Monday, July 26, 2010

66 Word Clouds

Bible study resources are rapidly being revolutionized by technology and the internet, and I think God has called a number of people after His heart to serve the church through technological expertise and creativity. The internet carries the gospel in ways (both good and bad) that first century Christians could not have imagined. A good friend of mine is involved in using his expertise as a computer programmer to bring Bible study resources and technological infrastructure to the church. He made me aware of a fascinating project by a Christian graphic designer which maps word frequency in all 66 books of the Bible and produces an image or Word Cloud, demonstrating frequency.

I may be a writing and literature nerd, but I find these fascinating on many levels and I think they can contribute greatly both to word studies, sermon illustrations and personal devotion. Jump over to Sixty-Six Clouds and grab the images. You can also buy the coffee table book or full size posters!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hello From Hamtramck

Hello after a long break! I'm still settling into Hamtramck (HAM-TRAM-ICK), MI, but hopefully I will be able to post regularly again. Missional life and the need of the city is affecting my time and focus, which may affect the focus of the blog. Project posts may become slightly rarer. In this city, where 60% of the population or more is Muslim and 2% proclaim Christianity, the active spreading of the gospel across cultural and language barriers takes up much of my thought and time.

I see this as phenomenal news for the blog. Before I was writing from a common Christian cultural perspective, and was somewhat limited in scope. Here I'm writing from the margins and am able to glimpse the gospel and the word of God from a new perspective. In a city where Islam dominates and language barriers create obstacles to the good news, a new measure of faith is given in the power and effectiveness of God's word. It still does not return void. It is still sufficient and God's grace is still more than enough.

More posts will come very soon. Many will look at the effectiveness of the Word across cultural lines, and how the missionary perspective changes the way you read the Bible.

I cannot describe this place to you. I could give you lists of statistics (and I probably will later), but for now I will simply say that this is city like Ninevah, currently under the wrath of God, but with a deep potential for repentance and city-wide transformation. Let me leave you with a brief glimpse of the streets of Hamtramck. More to come!

  The city was founded by Polish immigrants who worked in the car industry; however, with the collapse of the economy the Polish population is shrinking. You still see Polish signs and hear Polish spoken prevalently.

The Bengali population is growing rapidly and they bring Islam with them. Aladdin is a fantastic Bengali restaraunt located on Bangledesh Ave. (officially renamed due to the massive Bengali population on the street)
This is the one of the largest Mosques in the two square mile city. You can see Muslims pack the streets for the Friday call to prayer. The Mosques broadcast the call to prayer from loudspeakers five times per day everyday. Ten years ago there were only one or two mosques in the area and they only had a few patrons. Now there are over ten in just two square miles, and they are packed.

The back of the mosque. Notice the security camera.

Another mosque (one of the most discrete ones, no signs or cameras); almost all of them use a green and white color scheme.

Please pray for the city if God lays it on your heart. I hope to post a few more times this week and more pictures will come. I promise a return to the blog's original purpose, but perhaps with a more missional flavor.

The People of Nineveh Repent
Jonah 3:6-10
 6The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish." 10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.