Monday, June 23, 2008

Vacation 08' Report Pt.1

Hello All,

I am officially on vacation! There are few better feelings than leaving the office on the last day before a vacation, knowing that you won't be back for 2 weeks! Pretty nice!
Unfortunately, I began vacation 08' with a nasty cold. My first 2 hours of my first day were spent in sleepless torment. I had gone to bed at 10PM and woke up at 11PM with inflamed sinuses. Midnight rolled around and I was out of bed, downstairs in front of the T.V. watching a Sherlock Homes movie. At 2AM, there was enough relief to hit the hay. Just hours later, we visited a popular church in the area.

The church, which will remain nameless, was refreshing to be in for some reasons. There was a genuine sense of anticipation in the air, as people crowded into their seats several minutes before the service began. The service began right on time, and with the worship team completely on! But then came the speaker.

To be fair, this speaker did not represent the totality of teaching at the particular church. Also to be fair, this brother probably has had other occasions to more fully express the truths of his beliefs. So, the following comments represent more of my thinking than a rebuttal to what I heard this morning.

The issue at hand is the Social Justice commitment to missions, which was the backbone to his entire message. For those unfamiliar with this concept, the emphasis is that we as Christians would go into the nations, and seek to right the wrongs which those particular nations face. Poverty, mistreatment, medical relief, hunger, are all popular campaigns, but are certainly not the only ones. My beef with this movement was expressed well by the statements that this brother made. The sentiment is simply this: Meet man's physical needs and they will be in position to then be in harmony with God. "Let's simply abolish hunger and people will come to God."

Let me be clear: Social missions should be something that Christians do in missions. Social justice should be the means, but not the ends. Divorced from the ends, namely the sharing of the gospel of Christ, we simply reduce missions to humanitarianism, which any heathen can do! In fact, there are some wonderful humanitarian based organizations that go into Africa, feed starving babies and restore them to physical life. Some of these Doctors are Athiests, completely against God!

Proponents of social justice missions complain that the "other side" errs on the side of presenting the gospel without meeting physical needs. "They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care!" Perhaps I agree with them, but this sentiment is just as much of a cop out. To simply meet someone's physical needs without ever introducing them to Jesus Christ is a job half done!

I'll be honest: When Jesus and Paul do not fit into a missions philosophy, I tend to think that that philosophy might need some work! Jesus at some points in His ministry refused to feed the masses that had gathered simply for that purpose. Most of Paul's missionary work was done without any social aspect to it at all! Of course, this does not discount the need for good social justice ministry that seeks to honor Christ and make Him known. I only submit that point to emphasize that the SPIRITUAL needs of any person, from any nation, supercedes their physical needs in terms of importance. So long as that balance is maintained, I am all for social justice missions.

A great example of this to me is Carlos Casco, who goes into the impoverished towns that he with a van filled with toys, dental equipment, eye-glasses and so much more. But then, in every case and with every opportunity, shares the gospel with every creature that will listen! "Here are those eyeglasses that you need. While you try them on and I adjust them, let me tell you about Jesus Christ, who loves you and has sent me to care for your eyes and your soul!" THAT is the social justice mission that I can get behind.

And just when I was about to finish this blog entry, Pastor Josh Harris noted some sentiments that he heard in a Mark Dever sermon, which can be found right here.

I'm not sure I should be thinking about these things right now, but I am...so hard to turn things off!

But I did better "turning things off" on Monday! Lela and I went out to the I.E. right where it's roughly 250˚ in the shade! What possessed us? I was commissioned by my Father to come out and record drums for two tracks on his upcoming album, which landed me in Joe Marchiano's studio. Recording with Joe is thankfully, a huge part of my musical experience and today was just another cool chapter in our relationship. Joe's new place is extravagent, with great equipment and sitting room in the engineering room! Back in the day, we had to listen back to the tracks, virtually on each other's laps! Today, in the new place, I had my choice of two chairs or a couch! While I recorded for a couple of hours, Lela and the kids went over to the "Craw" Palace and hung at the Hale residence. I finished recording after they had gotten some burritos from CUCA'S! Thankfully, I would not be defiled. I ATE AT EL BURRITO! In case you don't my feelings about this, check out this blog, right here. When that thread was live, there were 40 comments...anyone want to add any new sentiments?

Then, we went as a family to see Kung Fu Panda. The movie was fun; Caleb laughing at the movie was absolutely the greatest joy we had today! Watching him belly laugh at all the slapstick humor was totally hilarious!

Two days down and things are going well, including a cold that is going away.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

6 comments:

mhcowen said...

We too have struggled with social humanitarianism outreaches in the name of Jesus...and even participated in a few. My heart always felt like the "mission" was incomplete. We were always told the sang, "you can fish for a man and he will be left hungry after a meal, but if you teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime." Fine. Understood. But where does Jesus play into this? Could it be that we live in a rich, politically correct nation that we are bred in fear of stepping on toes of other people...that we take that influence to other nations. Scary. Lord, guide and direct and may we be your mouthpiece...not just your hands and feet!

Carrie Marie said...

I am confused about what this particular pastor's thoughts actually were...
was he too social justice-ey?

ps, you are missed.

Frank & Lela said...

Hey Cowen Fam!

Definitely have been there myself. It's a frustrating feeling to be sure! Prayerfully, the next opportunities will be complete ones.

Carrie,

I left things ambiguous so as to protect the innocent! Point is that the message was heavy on the go and do, and light on the go and speak. Again, to be fair, this was one message. It just provided me with a soapbox to air what I have been feeling about the topic.

Blessings,
F.S.

Carrie Marie said...

Ohhh okay, I see, I see. Interesting. I will have to log on and listen myself... :)

Carrie Marie said...

But how was the worship??

(maritza) said...

What the real bummer was walking into the church today..., knowing something was missing, reading your blog a couple days late and realizing... YOU WERE NOT THERE!@!!!!