How much does a missionary need?

As missionaries with YWAM, we are all funded individually by supporters who we invite to help us raise as much as we want think we need. Which can make it difficult to know how much is a sensible amount. So I asked my parents, whose mission organization does things slightly more communally, for their advice.

OMF Allowances for a family with 1 child under 12 in the UK
Adult Allowance Adult 1 10,296.00
Adult 2 10,296.00
Child Allowance Under 12 2,550.00
Under 12 2,550.00
Housing Allowance (max) Family 11,169.00
Utilities Allowance (max) Family 4,070.00
Council Tax (max) Family 2,356.00
Pension Contributions Adult 1 2,887.50
Adult 2 2,887.50
National Insurance Adult 1 — as paid, approx. 1,500.00
Adult 2 — as paid, approx. 1,500.00
Total     52,062.00

Note: the above does not include personal ministry expenses, which in YWAM would also need to be included in personal support.

Waiting for a very different Benedict


A crucial turning point in that earlier history (of the late Roman Empire) occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead–often not recognizing fully what they were doing–was the continuation of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. What matters at this stage is the construction of new forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to sustain the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of awareness of this that constitutes part of our predicament.

We are waiting, not for Godot, but for another–doubtless very different–St. Benedict.

(After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre)

The Prosperity Gospel…

The prosperity gospel holds to this illusion of control until the very end. If a believer gets sick and dies, shame compounds the grief. Those who are loved and lost are just that — those who have lost the test of faith. In my work, I have heard countless stories of refusing to acknowledge that the end had finally come. An emaciated man was pushed about a megachurch in a wheelchair as churchgoers declared that he was already healed. A woman danced around her sister’s deathbed shouting to horrified family members that the body can yet live. There is no graceful death, no ars moriendi, in the prosperity gospel. There are only jarring disappointments after fevered attempts to deny its inevitability.

The prosperity gospel has taken a religion based on the contemplation of a dying man and stripped it of its call to surrender all. Perhaps worse, it has replaced Christian faith with the most painful forms of certainty. The movement has perfected a rarefied form of America’s addiction to self-rule, which denies much of our humanity: our fragile bodies, our finitude, our need to stare down our deaths (at least once in a while) and be filled with dread and wonder. At some point, we must say to ourselves, I’m going to need to let go.

(From here)

Man of Sorrows


He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Talking Genocide at the Jubilee Lounge

Every Tuesday lunch, 12.30-1pm, the Jubilee Lounge meets to discuss an article relating to some topic of sociopolitical significance.

This week we discussed Helena Kennedy’s piece in the Guardian about Isis committing genocide.

Various questions arose:
– What does the Genocide Convention actually require once a situation is identified as ‘genocide’?
– What is this ‘international judicial system’ that should be identifying genocidal situations? And is it actually (even plausibly theoretically) independent?
– Given that what is happening with Isis is genocide — what should be done?
– Can we draw any more precise lessons from recent Iraqi history than merely that intervention tends to make the problem worse?
– What will war look like in the twenty-first century? (Ground war, cyber war, terrorism, economic sanctions…)

Let me know if you have any thoughts on the matter or would like to join one of the discussions.