One Sunday late last summer, I saw a sign on the side of the road in Adelphi, Md. It was small, wedged between dozens of presidential campaign signs, and it was in Spanish: Iglesia de Dios del Evangelio Completo. Down the road I found another sign: Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Maryland. Soon I started seeing signs for Protestant Latino churches everywhere. There was even one right behind my apartment in Virginia. And so I decided to visit two of the largest Latino Protestant churches in the area—La Roca de la Eternidad in Adelphi and Iglesia Cuadrangular el Calvario in nearby Silver Spring. What I discovered signaled a Latino Reformation.
2. The food aid debate
An important – if contentious – conversation seems to be happening in political, business, and NGO circles about the U.S. food aid program:
Washington is awash in rumors this week that the White House is planning major changes in the way the U.S. donates food to fight hunger in some of the world’s poorest countries. It has set off an emotional debate. Both sides say they are trying to save lives. America’s policies on food aid are singularly generous — and also unusually selfish. On the generous side, the U.S. spends roughly $1.5 billion every year to send food abroad, far more than any other country. On the other hand, the rules for this program, known as Food for Peace, ensure that much of the money stays in American hands.
3. The “two men” that were Hugo Chávez
The famed Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez remembers a plane ride with Hugo Chávez in 1999 from Cuba to Venezuela:
The airplane touched down in Caracas at three in the morning. I could see now through the window the glow of the lights of that unforgettable city where I had lived during three crucial years of Venezuela’s history, three crucial years of my life. The president bid me farewell with a hug. As he walked away amidst soldiers and supporters, it struck me that I had just traveled and chatted happily with two different men; one to whom luck had given the chance to save his country, and the other, an illusionist who might pass into history as yet another despot.
4. Diversity in conference lineups
Ken Wytsma, founder of the Justice Conference and author of Pursuing Justice, shares one of the most important lessons he learned from his late friend Richard Twiss – the need for minority representation at Christian conferences and events in prominent roles:
Diversity doesn’t trump competency, character or having a message. Leaders and teachers have and should have a high bar of accountability with regard to teaching and influence. It’s just that we need to operate with the theologically confident belief that God can and will surface credible, diverse and dynamic voices to lead us into a fuller, more equitable and more representational picture of the body of Christ.
Bruce Herman’s Magnificat exhibit will be at New City Church tonight for First Friday, including a presentation around 8pm. If you’re in Phoenix, here’s the info. To whet our collective appetites, this short film from Laity Lodge introduces us to the painter and his work.
[Image: "Second Adam" – detail of Christ crucified (2007) by Bruce Herman via bruceherman.com]