Jayakumar Christian: The poor are made in God’s image

I met Jayakumar Christian, National Director of World Vision India, in person several years ago when he came to Australia. I loved his warm personality, which, to me, was an outworking of his love for God.

The following is an interview with Dr Jayakumar Christian (from Tyndale University College and Seminary, Canada). Here are a few key points from my notes (which include my interpretation of what he says in the video).

  • The church wants to find a solution for poverty, but that’s not the right place to start.
  • The most important thing to realise is that the poor are made in God’s image. This recognition is critical.
  • We need to have a relational—not an individualistic—understanding of poverty. This is the understanding of Indians (and Asians). If we understand poverty this way, then our starting point will not be activities and programs.
  • Poverty is the result of broken relationships. Injustice and oppression are manifestations of broken relationships. When the powerful exclude the marginalised, relationship is broken. When the poor have no choice but to submit to the powerful, they become non-persons.
  • The poor live as “whole persons.” They do not live life in “categories.” When we separate words and deeds into two categories, we fail to treat them as “whole persons.”
  • Living among the poor is important.
  • We need to study the Bible in context. There is no point to study the Scripture in isolation from the poor.

Thinking through Paul (Bruce Longenecker and Todd Still)

Two respected New Testament scholars, Prof Bruce Longenecker and Prof Todd Still, have written an introductory book on Paul’s life, letters and theology. It is called Thinking through Paul. I am confident that it is a valuable book for all students of the New Testament. Here is an interview with Prof Todd Still.

Kevin Vanhoozer on “Augustinian Inerrancy”

I know that Biblical Inerrancy is a topic subject to much debate. But if you are interested in the Augustinian Inerrancy view, here is a good explanation by Prof Kevin Vanhoozer.

(By the way, I think there is much confusion about the word “truth.” I think Vanhoozer provides a good way of understanding this word in this clip.)

Cultural intelligence for a changing church

This is a clip presented by Regent College, Vancouver. Here is a great line cited by Regent on Facebook.

“How much of your local church is Scripture, and how much of that is just celebrity, big-shot evangelical consumer culture that we’ve developed for ourselves?” (Soong-Chan Rah)

I do resonate with Soong-Chan’s message in the clip. He comes across as a good thinker, with a passion for the Scripture and authentic Christianity. He has had experience with poverty. He also a cultural heritage that is valuable not only for himself but everyone of us. Take a couple of minutes to watch this clip.

4th Mary 2013 I read the following excerpt of the video from a blog post today. (The blog post can be found here.)

We ended up retreating into our own ethnic communities w/ very little interaction across these different boundaries… and I wonder if we do that with the Gospel as well… at the end of the day we retreat into our own sequestered communities… Cultural captivity means we operate under theological / sociological assumptions… shaped by cultural forces… practicing faith in such a way that we don’t realize how much is Scripture / and how much is the celebrity, big shot evangelical consumer culture we have developed for ourselves… we make superstars out of individuals who might not have much to say… and we end up diminishing the role of immigrants, women, senior citizens… we don’t hear from them.