Thursday, January 21, 2010

Christianity Rediscovered


When I worked as manager of OC Books in Dunedin, I frequently sold copies of Christianity Rediscovered, by Vincent Donovan. However, it's only in these holidays that I've finally got round to reading it (!)

In my opinion, it's a book every minister should read (as well as every Christian who isn't an ordained minister!). It's written from a Catholic viewpoint - Donovan was a Spiritan priest (that is, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Ghost Fathers) - so it needs to be read with this in mind. Nevertheless, his views on the Church establishment are applicable to most denominations.

Donovan was a missionary to the Masai people in Africa from 1955 to 1973. As a result of his work amongst them he changed his views on what being a missionary meant, on what the priesthood is or should be, and on the way in which culture affects mission work- and whether Christianity is 'different' within each individual culture.

He was successful in his work, but his work wasn't always appreciated by those in authority, and not everything he established has been maintained over the years since his departure from Africa. Nevertheless the book that he wrote as a result of his work has had a huge impact on missionary thinking ever since - though hasn't as often been followed through in practice.

This, along with the even earlier book by Roland Allen: Missionary Methods - St Paul's or Ours? (which influenced Donovan) should be on every Christian's shelves, especially on the shelves of those in 'official' ministry.

7 comments:

Jason Goroncy said...

I'm not sure how you ever managed to land a job where you did without reading this book, but it's music to my ears that you've read it now. Hope you can get your boss (and others in the building) to do the same.

Mike Crowl said...

Landed the job on natural talent and sheer good looks, Jason!
I suspect both of my bosses have read the book but I'll check.
I'm getting my own copy of it, which might help....

Mike Crowl said...

My boss has now affirmed that my natural talent and sheer good looks were the main reason I was employed.
And both of my colleagues/bosses have long ago read the book - more than once. Which will definitely be music to your ears. :)

Jason Goroncy said...

Reading between the lines then, I assume that your bosses managed to pick up a book in either braille or audio version. Either way, and on all scores, they are obviously very wise :-)

Mike Crowl said...

Flattery will get you nowhere, Jason.

Jason Goroncy said...

Not even worth a try?

Mike Crowl said...

Ha!