Thursday, December 07, 2006

Back in Kijabe. We returned to RVA from our safari to the Masai Mara yesterday about 4:00 PM. There are a lot of stories and photos from that trip. I have to get my thoughts and memories sorted out, not to mention all the photos. (Our new Canon is working great; Mary took a lot of photos; and Carol is getting some great shots with our old Fuji.)

Sunday evening, before we left for the Masai Mara on Monday, Mary had Tim and Bonnie Cook over for supper. Tim is the superintendant of RVA. Tim's parents were missionaries to Tanzania, and he attended RVA. He was easy to talk to and surpisingly candid about the sitatuion in Kijabe and Kenya. Among several other things, I asked him whether there was much contact with Roman Catholics.

In answering, he referred to the valley that we can see from the school, looking west. (The school is high on an escarpment, and the views are beautiful.) He said that he is in a group of missionaries and clergy from all denominations, including Catholic priests, who work on issues in the valley. I asked him what sort of issues mainly.

He said, "Starvation".

We are keeping up with our emails from home, and among them this week is an emal from Carlos and Caryn Benitez, who are with Wycliffe in Niger. They said that Carlos is working on a translation of the Book of Ruth for the language group among whom they are working. I thought this an odd place to start a translation. But I have been reading the December 2006 issue of First Things, and the lead article is one by Phillip Jenkins, entitled "Believing in the Global South". (This is a must read and next month should be on-line, if you don't subscribe to FT.) His thesis is that the growth of the Christian church in Africa and Asia arises from how close the cultures there are to the cultures in the Old and New Testament. Here is one paragraph that ties in what Tim described as a major ecumenical concern with what Carlos is translating:

"The prevalence of hunger and natural disaster helps explain the enormous popularity in Christian Africa and Asia of the Book of Ruth, a tale of a society devastated by famine, in which women survive by dependence on each other and on trusted kin. In the American context, the book attracts some interest from feminist scholars, while Ruth's plea to Naomi, "entreat me not to leave," is included in blessing rites for same-sex couples. In the Global South, the book's interest lies in how the various characters faithfully fulfill their obligations to each other and their relatives. What the North reads in moral and individualistc terms remains for the South social and communal."

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