brett’s morning blend (23jun11)

Practical Advice for Short-Term Missions

This is a great list for any short-term volunteer to read before embarking on a summer mission.  Off the top of my head I would add three more words of advice:

    1. Be prepared in many cases to be more of an observer than a doer.  I’m afraid many short-termers are convinced their 10 days abroad are going to change the world.  It’s far more likely (in my opinion) that greater good will come from your willingness to be a learner than from your willingness to save the cheerleader, save the world.
    2. Remember you’re likely “on the field” for a week or two, and the missionaries there long-term are just that — long-term.  Keeping this in mind should influence you greatly.  Two areas in particular:  1) the missionaries will deal with the consequences of your actions for a very long time (whereas you probably never will), and 2) it’s easy to live a martyr’s life for a week, but not so much for several years.
    3. If at all possible, come with a group representative of your church.  This means teens, young adults, and older adults.  Youth group mission trips are a lot of fun, but a great deal of potential good is lost when only one subset of a church takes part in such an activity — as is much opportunity for mentoring.
A humorous infographic placing 50 people — perfectly representative of the world’s population — in one room.

A bunch of pop culture portraits inspired by da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”  If you think this sort of thing is irreverent or sacrilegious, please don’t click the link.  Just skip it and pretend I never mentioned it.  Also, you should know that I read only from the KJV.

The Suicide Paradox

Maybe one of the most interesting articles I’ve ever read.  It begins with a former missionary to the Piraha people of the Amazon, who found himself being converted to a culture in which people were relentlessly happy; suicide was not at all present in their society.  What follows is a bunch of economists and psychologists discussing the various whys and whens of suicide.

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee

While we’re on the Freakonomics blog (see above), I might as well give you three of their posts which I’ve been saving.  Here is the second.  The title of the link is pretty self-explanatory.

The Economists’ Guide to Parenting

DUBNER: Well how confident are you? I mean, you guys are making a lot of choices from organic food, and sign language, and all kinds of behavioral things, how confident are you that your investments are, forget about optimal, even worthwhile?

WOLFERS: Not at all confident.

DUBNER: Uh, pardon me Professor Wolfers?

WOLFERS: Not at all confident.

DUBNER: Here’s the thing. As much as Wolfers and Stevenson sound like your typical obsessive, sweat-the-small-stuff, micro-managing parents, they actually agree with the rest of our economist roundtable on one crucial and quite surprising fact: Parents just don’t matter as much as we think we think they do. 

Venn Diagram of Imperialism

I’m going to admit something embarrassing.  Several months ago we were having a discussion about Canada and whether the unfunny (yet tough) citizens of the country to the north recognize the Queen (as in “of England”) as their own.  I voted on the side of “No way!  Are you kidding — that’s ridiculous.”  But super-missionary Jason Miller made us look it up when we got home.  He was right.  If you’re as ignorant as I was, you should have a look at this Venn diagram.  You can learn all kinds of things about The Crown, England, the U.K., and imperialism.

Did you know that Canadians bow to the queen?  Do you think parenting is important?  What are your thoughts on short-term missions?


Filed under morning blend

8 responses to “brett’s morning blend (23jun11)

  1. Hey Brett. I resonated with #3 on your list of “Practical Advice” above. A few years ago I went on a short-term mission trip with members of the singles’ group from my church. We were all in our 20s and excited to go on this adventure together. That is until an elderly couple from our church asked if they could come along. I must admit that we were a bit wary at first, ‘cos we didn’t want them to cramp our style 🙂 However, as we got to know them during the weeks before the trip, we grew to appreciate their input and wisdom. I can honestly say that more than the experience we had serving the community we visited, one of the wonderful results of that trip is the relationship I built (and continue to build) with this couple. They have taught me so much about how to be available to be used by God, and have been a godly example of a long marriage.

    • great story, chinwe. i appreciate you sharing it.

      [and it definitely wouldn’t hurt our youth and college groups to spend more time with godly examples of long marriage.]

  2. JMF

    Ha!! That is great!! Just one more thing for which to make fun of Canadians. FWIW, Southpark absolutely NAILS Canadians. I’d be interested if Canadians thing Southpark’s representation of them is funny or offensive.

    • never seen southpark. but the next time i see my best canadian friend (again, in mwanza), i’ll ask him.

    • As a lifelong Canadian, I think South Park’s take on Canadians is hilarious. I find that most Canadians are ok with humor (oops, I mean humour) that pokes fun at us, especially when it’s so true like that.

      I must say though that I – and most Canadians I know – view the monarchy as a tired formality that only exists on paper. I think the only reason the Queen’s picture is still on our money is that we’re too polite to have it removed.

  3. JMF

    Brett —

    Is the Jason Miller of which you speak an LU grad? Few years older than us, sported a beard?

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