Again today was spent mostly at the Gossner Mission looking through fifty nine years of "Die Kinder Biene Aug del Missionsfelde fur Jung and Alt". This was the mission journal for the German audience describing the life of missionaries and the people they worked for. Many of the articles were written by missionary women. It was a good find but I know I only touched the surface. I would have to study them for many months to get a deeper understanding. Still, with the help of Klaus Roeber I was able to find many good things.
I also had good discussions of which I have added my thoughts at the end, for those interested in something a little more intellectual
Meanwhile I'd like to comment on the wonderful union between the old and the new in Berlin. Cobbled streets upon which a modern efficient transit system runs. The buildings where I have spent most of my time these past two days are also an example. Retaining the old exterior, the interior are modern offices. I still could imagine something of the years when my great great grandfather studied in these halls (1865-68).
As the complex expanded, I was glad to see that a large old tree was preserved by constructing a curved building around it.
And a lovely statue of the Psalmist David sits full of praises to God in its midst. Unfortunately the camera didn't pick up the spider web that weaved threads from David's lip, eye and ear to the harp. As if God added an aproving touch to a well stewarded creation.
The discussion earlier circled around a constant tension between the German missionaries of old; between Reformed thinkers (F. Hahn's orientation) who believed in the community life of believers based on the Bible and the guidance of the "Spirit" and the more orthodox Lutheran thinkers (such as Alfred Nottrott) who believed that the role of church centered around Sacred Sacraments (baptism, confirmation, Communion, etc) and Sermons (correct teaching of the Bible). This continues to be a debate in Protestantism throughout the ages. But rarely does a new Christian community have the advantage of having two strong leaders expose them to such complexities of Christianity from the start. In the end the church that grew up in this part of India has the privileged vantage point of having both traditions to rely on as they make their way in their Indian Adivasi context. To try to bring this down to a level that most people can understand, the question at stake is: is church to be run and led by Spirit-led people or do people require leadership vetted by some kind of orthodoxy? The pendulum swings. Without a measured debate, the church can assume too much and become narrowly focused (group think) or relinquish too much power onto leaders, either way the "flock is led astray". This is pretty much the constant flow of Christianity throughout history. Over emphasis on one or the other eventually causes Christianity in any given time and place to implode upon itself. If you don't see it happening, wait a generation. I personally think this is by higher design, because then a regeneration or revival can happen -- after all Chistianity is all about Resurrection. Staunch traditions somehow linger on, and over 2000+ years there are multiple traditions in play. But all of these traditions originally emerged as reformations, revivals, refreshing, some kind of reframing of what was before. And even some of the staunch old traditions, like the old buildings or the old tree, have been remodeled and made new again.