After 27+ hours of travel time (including 16 hours sitting next to Ron Sider), I'm finally in Cape Town. Whew.
worshipped at St. George's Cathedral, where Desmond Tutu was Archbishop and the site of the 1989 Peace March. A beautiful service in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans.
heard that part of the reason the Chinese government restricted the Lausanne delegates is because of the Nobel Prize being given to a Chinese dissident. But about 30 Chinese delegates made it to Cape Town, mostly by traveling through other countries.
just experienced the opening ceremonies for the Cape Town Congress, with a welcome from the African church, letters from Billy Graham and John Stott, a celebration of the history of Christianity, singing "Crown Him with Many Crowns" in commemoration of the Edinburgh 1910 conference. A bit overwhelmed at all of this - it feels like a combination of Urbana and the Olympics.
My small group, which includes folks from Malaysia, India, Ethiopia and the UK, has one Al and two Alans.
Singing "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Urdu and Zulu.
Ajith Fernando on Ephesians 1: "The gospel is cosmic in scope and involves everything, the whole universe. Most people come to Christ to meet a personal need, but they stay with Christ when they know that he is the truth. Our challenge is to present God not just as a god who meets needs, but who has a cosmic plan for all of creation."
From US delegates gathering: The gospel has always been spread by exiles, refugees, slaves and immigrants. The dramatic numbers of predominantly Christian immigrants coming to the US may well be God's way of bringing renewal to the North American church.
Tonight's plenary focus: Asia and the persecuted church. Moved to tears by prayers for our Chinese delegates and the testimony of an 18-year-old Korean student who lost her mother to leukemia and her father to imprisonment but still wants to return to bring the gospel and human rights to North Korea.
Ruth Padilla DeBorst on Ephesians 2: Where does God live? God's dwelling place is the church, the transnational, transethnic community woven together into a new humanity.
Hearing from Robert Duncan, archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, on how the Anglicans of the global south brought renewal to North American Anglicanism.
"We're learning how to plant churches the way Nigerians and Ugandans do."
"Ours is not an American triumph. It is a story of the global church at its best."
Evening regional focus: The Middle East. In Saudi Arabia 100 years ago, there were 50 known Christians; today there are over a million. In Iran, when Christians are imprisoned, other prisoners become Christians.
Evening topical focus: brokenness, trafficking, HIV/AIDS. Testimony given by my author Princess Kasune Zulu, author of Warrior Princess. Her prayer: that the church would erase stigma, advocate for the HIV-positive, eliminate newborn infection and give hope, love and life to the dying.
John Piper on Ephesians 3: If God had people on other planets, they would have been invited to Lausanne. Because we are not just a global congress on world evangelization - we are a global congress for the cosmic manifestation of the glory of God.
Libby Little, widow of medical worker Tom Little killed in Afghanistan two months ago, shared Tom's last devotional thoughts retrieved from his blood-stained notes: Eph. 2:8-10, we are God's workmanship, created to do good works, and 2 Cor. 2:15, we are the aroma of Christ.
Report from an Indian Christian: 50 members of his family have become Christian and now follow Jesus as their guru. "Jesus died for our karma."
Benjamin Kwashi, archbishop in Jos, Nigeria, repeatedly threatened with death threats, mobs: "Some day I will die. But until then, I have a gospel worth living for, and I have a gospel worth dying for."
Testimony from a Muslim background believer about their contextualized church: "My brother is not the pastor; he is the imam of the church. Muslims come to church thinking it's a mosque, and they stayed."
Re: Islam: Christians can talk about Jesus without arguing against Islam. Muslim background believers respond to Jesus in various ways; some call themselves Christians, others self-identify as Muslim followers of Jesus. Some renounce Muslim identity; others say following Jesus was how they became true Muslims.
Many Muslims come to believe in Jesus through dreams and visions; one man had a dream of Jesus and traveled 1000 km by camel to find someone who could tell him about Jesus.
Lausanne Congress videos are available here, and more are on the way: http://www.vimeo.com/lausanne
Just chatted with Samuel Escobar, a living legend who was one of the key forces at the original '74 Lausanne Congress.
Evening session on megacities (Tim Keller: "So let's go"), diaspora (as 200 million people move around the globe, the gospel moves with them and unreached peoples become reachable) and Latin America (with Rene Padilla and Samuel Escobar giving history and their hopes for the future).
at the Wheaton alumni reception - big crowd here, hearing about Wheaton's influence on Lausanne from Billy Graham to Doug Birdsall. Litfin is talking about Wheaton's plans for a new center on global and experiential learning.
glad to have a day off to rest and do some sightseeing.
had a fantastic adventure all over the Cape Peninsula, from Table Mountain all the way down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Complete with wild ostriches and baboons in the road. Thanks so much to my local host guides Gabriel and Deborah Kory Fabule!
at the reception for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. So grateful that InterVarsity/USA is part of the larger global family of IFES.
Lindsay Brown: About half of the Lausanne speakers are the fruit of IFES.
Random realization: Holding evangelism and social action together simply affirms what much of the global church already knows - that there is not a false dichotomy between the spiritual and the physical.
Vaughan Roberts on Ephesians 4: Love for those like us is ordinary. Love for those unlike us is extraordinary. Love for those who dislike us is revolutionary.
Vaughan Roberts: When we freeze water, we make ice cubes - all the same. When God freezes water, he makes snowflakes - each one different.
Tonight's focus: Africa. Today's growth of the African church is more from its own evangelism than from foreign mission. Africa is no longer just a missionary-receiving continent; it is a missionary-sending continent, to Europe, the US, elsewhere.
headed to an IJM reception featuring a coffeehouse with music artist Sara Groves.
Calisto Odede on Ephesians 5: If we are not walking in the light, we are blowing vuvuzelas but not playing in the game.
was photographed by an official Lausanne photographer who thought I was reading the Bible on my iPod. I was checking Facebook.
Femi Adeleye: The prosperity gospel is a distortion because instead of giving as an act of worship to God, it becomes an act of investment with an expected return.
Yes, it's true: flushing toilets swirl in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere.
several of us here were discussing this and verifying it with both convention centre toilets and hotel toilets. Most here seem to flush counterclockwise, and we thought most in the US flush clockwise. But it's disputed as to whether this has as much to do with the hemisphere and more to do with the design of the toilets and how the water jets out.
Tonight's focus: the Western world and Eurasia. Heard from Nicky Gumbel on the rationality, power and urgency of the gospel and the balance of word and deed. Also released: part 1 of the Cape Town Commitment.
Ramez Atallah on Ephesians 6: In spiritual warfare with the cosmic powers, we must use God's equipment, not the weapons of the world.
Leslie and Chad Neal Seagraves on men and women in partnership: An Indian couple was trained in outreach; the husband brought 35 to Christ, and the wife brought 315. 1200 women have been trained as church planters and have started over 4100 house churches.
Patrick Fung quoting Chris Wright: The world is in a holistic mess that needs a holistic gospel.
found out that Sara Groves's husband, Troy, is from my hometown of Bloomington, MN, and that we were a year apart at our elementary school and high school.
had a fantastic time at the closing ceremonies of the Cape Town Lausanne Congress. Celebrated communion with members of the global church. Start the long trip home tomorrow.
made it back home to Chicago after 28+ hours of travel. And note to airlines: When you say, "If you have changed seats, please return to your original ticketed seating assignment," we hear that as "We just want to be able to identify your body if we crash."