways from the balcony.


He would encourage them on a very Kierkegaarian way to embrace the paradox. To understand their cultural past, to live their present to project themselves to the future Kingdom coming " "The End and the Beginning," "The Way to Tomorrow Leads Through Yesterday."To fight with the idealism of Don Quixote but not being as naive as him and to rebuilt its own reality like Robinson Crusoe, with out remaining a Robinson Cruseoe ", "to take the lead, " not to conform themselves to the present time, but to seek the Kingdom of God.


He published thirteen books, three of which he wrote in Spanish. In 1944, he founded and edited several reviews and wrote letter accusing social issue like markarturisme (see d "A Letter to Presbyterians,)" calling for reasonable reflection.


In the same vein, he repeatedly advocated open dialogue and summit meetings of political leaders for China, Russia, and the troubled areas of Latin America. For him there was no conflict between proclaiming the kingdom coming and looking for peace among men. For him to search peace on earth was a prophetic announcement of the Kingdom Coming. If Americans are still discussing the good or the evil of social gospel, and some of them are discovering for good or bad emerging churches, Latin Americans Chrstians learned long time ago from John Mackay that the Mission was integral, teh Gospel was globale, to preach the gospel was to announce now the Kingdom coming and that was more than words but concrete actions too.


Coming out of a small and very conservative Scottish Presbyterian church, John Mackay became a world-recognized spiritual ambassador. And the father of Latin American Mission Integral protestant thought.

Tuesday, March 24

Why U2?



From time to time I get a comment from a group of enlightened people who feels God has given them the mission to trash and insult U2 and prove that they blaspheme. They even have their Web site to trash them)
I am a pretty open minded guy for a Reformed Christian (lol) I grow up on my faith within the Peruvian chapter of IVCF among many different Christian movements. I, myself always felt close to Presbyterians and Reformed faith and philosophy. Yet in Canada, while I was a student I was kindly hosted by a Fundamental Baptists Church who I dearly loved. Later when I finished school, come to France and joined adulthood, I felt the need f to join the institutional body of Christ so I naturally joined the Evangelical Reformed Church of France.


Why am I telling you all this? Because through out time U2 music has given me companionship on my pilgrims progress. I discovered quite late "The Joshua Three."in 1993 It was my first year in Canada when I finally started to speak and understand a fair English. It was a major discovery on my Christian life. There it was this rock band that wrote about life, faith and Jesus without complex and using a non orthodox Christian language. I loved it!!! I was 22 years old and "I still haven't found " became my prayer. I was already a deeply engaged Christian, I knew Jesus died for me, I knew He had a plan for me, I knew the kingdom will come and all the colors will bleed into one. Yet I was still running, I still hadn't found what I was looking for. These and other songs inspired me through my Christian life full of struggles, contradictions doubts, love, hanger, passion, falls etc.
I have followed each U2 album and I have almost all his albums at home. I like all of them although I do not like all songs.
Many Christians left U2 after Achtum Baby and criticize very much the two techno-Pop albums; "Zoorope" and "Pop". Yet I find in them a smart and a very elegant critique of Post Modern society . If you have these albums you will notice that each one tells a story. They all start with a first song that sets the mood, the following ones evolve in this mood and aim a final song which set a conclusion and a paradox.
So Achtum Baby will start with ZOOstation, where U2 sings a Hymn to human nihilistic optimism " I'm ready!! Ready for the crash! I'm ready… " The album continues with wonderful and brilliant songs that explore nihilistic happyness and goes from happy and ecstatic moods to sad and depressive feelings full of contradictions and paradox. It ends with a confession of human powerless condition "love is blidness I dont wanna see"
Something similar happens in the other two albums who moved from a classic rock style to a electro techno pop rock style. They follow the same pattern filled of contradictions and paradoxes. Not easy to realize at first sight yet spiritual message is evident for bible readers.
Some times I wonder if "Zooropa "and "Pop" were written only for Christians who have really spent time reading and understanding their Bibles. When deconstructing these albums we find biblical truth everywhere.

The world tours that presented these albums where amazing too. Bono performed and showed how evil was rooted in humanity and in post-modern society."Watch more TV!!! Bono would cry in scene while lighted posters would announce "there is no truth" . Nihilistic cyber postmodern society was represented and performed brilliantly by Bono .

"Uncertainty is a guiding star" says one of Bono songs;… and

I feel numb

Don’t protest
Don’t guess
Don’t bless
Don’t rest
Don’t act
Detract

would answer the Edge song. U2 seemed to ask; "You want post modern relativism?" and his character "Macphisto" and the "Fly"would joyfully answer "..well , just have it baby !!!!!"
Again last songs will hide the answer to absolute relativity .

Zooropa album describes an absolute relative world, everything is nothing, and nothing is for sure. The only truth is that there is no one, and even this is not true. So the first song "Zooropa" starts

(what do you want?)
(what do you want?)
Zooropa...vorsprung durch technik (a step ahead through technology)
Zooropa...be all that you can be

Be a winner

After 9 songs of a pessimistic optimism, when every thing seem so irrelevant and so meaningless, the last song rises a voice of hope. Our good old Johnny Cash (his soul rest in peace) is the Wanderer, a cowboy who wanders on an apocalyptic post nuclear war city sings:

I went out walking
With a bible and a gun
The word of God lay heavy on my heart
I was sure I was the one
Now Jesus, don't you wait up
I'll be home soon

In the middle of absolute relativity one voice rises, a very human voice, with the absolute certainty his faith gives him !!

5 years later an even more psicodelic electronic and awesome album "Pop"; U2 seems to surrender to a virtual and relative existence in a society that promises us to keep us all happy!!…. Yet the last song calls us back to reallity "wake up dead man"!!!….. "Jesus Jesus help me I'm alone in this world and Fxxx up world it is"

You see U2 are not prophets, neither tele-évangelists, nor a "happy happy joy joy" Christian group. They are contemporary post modern poets who happen to have a strong faith in Jesus! and they sing what they see, what they feel, what they fear and what they hope, what they pray. And if you are careful enough to read and understand their lyrics you will notice that they know more Bible than you may think.

So before accepting cheap "trashing U2", stop and spend some time to analyse and think for yourself.

Who may have ears to listen.....just listen baby!!!

Wednesday, March 11

New U2: Magnificent (Romans 8:29-31????)



Magnificent

I was born
I was born to be with you
In this space and time
After that and ever after I haven't had a clue
Only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

I was born
I was born to sing for you
I didn't have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice
From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

Justified till we die, you and I will magnify
The Magnificent
Magnificent

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love unites our hearts

Justified till we die, you and I will magnify
The Magnificent
Magnificent
Magnificent


Romans 8:29-31 (King James Version)

29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Monday, February 23

A Ten Sleepy Virgins Story (part II)


(Image from The
Protestant Cathedral of Magdeburg in Germany, Luther preached there in 1524 ;...the picture detail shows three of the foolish virgins )

( FYI this is the 2nd part of one of my sermons, first part here...)
II What the people who listened understood...

The main difficulty to understand this parable is our limited knowledge of historical context and cultural background. So to better put ourselves on Jesus public, we need to get a little insight on traditions of the time.

In fact, a traditional wedding at the time established that the broom had to arrive from his home (or his town) to join her future wife to celebrate the great feast at her place. (Let's remember that it is tradition for the parent's fiancée to be those who do the reception)Also tradition allowed the virgins of the village to be invited to the feast if they dressed in white and went to welcome the groom on the road. They had to bring along oil lamps that would light on the groom's arrival and accompanied him in a beautiful parade of lights until the fiancées door. They would probably even sing some joyful songs. It was indeed, a very beautiful tradition. Later the young virgins who embellished the procession with their lamps were invited to join the feasts. Here we have a simple and wonderful tradition that Jesus used to send a strong message.

Several points become clear, the virgins were not the fiancées (so polygamy was not even insinuated) they were asked to join the parade without merit, they were simply asked to escort the broom on beautiful way. For this they had to be a little patient and wait for him ready since they were unaware of the broom arrival hour. At his arrival, at anytime, they would light his lamps and honour his arrival with a beautiful parade of lights. A beautiful event, later they would join the feast without being original members of the family. They would not use her lamps anymore. So their lamps do not shine all night, only during the parade!

To whom Jesus said all these things? And why?

We are on Matthew chapter 25, Jesus has already entered Jerusalem, they were apparently Tuesday before Easter, two days later he would be delivered to be crucified. Jesus was addressing his last messages. His disciples, simple people, people from the countryside and instead preparing themselves for the upcoming events, they were fascinated and distracted by the City of Jerusalem and its buildings.

So we read in Mathieu 24 :1-3 As Jesus went, out of the temple, his disciples came to him to point out the buildings. But he said to them: Do you see that? I say to you, it will not stay here stone upon which is not reversed. He sat on the Mount of Olives. And the disciples came to him privately: Tell us, when this things will happen and what will be the signs of your coming and the end of the world?

So throughout chapters 24 and 25, Jesus gave them a private explanation and an insight on the end of time. And we arrive to chapter 25 which has three parables that would describe the kingdom of God; The first parable (the good and the bad servant) has a clear message: Expect the Kingdom, while remaining on the will of God. On the third parable (the parable of the talents) the message is more troubling, it deserves a sermon in itself. Let's just say that Jesus calls us to overcome, to understand that God's will for us is to give fruit in abundance.

But the second? What is the message of the second? And who are these sleepy virgin? Jesus. He said: Then the kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins who took their lamps, went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five wise. The sentence is clear; the kingdom of heaven is a clear reference to the ten virgins.
For the audience, Jesus' close disciples, the message of the Ten Virgins sleeping is partially clear. His public may have even laughed at the stupidity of girls leaving the village without bringing along enough oil, or not oil at all (verse 3) Only part of those who follow Jesus would wait for the kingdom properly prepared. The lamp and the oil are secondary images to enhance the care of once and neglecting of the others. For the disciples, it was a clear call for wisdom when expecting the Kingdom! But wisdom started before the waiting itself, and the foolishness too.

Even if the message to them was apparently clear, it is only partially, because at that time, many things were not revealed to them yet. So in light of the following events and the word of God ...

III What would Jesus wants us to understand "today"?
... to be continue

Thursday, February 12

French Deconstruction


It is interesting how post modernism and deconstruction are so often associated with French Culture. Indeed the two main Post Modern Philosopher are French (Derrida and Foucault) Yet that's all you will get as French Post Modern Culture.
Truth is that they are only know in France by an "Intellectual Elite" and mostly from Political Sciences circles.
Actually for French people, and I mean well educated French, Postmodern philosophy is not known at all, not even discussed. They just do not bother to learn about it.
Actually they are still more concern about Decartes.

This morning at work I was amused in how one of my colleges played so often with his French words and I said "I like the way you deconstruct your own language." Every body around me (all French) laughed thinking I had just invented a new word.
They were very surprised to know (through Wikipedia) that the word actually existed in French .

What is interesting too is the Wikipedia French definition of "Déconstruction"

"La déconstruction est une méthode, voire une école, de la philosophie contemporaine. etc etc ect "

At first, no association at all with the Post Modern school. (Neither the English version does) Later, it says that Heidegger uses it and only at the end it says that it is Derrida who systematizes it. Yet it does explain that "deconstruction" was associated to Post Modernism in US as well as the British Analytic Philosophy.

".... obtint une grande notoriété aux États-Unis, où il est assimilé à la philosophie postmoderne,"

Otherwise the French article does not associates it at all to French main philosophies, it only fills hardly three pages and it gives very few references. Yet the English wikipedia article, an impressive and complete essay, fills almost 20 pages and gives us so many references.

Post Modern culture and deconstruction are not part of French life, and even well educated French scholars ignore it or understated it in a different way as The English cultures do.

For example the Woody Allen Film "Deconstructing Harry" was translated in French "Harry dans tous ses états" something like "Harry in all his moods" so it could make sense to French auditors. Woddy Allen is loved and admired in France, but "deconstruction"... well it is just ignored.

So when I say that I am Post Modern Protestant in Paris, it may not mean what you think it means, or perhaps it does. You better deconstruct it.



For another similar experience read here


Tuesday, February 3

Five reasons that Calvin was a postmodernist - well not quite

I love this post I have found Down Under ( An Australian Anglican)

Ironically I think "point 5" may be "inexact" (read here for an American in France on PostModernism ) Yet he may be right. I will post later my own thoughts on Postmodernism and French culture.

As a footnote (or headnote?) I am a calvinist on a very French way. I still have a hard time to understand somme Dutch or English calvinist. I always wonder if some calvinist are more Calivinist than Jean Calvin. This is one of the reasons I like the open minded approach of
Michael Jenses. His post is clever and original

Michael Jenses
My Photo is a Doctor on Martyrdom and a teachear of Christian Doctrine at Moore College, all the way in Sideny Australia. He has another clever article on Jean Calvin too. Have a look

  1. Calvin thought author's intentions were not decisive for interpretation, though not irrelevant. You can't understand biblical prophecy if you are wedded to author's intentions! In fact, it was the Enlightenment that was obsessed with origins and psychological states, not the Reformation. The text is to be understood with reference to its self, primarily.
  2. Calvin recognised that texts produced a multiplicity of possible meanings depending on context and purpose - because he believed that the text was speaking to us today, and had spoken to people in the past. The text has a tradition of interpretation that is not irrelevant to understanding it.
  3. But Calvin's not an allegorist - he believes in history, of which we are a part. He doesn't seek 'eternal spiritual truths' from the text. Rather, he is aware of its time-boundedness. So, NARRATIVE is really important for him
  4. He thinks hermeneutics has a context - ie, it serves an interpretative community. 'Who is this for?' is a question that really matters for the interpreter.
  5. He was French -so must have been a postmodern!

Sunday, February 1

The Museum of Protestants History .

I become a Protestant when I was still in South America (Peru). It has been 18 years walking this path. Coming from the Americas sometimes we feel as if faith started with us. Being in France has given me a sense of History. I have discoverd my roots and I am always in admiration of these men that changed history and struggled so we can live freely our faiths today.

If you come to France make sure you take your time to go to the South (sorry, not the Frecnh Riviera, but the Cevennes) and visit The DESERT MUSEUM. The Cévennes is a southern French region , I think 700 km from Paris, with a rich history of protestantism. Most of Historical French Reformed Evangelical Churchs are based in these regions (and in the south east of this region.
The DESERT MUSEUM brings to life the Huguenot past and the history of the Camisards.

Why "The Desert"?

In the history of French Protestantism, the expression Desert defines the period of time between the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) and the French Revolution (1789).

Deprived of freedom of worship, far from the cities, hidden in isolated areas, deserts (in the wilderness, forests, caves, or gullies…), where the Protestants in France (in the Cevennes, but also in Haut-Languedoc, in Poitou, Dauphiné, Vivarais…) were obligated to live out their faith in hiding.

The word Desert also had a biblical sense for them, the 40 years the Hebrew people of Exodus wandered in the desert, a place of tribulations, temptations and despair, but also where they would hear the word of the Lord.

This chapter of history touches all of France, but specifically the Languedoc region and the Cevennes, where Protestantism was largely established at the beginning of the XVIth century.

Entrée du Musée du Désert

The Museum Specifically :

- The ‘Desert’ period (1685-1789), from the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes to the French Revolution.

- The Camisards war

- Persecutions and resistance.

- The clandestine life.

- The long road to freedom of conscience achieved at the French Revolution.

It also intends to bear testimony to Protestant faithfulness.

Through fifteen rooms, the Desert Museum presents the following :

- Antique furniture and domestic objects from the Cevennes : costumes from the era, a fully equipped authentic XVIIIth century kitchen, products that are grown and fabricated in the region.

- A reconstitution of a family evening in the Cevennes.

- Original weapons and hand-drawn maps from the Camisards war.

- Hiding places for hunted men and forbidden books.

- Authentic documents, manuscripts and prints ; official letters and decrees from the royal powers.

- Clandestine pulpits, communion cups, birth and marriage certificates.

- An impressive collection of Bibles and Psalters.

- A large collection of paintings and prints.

This information is taken directly from its web site

Monday, January 26

A Ten Sleepy Virgins Story (part I)

The 30th of November 2008 was the first Sunday of Advent and I had the privilege to preach at my local church. I used a simple method of inductive deconstruction on my Bible analisys that I hope you may find useful…
I will post here a simplified version of my sermon in three parts but you have the complete French version at my Church site here


The word "Advent" comes from the Latin Adventus, "the comming". Today, and that is since the VI century, The Advent has become synonymous of preparations for Christmas celebrations “the coming of Jesus Child”. Yet the term "coming/advent” remains deliberately ambiguous.


This morning I will use the parable of the ten virgins, because I want to rediscover with you the spirit of Advent, the preparation for the coming of our Lord in the same spirit of our fathers of the early church.
I will use a simple Bible study methodologyto re-read this parable, I call it, in a very colourful way: "the three-dimensional approach" because it allows us to approach the Word of God from three different perspectives:

a). What I understand at my first reading? What is the message that I find, and what I do, and I do not understand?


b). What the people who heard these words understood at the time?


c). What God really wants me/us/you to understand today?


a) - What I understand ...
The parable of the Ten Virgins always has challenged me throughout my life. Why 5 foolish and 5 wises? Why? Where am I in this parable? What is the real difference between the wise and the foolish? After all, the 10 virgins were all in a waiting mode, aren’t they? Am I on a waiting mode? Am I Wise? Or foolish?
Even more, I always found hard the response of the bridegroom: "I do not know you." And I am stunned with the wise virgins response to the demand for oil of their fellow foolish virgins "rather go to those who sell and buy-in for you”’. It is hard not to feel a kind of sadness for the foolish virgins and even fear ... and if we were one of the foolish virgins?

The traditional interpretation of this parable is based on the spiritualisation of the oil and the lamp. The oil is associated to the "Holy Spirit", the wise virgins keep “extra oil”. When the groom arrives only those who still have oil, so "The Holy Spirit", and kept their lights on are accepted at the wedding.

Therefore: the moral of this story would be: “keep your lights on!, Be always filled with the Holy Spirit”

But the main problem of this “beautiful interpretation” is that even if it is very spiritual, and somehow reassuring, it leaves many questions unanswered, and even worst, it opens up new questions!

1. If the oil runs out of foolish virgins. Can we say that it is possible that the Holy Spirit once given it may run out later?Can the Holy Spiriy be used it up?

2. The wise virgins had brought an extra ration of oil ... so the parable not only opens the door to a concept of different levels of Holy Spirit. But also to the idea that some Christians may have a ration of the Holy Spirit, that is so low and insufficient to qualify them to the Kingdom of God .

3. If the oil is the Holy Spirit, why the response of the wise virgins is "rather go to those who sell and buy-in for you?” Why they do not say: "go and ask the Groom before He arrives!!”

4. If the 5 wise virgins had an extra ration of oil, therefore the Holy Spirit, why do they fall asleep too? Is falling asleep actually a fault?

5. If the groom had arrived some hours earlier, the foolish would still have had the Holy Spirit. Then they would be accepted at the wedding and they would no longer be considered foolish. So it is the delay of the groom who condemned them! (is this Biblical?)

And there are still many other question that the parable opens that remain unanswered:

1. Who are these ten virgins? Will they marry the groom? Is this an openness to polygamy?

2. Jesus begins the parable with the sentence: "Then the kingdom of heaven is like..." What or who is the Kingdom of God in this parable?, The wedding? The coming of the groom? The virgins? The wise and the foolish?

3. Why do they fall asleep? What difference makes that they are asleep or awake? After all, even awake, given the groom's delay, the follish will not be ready because they do not have enough oil.

4. Why are they called there foolish? Why this name? Why "Foolish"?
lets see the

b)What the people who heard these words understood at the time?

............ to be continue

Wednesday, January 21

A prayer was answerd!!!

As most of the world, I spent part of my day watching Obama on TV and reading news on him. I am cought on the emotion and going back and forward some christian blogs posts in him I crossed this article.
I loved it so I brough it for you. My best wishes to the people of America, may the Lord bless you and your new president.



Anthony SmithAnthony Smith forme Charlotte, N.C. wrotte this article on his blogs "musing of a postmodern negro"
He is part of the Charlotte Emergent cohort and a member of the Emergent Village Coordinating Group.

to Contact him:
postmodernegro@gmail.com

Today we stumble upon a historical moment. The United States of America will swear into office the first black President, Barack Obama. I haven’t blogged much on this because I have been at a lost for words to describe how I’ve felt over the past several months. While there is still much work to be done in the area of racial justice in our country no one can deny that this is another major turning point in our history.

I’ve learned from prophetic theologians like Stanley Hauerwas that my love for this country should be a Christ-shaped love. Not an idolatrous pride in nation-state boundaries conjured up by the human political imagination. But I cannot help but feel a sense of pride today. Mainly for my oldest son Isaiah Smith. He is a trumpeter in the Harding University High School marching band. Their band will be marching for the incoming president during the inauguration ceremonies. Their journey to this point is a story in and of itself. The fundraising for the kids to go to D.C., the practices, the new music he had to learn, and the deep history lessons they have received from those in our community who lived through the Civil Rights era. I recall one conversation I had with his English teacher, Ms. Robertson. She tearfully described how proud she was of the youth headed up for this historical moment. For many Americans this will be a surreal moment. I never imagined I’d see this day. I can say today that I have a sense of joy of what is taking place before our eyes.



In prayer this morning I could almost hear the prayers and cries of African slaves:



How long O’Lord will you withhold justice from us!

I believe that today we will be witnessing God answering their prayers for justice. For sure it is one answer in a long stream of answers that have come and yet to come but it is an answer nonetheless. This answer is really big. Just the symbolic nature of this event alone will briefly interrupt deeply entrenched racial narratives that operate on an unconscious level.

I feel a change has and is taking place in our country. I sense a momentum of hope swelling up in the hearts of people. I pray that this bi-partisan spirit take hold of our political, religious, and economic leaders in a way that will be unprecedented. I feel a change a comin’. God’s grace and peace be with us all.
Published in:

on January 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Monday, January 19

An American Christian in France on "Emerging in France"

I enjoyed reading Matts experience on PostModernism. I will probably write some other time about my own experince as post modern Chrisitian in Paris.

Matt is an American that has a blog called "endirect"

"Married to a beautiful French woman, we have three children and I'm working in France trying to figure out how to be the church that God intends".He writes


I have not met Matt yet. He lives in Grenoble (around 400 km from Paris I think.. but he is only 30 km from Alpine sky stations.. lucky fellow) and I like his Blog , I hope he will keep writing and sharing his experiences.

Emerging in France part 2

About 8 years ago I started reading about the whole post-modern thing. A friend had given me a copy of Middleton and Walsh's, truth is stranger than it used to be. And I started down the rabbit hole... I also found on my shelves Thomas C. Oden's, two worlds, notes on the death of modernity in america and russia. It's a pretty good read though it looks like it's out of print...

Anyway I got all excited when I realized that I was living in the country that gave birth to a lot of postmodern thought... So I formulated a hypothesis: France would be a great place to test out the ideas of the post-modern, now emerging church, crowd's ideas. That was a faux piste as we say in French and ultimately a dead-end.

I got a first indication of this in the fall of 2001. I was invited to speak at a coupl of church weekends about the church in relation to the world today. I was planning on talking about the pre-modern/modern/post-modern transistions and the impact that has had on the way we do church. Then finishing up with what is postmodernity.

Once I got through my material my audience gave out a collective yawn. Now there was certainly a bit of my own inadequacies and inexperience that played into their boredom but it went much deeper.

Their "so-what" reaction is indicative of a lot what I've seen in France. They have a sort of intellectual detachment in relation to this kind of stuff. The understand it but aren't too bothered to go over the past and do sort of autopsy. They are general more concerned with what needs to happen today, not what happen in the past or what's going to happen in the future. They live in the moment. The "No" vote is a good indication of this. The no wasn't about what the European Union had done to this point or what it would do. It was about a lot of disatisfaction with the way things are today and the present government.

What I didn't know then is the truth that the American expression of post-modern/emerging church talk is dripping with the American cultural identity. And while France has a huge intellectual heritage in this matter what's happening on the ground is very different.

When you think about it this all very normal.

So if you come to France you looking for the "emerging church" thinking it'll look like something you've already seen you'll be looking for awhile.

Friday, January 16

Martin Buber; an Existentialist Jewish that had a dream

Theologian, philosopher, and political radical, Martin Buber (1878–1965) was actively committed to a fundamental economic and political reconstruction of society as well as the pursuit of international peace. In his voluminous writings on Arab-Jewish relations in Palestine, Buber united his religious and philosophical teachings with his politics, which he felt were essential to a life of public dialogue and service to God.

He became a member of the group Ichud, which aimed at a bi-national state for palestinians and Jews in Palestine. Such a binational confederation was viewed by Buber as a more proper fulfillment of Zionism than a solely Jewish state. In 1946 he published his work Paths in Utopia, in which he detailed his communitarian socialist views and his theory of the "dialogical community" founded upon interpersonal "dialogical relationships".

Following the war for independence in 1948, Buber told Ben Gurion that he believed that one of the most important priorities of the new state of Israel should be to solve the refugee problem. Ben Gurion refused to listen. Throughout the remainder of his life, Buber worked to defend the civil rights of Israeli Arabs, and he urged Jews and Palestinians to engage in genuine dialogue. He continued to try to influence public policy in this arena until his death in 1965.

We christians, how far we are from this dream. We not only do not keep this dream alive but instead we support violence and war in the name of our prophesies interpretations.
Sometimes it is like if God that Martin Buber belived would notbe the same some christians belive today. His God was a God who loved men. His God was a God of justice. So who is the God Christians believe in today ?


A Land of two people
Collected in A Land of Two Peoples are the private and open letters, addresses, and essays in which Buber advocated binationalism as a solution to the conflict in the Middle East. A committed Zionist, Buber steadfastly articulated the moral necessity for reconciliation and accommodation between the Arabs and Jews.

Tuesday, January 13

Studying for the Wrong Test

(My own thoughts are after the article)


Original artice| Link

By Don Heatley:

The Kingdom of God is like a student studying for an exam. Night after night, he studied Chapter Twelve of his history book. “Surely, I am prepared for my test,” he thought. The very next day he went to school and sat his desk. Behold! The test was on Chapter Thirteen. He had studied for the wrong test. He who has ears, let him hear!

Recently, I was having a conversation with a sincere fellow Jesus follower who demanded to know my beliefs. The questions they asked made it clear that this too was a test. The very first thing they wanted to know was my stand on homosexuality, my opinions about abortion, and my beliefs about the Bible.

I don’t think I passed.

Yet I wonder if, like the student in the parable, this person was studying for the wrong test. When we pass out the number two pencils and evaluate the orthodoxy of others, why are the criteria always issues that Jesus himself never addressed? Would it not be more appropriate to ask one another the questions Jesus asked, “Have you fed the hungry? Have you given water to the thirsty? Have you clothed the naked? Have you visited the imprisoned?”

the complete article here

------


I like this article and particularly its parabole and probably I will use it at church.

Reading it and reading the success it has had at its original blog (20 comments already on Tuesday the 13th.) Somehow, I am not that surprised by the reactions.

I think there are two main issues this article points very well to me:

1) The cultural interpretations of the Gospel that limits in itself the real message of the Gospel.

2) The useless division of the gospel in a so called Social Gospel and Spiritual Gospel that again limits the real power of the message.

I will not comment on the second. Social Gospel is a theology of the 70's that some unaware Christians think it still exists. It has evolved and mutated.

I proclaim the kingdom as present reality, yet that is coming soon. My belief on the Kingdom as an Integral Reality should resume my opinion on the second item.

But the first issue, it always makes me wonder. I am always amazed that three main central issues in American Christendom are "Abortion", "Homosexuality", and "Bible fundamentalism".

As I wrotte in a former comment "You need only one bad answer to qualify you as “a dangerous liberal” or even as a "non Christian". Once, an American visitor in my church in Paris told me that Obama was clearly not a Christian because he was not 100% against homosexuality"

These issues are not even themes of discussion in most of European churches. Yet we have other taboos that could make the same three type question test to qualify a true christian.

For example a christian should never mix their moral values with politics here. France is a secular country. French Catholic Church was for centuries in Power. So French protestant holds very close to their hearts " church and state division". A good Christian should never impose in politics his christian point of view.

If homosexuality is not a main issue of discussion (It is still but with lower priority), homosexual parenting is a big issue. Protestants stands here against it without need of thinking or developing their own opinions.

Money, I could write a complete essay on French culture regarding "making money", Christians here have a complex approach to this issue. In France it is no good to show off wealth and making money is usually regarded as obscene.

Back at home in Peru 17 years ago, being a christian was a matter of not smoking, not drinking and carrying a bible all the time an everywhere.

But where is the Kingdom on all these issues? Where is the love of God, the Grace? Where is our engagement to procalim and to give the world a foretaste of the Kingdom coming on these interpretations? Why some christians interpret littealy the Book of Revelations and other prophesies and interpret Mattew 5 on an spirtualized way?

Christianity is so busy and comfortable developing its faith around cultural interpretations and remaining in a "confort zone" of cultural traditional moral values. Indeed, it is more comfortable to hide ourselves behind old local cultural church values rather than having our own opinions, and to look and understand the dynamic changing force of the Gospel.

I do not recall Jesus standing for cultural moral values of his time. Actually, he was accused of challenging them. Am I wrong?
If we all agree that the word of God is alive, why we remain in our old ways of thinking? Should the church way of thinking be a static reality?

"Ecclesia semper reformanda" used to say our reformed fathers and Jean Calvin would complete. "Why do you start it, if you do not continue it?"

Faith is more than defending two or three moral values... if we do so, we will miss completly the real message So we would be studying for the wrong test.


Monday, January 12

Evangelical political "illuminated" presence in Latin America by Dario Lopez

When I was a young christian university student at the peruvian IVCF. Dario Lopez was our General Director ( I was 18 yeas old he was probably 30 years old). I had the chance to chat with him several times.. He was a brilliant fellow (He still is) I would annoyed him with my young silly Christian questions. He was always kind and patient and with good sense of humor.
I am not a penthecostal, I never was, but his thinking and his life has always inspired me .
He is not only an Integral Misson theologist, but he lives it daily as lifestyle.

Born and reared in ,Lima, Peru, like me,Darío López grew up, in difficult conditions. He worked as child to help his Mother to survive. Later, as a young man, he came to faith in Christ through the witness of university students and became a member and minister in the Church of God.

Since 1992, Dr. López has been the pastor of the Mt. Sinai Church of God, located in the marginal district in Lima, He has served on several governmental commissions dealing with issues of children’s rights and religious equality.

He Holds a Ph.D. from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies/Open University of England, where he completed a thesis on the topic of Evangelicals and Human Rights in Peru, Dario is the author of many books and numerous journal articles. His hard-hitting book is LA MISIÓN LIBERADORA DE JESÚS (The Liberating Mission of Jesus, translated by Rick Waldrop),

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Criticism of "illuminated" Christians who affirm that Evangelical believers have been called to "be the head and not the tail" in public affairs

by Spero News See all articles by this author Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Article copied and Pasted from;
http://www.dailyestimate.com/article.asp?id=2456

Pentecostal Pastor Dario Lopez Rodriguez affirmed that Evangelical Churches in Latin America have an increasingly visible presence in the public scenario and a notable numeric growth that will continue in the following decades.

This growth is modifying the religious map and today the Catholic Church, predominant on the continent, is not the only confession that regulates the religious dynamic, said Lopez, vice-president of the National Evangelical Council and pastor of the Church of God.

According to the Nationmaster 2003 Encyclopedia in Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have Evangelical faithful that oscillates between 15 and 25 percent of the total population.

Pastor Lopez said that Evangelicals in Latin America are no longer an imperceptible minority and their influence is now felt in the public sphere.

According to Lopez there are undeniable facts that confirm that Evangelical sectors have obtained their own voice and their opinion is taken into account by the political community, civil society and the State. He cited, among these, their defense of human rights and their growing participation in key spaces to defend democracy and affirm citizen values.

He recognized politics as a legitimate missionary field for Evangelicals but warned that Christians who enter politics must have a solid biblical foundation, a concrete experience of service to their neighbor, a political culture and coherence between what they preach and what they do each day in their work.

He criticized "illuminated" Christians who affirm that Evangelical believers have been called to "be the head and not the tail" in public affairs and ignore the fact that serious politicians do not emerge spontaneously.

He deplored that the public management of the majority of Evangelicals who have entered Congress and the municipalities, in particular in the 1990-2000 period under former President Alberto Fujimori, has not been different from that of questioned politicians, marked by the vices of opportunism, nepotism, ambition and others.

Many of them believed it was an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a short time in power and accepted temporary favors, as if they were divine gifts, he said.

ALC

Saturday, January 10

Israel, Christians and Gaza; where I stand

I wanted to take position regarding some Christian’s recent pro Israel statements in some Internet articles I read.

Eschatology and prophesies on Israel are not where I spend most of my time on my bible study time. I cannot say if agree or disagree with dispensationalist or Covenant’s positions. Althouhg I am a Calvinst (neo-calvinist), as a post modern fellow I will not take position until me, myself arrive to my own conclusions after challenging as much as I can all what I has been told before. Yet the reality of the kingdom coming and the Kingdom as a present reality stops me from remaining silent these days concerning the Gaza situation.

I have been always surprised with the blind support of some Christians to Israel and I am very shocked when despite the facts and the gravity of current situation this blind support remains and even more, gets stronger. I know that some Christian’s hearts beat strong for the chosen people and sympathise with Israel. How not to do that? We read the same book (at least the first part), our God is Jewish, we take example in Hebrews heroes (I preach the youth of Joseph next Sunday) and some of us even give our children Hebrews names.

Yet despite the fact of our attachement to Israel we should not loose objectivity. God was very hard with them in the past. He denounced its sin and its injustices. It did not mean that he did no love them. So why should we do differently? We support the people of God when they need and when it is justice, but we should also condemns its wrongdoing. The role of the church announcing the Kingdom of Peace and its justice is a prophetic task. We must not hesitate to denounce the injustices and crimes of the chosen people as well as we denounce a corrupted church. Evenmore if we think we love this people, we could not accept their sins.


I cannot see the Lord Jesus taking the side of the Israeli army attacking Gaza. Can you?
Instead, I easily picture Jesus besides the suffering of the poors in Gaza, heeling their wounds, and comforting their souls, probably even dying with them in the buildings and suffering tortures with them. I think the Lord must be very disappointed with Israel's arrogance and its confidence in the power of its new "chariots," "horsemen”, "arcs" and “shields” etc rather than relying on the Lord's justice and searching to follow God's commands.

Lets be honest they attack Gaza out of their pride and violence, and not for love towards Adonai!!.

We are disciples of the Prince of Peace, we cannot remain silent. How can we rationalise and justify the barbaric acts of Israel. Why , like the prophets , we should not rice and condemn Israel's sins?

I respect Christians that study very hard Israel prophesies and for this reason I wanted to give them another angle of reflection. Justifying this war and these acts is not one more prophesy interpration. It is to make ourselves complices of what prophets once denounced in the Bible. God will never be the Lord of arroganst, powerfuls and assassins militars. Our God is the God for the poor, the simple hearted. Our Lord is the Lord of Justice.

Do not take me wrong, I am not justifying Hamas or Hezbollah (radical muslims) I am condemning violence as "sin" against the Lord whether it comes from Israel or whether it comes from radical Muslims.

To be loyal to our Jewish Messiah and if we really love Israel we must condemn these acts and to be part of the solution. Do not ignore the Word of God only to fit your own interpretations. We have no other choice that fulfill our prophetic duty and we should denounce this war as an arrogant act of crime against humanity.

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” Matt 5:9

The World Congress of Imams and Rabbis calls for the end of the hostilities between Israel and Gaza



Published on 2009-01-07 16:51:00

http://www.imamsrabbis.org/en/index/index

World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace
Call of 7 January 2009



(video of the collective manifestation of Imams and Rabbis at the Wall for Peace, Champ de Mars, Paris, 16 december 2008).

Imams and Rabbis, wherever they are, commit themselves to organising prayer sessions to call for peace and universal brotherhood.

We call for an immediate stop to rocket launches on the south of Israel and to bombings and combat in Gaza so as to protect thousands of innocent lives, allow victims to have access to humanitarian aid and to establish conditions needed for the resumption of the peace process.

We call upon all the Palestinian leaders and the Government of Israel to return to the path of dialogue immediately.



We call upon everybody inclined to act, to participate in one way or another in the organisation of a humanitarian convoy that will leave Amman to go to Gaza via Sderot on 18 January 2009.

Several representatives of the Congress, Imams and Rabbis together with Christian leaders, will join the convoy to express our unconditional support for the Israeli and Palestinian civilian populations.

Friday, January 9

U2 : Yahweh

It a beautifull song almost a Hymn. I like to listen to it when preparing my sermons.

the line
"Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean"

Moves all my guts and I feel so unworthy in front of our Lord.
Indeed all is possible only by His grace



I will preach next Sunday at Church and the French chapter of IFEES (IVCF) is invited to our church to present themselves (I'am a former Peruvian and Canadian IVCF) . So I will adress to young students. I will talk about "the path of Joshua" before he guided Israel (Young Jospeh in the Exodus.) and eI will end up before he was named by God as new leader. I will start my sermon with "I still haven't found what I'm looking " and close it up with "Yahweh"


"Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don't make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break"

Wednesday, January 7

History of protestantism in South America from 1492 to 1901

This article is an extract from an article written vu Mariel Deluca Voth
Library Director, Bethel Seminary San Diego :"Latin American Archives: A survey of historical protestant sources"


The first major incursion of Protestantism into South America took place under the umbrella of Spanish authority (this is the case of German Lutherans that arrived in Venezuela in 1529). But it is in Brazil where the first French Protestant colony is founded in 1555 and where the first Confession of the Christian Faith that included 17 articles was written in 1555. It is interesting to note that this took place two years before the Pilgrims came to Plymouth in the United States in 1620

Protestantism and Inquisition (1492-1655)

-1529 German Lutherans settlers arrive in Venezuela

-1555-1654 Hugonote colony in Isla Villegaigon (island across present Rio de Janeiro)

-1623-35 Anglicans entered the Caribbean western islands

-1630-1654 Reformed Church congregations are formed in the Dutch colony of Pernambuco

-1655 Anglican Church enters Jamaica

Protestantism and Enlightenment (1655-1808)

-1667 Reformed Church enters Surinam

-1701 Creation of the Anglican missionary society

-1735 Moravian missionaries in Dutch Guyana and Surinam

-1783 Baptist missionaries enter Jamaica

-1797 Anglicans enter Trinidad

Samuel Escobar writes that “pioneers of the Protestant movement came during the period of the war of independence from Spain (1810-1824)”

-1806 British Foreign Bible Society sends David Creighton to Uruguay

-1818-1821 James (Diego) Thomson, Scottish Baptist Pastor and British Foreign Bible Society representative, lands in Buenos Aires and begins Protestant worship services. His missionary activity took him throughout Latin America including the Caribbean.

-1822 Baptists enter Belize

-1824 Lutheran German settle in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

-1824 Anglican Church begins in Chile (L. Matthews)

-1824 Methodists enter Belize

-1825 Anglican Church begins activities in Buenos Aires (J. Armstrong)

-1825 Presbyterian Church begins activities in Argentina

-1834 Lutheran Church is organized in Argentina

-1836 Methodist Church arrives to Argentina and Uruguay with J.Dempster.

-1842 German Evangelical Congregation begins in Buenos Aires


-1853 Separation of Church and State and first proclamation of freedom of religion in Colombia

-1856 Waldensian group enters Uruguay

-1857-1917 Protestant beginnings in Mexico (Baptists in 1864, Friends in 1871, Congregationalist in 1872, Presbyterian in 1872, Methodist in 1873, Brethren 1891, Seven Day Adventist in 1891, Nazarene 1903)

-1859 Waldensian Church enters Argentina

-1859 Methodist Church enters Peru

-1864 American Bible Society appoint Andrew M Milne to work in Latin America

-1872 Presbyterian Church begins in Chile with D. Trumbull

-1873 First British YMCA in Buenos Aires

-1874 Anglicans enter Puerto Rico

-1877 Methodist Church begins in Chile with bishop W. Taylor

-1882 Plymouth Brethren begin their work in Argentina

-1883 Methodists enter Cuba

-1886 Organization of the Rio Grande do Sul Lutheran Synod

-1886 Methodist Church enters Paraguay

-1890 Salvation Army enters Argentina

-1890 Seventh Adventist enters Argentina

-1891 Salvation Army enters Montevideo, Uruguay

-1891 Seventh Adventist enters Honduras

-1893 German Lutheran Church starts in Asunción, Paraguay

-1893 Seventh Adventist enters Mexico

-1895 Creation of the South American Diocese of the Church of England

-1895 Christian and Missionary Alliance begins ministry in Venezuela

-1895 Seventh Adventist enters Chile, Uruguay

-1897 Christian and Missionary Alliance begins ministry in Argentina, Chile and Ecuador

1895-1914 Salvation Army, Church of God, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Church of the Nazarene and Pilgrim Holiness Church begin ministry in Latin America

-1898 Seventh-Day Adventist enters Peru

-1901-1915 Seventh-Day Adventist enters Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and El Salvador