I may have to stop reading Dave Lewis’s blog at Paracletos.org. Sure, it’s an amazing resource for gleaning insights from around the Web on member care and cross-cultural life, but it’s starting to get in the way of my originality. I’m particularly frustrated with his “Casual Friday Resources.” Lately, it seems as if when I come up with a new idea to write about, the same idea pops up on Casual Friday, and I see that others have thought my thoughts before me . . . often in more complete and coherent ways.
Take for instance, my last post on missionary expectations. Since I was focusing on Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission, I knew that what I had to say would more or less be a reworking of their research and observations. But I wanted to bring attention to the topic and their book, because, you know, not enough people are getting the word out.
As I was putting my thoughts together, Dave linked to a post by Bliss on the blog Velvet Ashes, “an online community of women serving overseas.” In “Burnout: A Retrospect,” Bliss writes, “Looking back on it now, I can honestly say that burnout is the best thing that ever happened to me.” That link inspired me. The folks at Velvet Ashes and I are thinking in the same direction.
But then, just yesterday, Dave linked to Velvet Ashes again, this time to an interview with Eenigenburg, the other author of Expectations and Burnout. Come to find out, Velvet Ashes is doing a two-month series on the book as they read through it one or two chapters at a time. Come on, guys! What am I going to do?
All joking aside, here is what I’m going to do.
Many times I’ve heard variations on the well-known words of D. T. Niles, a Methodist evangelist from Ceylon, who wrote,
Evangelism is witness. It is one beggar telling another beggar where to get food. The Christian does not offer out of his bounty. He has no bounty. He is simply a guest at his Master’s table, and, as evangelist, he calls others, too.
I figure it’s much the same with promoting member care. I’m just a beggar letting other beggars know that food is out there for hungry souls. So head on over to Paracletos.org and Velvet Ashes. There’s some great feasting going on at each of these. And as I find more resources, I’ll continue to let you know about them, joining others who are doing the same.
And as far as originality goes, there can be all sorts of room for creativity in how we point others in the right direction.
(Robynn Bliss, “Burnout: A Retrospect,” Velvet Ashes, March 8, 2015; D. T. Niles, That They May Have Life, Harper, 1951)