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Knowing the world we live in helps spread the Word of God

Thought for the weekend

By Allen Sleith

Published 13/08/2016

Several weeks ago our family moved house as part of the call to minister in a different congregation. One big factor was the sorting of what to clear out and what to take with us after 16 years plus in Newtownards. It was especially the case with books.

As ministers and other bibliophiles will appreciate, it's a laborious process lugging them from place to place.

Even after a thorough sifting out process, there were still a lot that came with me prompting me to make a covenant with myself.

In future, if one book comes in, at least two must go out - perhaps that ratio of acquisition and relinquishment might free up enough manageable space come retirement.

The generous gifts from friends of several book tokens have already tested my covenant's practical outworking.

Among several books that I picked out with the tokens were three absolute gems. They are: The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks, Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane and Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall. I could happily write about all three but let me concentrate here on the last one.

The sub-title of Marshall's book is 'Ten Maps that tell you everything you need to know about Global Politics'.

If you want to gain a better grasp of the mega-realities, historical factors and, not least, geographical features that have shaped and will continue to shape what some now call 'geo-politics' then this is a 'must read'.

For instance: Russia will likely never be a global superpower since it lacks a 'warm-water port'; the USA's 'gifted' factors of natural harbours, navigable rivers and vast natural resources all contribute to, and partially explain, its status as world superpower; and Africa still suffers, not just from past abusive colonial invasions but also from having fewer natural coastline harbours and major rivers which are riddled with waterfalls that inhibit trade.

The Church is called to share the content of God's Word of holy love but to do so with an informed grasp of the context of the world in which that Word gets to work. Nothing else or less does justice to what Jesus meant by mission.

Belfast Telegraph

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