Wednesday, December 06, 2023

I say Jamás to Hamas!

I have not posted here in years. But today I feel compelled to share my thoughts. I warn you, the information here is brutal and graphic.


We are now seeing verified reports that members of Hamas, during their invasion of Israel, systematically raped Israeli women. 

But it gets worse. 

On October 7, Hamas men gang raped women. Some women were raped so often and badly that they were left with their pelvis broken. Some women were raped to death. Some were shot while being raped. Then their beaten, tortured bodies were dragged behind trucks and paraded before cheering supporters back in Gaza.

And it was all filmed on their GoPro's in living HD color.

As the recent "pause" in combat came to an end and bombing began again in Gaza, we now know why. Hamas refused to release women under 40 years of age, as had been previously negotiated. 


Because according to reports, those women, many beaten, battered and some near death from the repeated rapes, would testify visibly to the world of the savagery and brutality of Hamas and their supporters in the greater Palestinian population.

Sadly we are seeing in the US and around the world an inability to forcefully condemn the actions of Hamas and yes, some of the Palestinian people. 

Make no mistake, the actions of Hamas towards the people of Israel, including the taking of people, including infants and toddlers as hostages are war crimes. Using civilians as human shields are war crimes. Maintaining battle stations in and around hospitals and medical centers to avoid combat, is a war crime.


And every single member of the US Congressional delegation should say so unequivocally.

Because now is the time to stand with Israel. This is not the time to deal with whatever offenses Israel may have committed against the Palestinian people over the years.

We can deal with those issues and be critical of Israel once Hamas is defeated And we should. But now is not that time.

Now is the time to simply say Jamás, or in English, Never! To Hamas.  

[Disclaimer... the views expressed in "Notes from Dave..."  do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Adventures in Life Ministry or and other entities the author(s) may represent.[

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Is the Era of US Cross Cultural International Missions Over?

On June 6, 1944, the US and her Allies landed at Normandy, France. That invasion, known as Operation Overlord was a combined effort of over 155,000 troops, representing more than ten different countries. Within days, the Allied forces, while suffering thousands of casualties had established several beachheads across France. 

D-Day as it soon came to be known, as important as it was as events unfolded, was even more important when you consider what came to be as a result of those deadly days of fighting. There is wide agreement among historians that the events at Normandy set the stage for the eventual victory of the US forces in the European theater.

While there was still much fighting to come, the die had been cast in Normandy and and it was just a matter of time before official victory would be declared.

I’ve been thinking a lot about those events the last few weeks. I wonder if General Eisenhower knew as he was overseeing the invasion if that invasion would turn out to be the lynchpin upon which victory turned?

I’ve also been wondering a lot lately if we are in another of those moments. A moment, as Ken Blue explains it in an essay included in the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Reader, of the “already and not yet.”

I’ve asked myself repeatedly the last few weeks the following questions…

  • Is the era of US Cross Cultural International Missions over? 
  • Has the era of US church’s and denominational involvement in worldwide Christian evangelism effectively ended? 
  • Has the country that sent out people like Adoniram Judson, Jim Elliot and William Cameron Townsend decided that it is no longer interested, or able to stay engaged missionally around the globe?
  • Are we in Blue’s period of between? That time where we will still see missionaries leaving our shores but in reality, much like the German forces fighting for their homeland after D-Day it will be for naught?

Sadly, I think the answer to the above questions are not just yes, but a resounding yes, yes, yes and yes! 

But it’s not just me. 

I reached out to a number of colleagues across the spectrum who have years of experience as missionaries, pastors and leaders of mission organizations to get their opinions. And there are not many of them bullish on the ability of the church to effectively mobilize people to be part of calling people into a relationship with Jesus. A few even posited that this closing of an era may be a good thing.

While some will argue that we were never the great missionary force we believed ourselves to be, numbers don’t lie. Long term numbers for commissioned missionary and their families stayed constant at around 35,000 for years. Pre-pandemic levels of short-term participants went as high as 300,000 participants annually with budgets stretching to over three billion dollars.

During the pandemic restrictions of the last two years, short-term missions have all but dried up. Many long term missionaries are still on extended home leave, unable to get the needed approvals to serve the countries where they believe God has called them. Others have seen their financial support dry up and as a result have been forced to seek out other work to feed their families.

I do not believe we will ever again see massive numbers of young people piling into vans to head south for their Annual Mission Trip. The call in US churches to “take up your cross” and go to the “ends of the earth” will not be answered as it once was if it is even given. 

US airports will see fewer groups of people traveling in packs with like colored shirts and fewer couples with all of their earthly belongings in a few suitcases heading off to far flung locations for the cause of Jesus.

How did we get here?

It’s a mix of reasons, some within our control, others perhaps not.

Next up I’ll explore some of those reasons and try to point us in a forward direction.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

On Race, and the Differences in Life...

“Dave” he said, “you’ve just lived life differently than most of us here.”

That statement, by one of the guys who has been part of our Men’s Ministry in Oaxaca, has stayed with me since the day I heard it. 

Because it’s true.

Raised as a middle class kid in suburban Southern California by blue collar working parents, my life changed the day my mom and I walked to the church around the corner from our home. That’s the place where I came to know Jesus, work my first real job, receive my call to ministry and meet my future wife.

It’s also the only house of worship I’ve ever been to that resembled the words in Revelation. The ones that speak of people from “every tongue, tribe and nation” worshiping God. That’s because in that neighborhood church, where on a regular Sunday we held four services because the place was packed, we counted among our membership Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and African American people among others.

The different life that my friend recognized started infecting me at a young age.

And so while on some level I knew that when I married Chelle way back in 1979 things were gonna be different, nothing really prepared me for reality. Let me share a little on that…

I found out it was going to be different when Chelle’s grandmother said I was of the “other persuasion.”

I found out it was going to be different when my mom’s dad, my grandfather, said I was marrying a “negress.”

I learned it was going to be different when my dad’s parents, my other grandparents and leaders in their church, disowned me for marrying a black person. And I never heard from them again.

I learned it was different when as young kids on our honeymoon, Chelle and I stepped into a barbecue house in Central California and the place went dead silent. We took our food to go. 

I experienced that difference when as I was renting our first apartment in Las Vegas before we were married, the rental manager told me that the blacks lived in the back area, but my place would be upfront. I almost rented the place just to make a mess of his racist policy.

There was also the time Chelle was accused of stealing our child, because he’s light skinned. And the time I was thankful for that light skin of his when he and I were stopped by sheriffs in Alabama. Because as Joseph later learned, we were in a no go area for black people. 

Chelle’s brother is an attorney for the US Government. We were fortunate to have his card with us on the night of Joseph’s graduation from Auburn University. Because that night of celebration, in spite of our having made a reservation weeks in advance, the front desk continually ignored us and seated others, leaving us standing… waiting. 

It took her brother’s business card, the one that said US Justice Department Division of Civil Rights, to get us our table.

I was even once on staff at a church in California when the pastor rented a house from one of church members and had to sign an agreement to never allow a black person inside. The landlord, a longtime member of that church, evicted him when he and his wife adopted their special needs black son.

I do live my life with people different from me!

And I am eternally grateful to God for that. But sometimes, like right now, it’s hard. The other night as I was sitting outside Costco with a steamship full of supplies waiting for my wife to bring the car around, I fell apart.

There I was with tears streaming down my face, overcome by the reality of a guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case. All of those experiences I shared above, and more came flooding back to me. Experiences that no one should ever have to endure. 

And then it got worse, because I knew that absent a nine minute recording of a man’s life being ended, few would have believed what had happened. Just like when I share my experiences, people ask me if I’m sure I’m not misinterpreting something. Or making it up.

In the US, it seems like we are sitting on a knife’s edge. I don’t know how we get past this place but I do know this… unless we stop, listen and believe the stories of those different from us, and live life differently from those who aren’t following Jesus, we’re never going to see that…

“great multitude that no one could count, from every tongue, tribe and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb… worshipping God.”

And I think that would break God’s heart.


Read More... from the "other persuasion."

Color of Compromise, by Jemar Tisby. Well researched and difficult to read if you are an evangelical. But invaluable if you want to understand a lot of the issues facing America and the evangelical world as it relates to reconciliation.

Tears We Cannot Stop, by Michael Eric Dyson. Dyson is a father, professor and pastor. This book, which he calls A Sermon to White America reads quickly, despite it's difficult title.

Light for the World to See, by Kwame Alexander. Poetry on the issue of race, and hope in America... in 1000 words. You'll be challenged to stop, think and reflect deeply. Follow this link to the whys behind this book and hear Alexander read part of it.