Extreme Hospitality (The Third Thing I Learned in Egypt about being a Christian)

Johnny Wilson CC

 Image courtesy of Johnny Wilson at CC

 

I attend and work at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, and part of the church’s mission is to exhibit extreme hospitality. The church does it well. In fact, it was this genuine hospitality that brought my wife and me to the church in the first place and part of why we chose to stay.

But as welcoming as our church is, I’ve never encountered hospitality like I did in Egypt last month. I was there to help my friend explore new mission opportunities, and from the moment our hosts met us at the airport until they dropped us off again, we were treated like royalty.

The practice of extreme hospitality was the third lesson I learned from Kasr al Dobara Evangelical Church (KDEC) about being a Christian. Continue reading

We’re Not Very Good at Being the Church (The Second Thing I Learned in Egypt about Being a Christian)

Last week I posted the first lesson I learned about being a Christian while I was in Egypt. Believe it or not, it was this: Political Unrest is Good for the Church. (click here to read what I mean)  The second lesson I recently learned in Egypt about being a Christian is…

Lesson #2 – We’re not very good about being the Church

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Photo by Benjamin Staudinger at CC

 It might seem a bit rude to say we, American Christians, are not very good at being the Church. But in some ways, it’s true – and I would much rather say (and hear) what is true than what sounds good.

In one of my classes last quarter I spent a lot of time reading, learning, and thinking about the differences between a missional church and an attractional church (I wrote a post about this for Trochia.org – read it here!), but while in Egypt this past month, I actually experienced the difference. Continue reading

Political Unrest is Good for the Church (What Egypt Taught Me about being a Christian)

I was recently in the Middle East for a vacation in Iraq.

Kidding. I was indeed in the Middle East, but it wasn’t Iraq, and nobody goes to the Middle East for vacation these days.

The truth is two weeks ago I traveled to Egypt with a friend who has been involved in mission work there since 2007. We served the poor in tiny, poverty-stricken villages in the Egyptian desert, and we discussed partnership opportunities with church leaders and in Cairo.

Like my first trip there years ago, it was an eye-opening and soul-convicting trip. Over the next few blog posts, I will share what I learned from that inspiring church in Egypt. What they taught me about the Christian life (without ever trying to) impacted my heart as much as the sights and sounds of a revolution-torn country impacted my senses. My hope is their lessons will stick with you as much as they have stuck with me.

Lesson #1 – Political Unrest is Good for the Church 

Tahrir Square - SierraGoddess

photo credit: SierraGoddess at CC

The first thing I learned from the church we visited in Egypt is that political unrest is good for the church. Continue reading

My Nine Year Old Mentor

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Brad, the 50 year old leader of our group looked me in the eye and sternly said, “If I tell you to get on the bus, get on the bus.”

Ten minutes later his voice rose above the noise as he said, “Get all the Americans inside right now.” And the somewhat agitated crowd of locals were told to leave.

His instructions brought an end to the conversation a few travel-mates and I were trying to have outside. Our incomplete Arabic and the villager’s broken English made our exchanges difficult, and I’m certain they were offended by our refusal to follow them home for tea, but my desire to retreat to safety trumped my desire to honor their hospitality.

We were ushered inside the tiny ramshackle church turned makeshift vision and dental clinic as Brad repeated his command – “All Americans inside. Now.”

I was starting to get nervous. Continue reading