Posts Tagged ‘Josh Dye’

A revolutionary idea

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Disposing of consumerism

Josh Dye
Public relations intern
Avondale College of Higher Education
Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

What comes to mind when you think of North Korea? Nuclear weapons, military processions or not much at all?

Despite being located in the most prosperous region on earth—among economic powerhouses such as China, Japan and South Korea—North Korea chooses anonymity and isolation. The world’s most secluded state remains shrouded in mystery.

Travelling there is a surreal experience; the country remains firmly entrenched somewhere in the last century. It’s easy to criticise North Koreans for their fanatical support of an oppressive, corrupt and despotic regime. How could they possibly tolerate such dreadful living conditions? Why don’t they revolt? Here’s some perspective, though.

North Koreans are subjected every day to relentless propaganda. Billboards promote the state rather than a brand; state-owned television is censored and heavily biased; the Kim dynasty is worshipped, venerated, adored. Without the Internet, travel opportunities or free press, most people just don’t know what the rest of the world is like. And it’s been that way for generations. Unbelievable, right?

How different are we? Consider this:

A family eats dinner in the comfort of plush leather couches and watches its favourite cooking show. For some of the time, anyway—there’s a lot of advertisements. The members of the family are subjected to an excitable voice telling them all kinds of things: that they must try this new, irresistible burger, then 30 seconds later that they need to lose weight; that their couches need upgrading or that they should use a new brand of shampoo.

It’s no less propaganda than the state television in Pyongyang.

In the North Korean world, it’s easy to spot the flaws. Not so in our world, where consumerism is rampant and everything is disposable.

Josh is a Bachelor of Arts student majoring in communication and international poverty and development studies at Avondale College of Higher Education.

Beyond baptisms and buildings

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What makes a “successful” mission trip?

Josh Dye
Bachelor of Arts student
Avondale College of Higher Education
Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

Here’s a typical question I’ve received since returning from a One Mission trip to the Solomon Islands in December: “What did you achieve?”

It’s a fair question—we like to quantify things. A typical answer could be, “We baptised 50 people through our evangelistic series,” or, “We built a school for disadvantaged children so they can receive a Christian education.” But One Mission Solomon Islands didn’t baptise anyone or build anything.

“What will we achieve?” As leader of a team of 14, I mulled the question over before and during the trip—for the record, we organised kids’ clubs, conducted soccer clinics, taught English classes, led Bible studies and presented a series of worship meetings. The question frustrated me because I knew I needed to submit plans for the trip to God but felt as though I had to have something tangible to say. It frustrated me because I don’t believe we should judge the “success” of mission trips by comparing numbers of baptisms or the size of building projects.

Are baptisms and buildings trophies to show when we return home? If mission trips don’t provide any follow-up personal support for new believers or financial support for maintaining new churches, is it responsible to call for baptisms and construct buildings?

Let’s look beyond baptisms and buildings to the example of Jesus, who devoted most of His life on earth to mission. Yes, He valued baptism and even buildings, particularly one in Jerusalem—think the clearing of the temple, but He didn’t see those as achievements. His one mission? Connecting with people.

Jesus valued relationships above anything else. He blessed, healed and taught to build, restore and strengthen them. So should we.