The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

To receive cohort emails, join our Google group.


Atheist who believes Africa needs God

A new friend to the cohort, Nick, shared this article with me and asked that I post it. It ties in well with a lot of our past discussions. It is an article from The Times based in London. Please read and consider.

Also, don't forget to check out the previous post about our upcoming discussion on consumerism.


Jane Johnson said...

Wow, this is pretty amazing! I actually heard an anthropology lecture just last Monday about a region of Africa, and the usual perspective on religion was taken: the indigenous religion is interesting, but the Lutheran church in the area should be ashamed of its colonialist behavior. I've gotten used to this kind of thing, and who knows, in that case it might well have been true. But I've also heard so many astounding stories about missionary work in parts of Africa and other struggling regions that it's hard to deny the power Christianity can have there. I found the explanation the author gave for why Christianity "works" in Africa interesting: one could see his psychological explanation as supporting the argument that religion isn't really supernatural after all, but to me the explanation doesn't take away from the power of faith. It's not like the transformations he describes are easy to accomplish; something has to really motivate people to drastically change who they are and what they believe.

Anonymous said...

Pete's visit has really got me thinking a lot lately about how faith should be a lived out faith. In other words, how faith and works are intertwined.

Question: If churches went into Africa and ONLY taught the faith (as if faith were strictly an intellectual exercise), but they didn't practice the faith in all the help that they give, then would you get the same result that the author is talking about? That being a change in how they relate to the world around them.

Nick Nelson said...

Adam, i couldn't agree with you more. Faith, almost by definition must be lived out (just to clarify, I am not saying here that any sort of works are required for salvation). James 2 tells us that faith without works is dead. 1 Peter 2:11-12 encourages us to live lives that are radically different than the world around us. Throughout the NT christian are called to be known by their outrageous generosity and love in stark contrast to the world around them. I believe this is a key characteristic of God's heart. Jesus certainly lived out the compassion and justice he taught. And in the OT God was frustrated and angry with Israel for abandoning a lived-out faith that held up justice for the poor (they forgot that they had once been oppressed and now had become the oppressors). Amos 5-6 and Isiah 58 make a clear distinction between religion and faith(or "living the Kingdom" as I like to say). The religious, without compassion and love lived out are a clanging gong and noisy cymbal; just annoying noise to the Lord. Churches/christians that are only worried about converts and putting another notch on their belts but forgo radical love have placed their religion above God as an idol. Unfortunately all to often in the Western church, religion takes hold and only noise is made.