in Minnesota, I was taught that it is not nice to brag. But maybe
just this once. . .
had the privilege of placing the graduation stole on a truly
outstanding student, because I was his thesis advisor. I’ve told you
before about Macoy. He grew up in an orphanage in Lima, Peru because
his mother was too poor to support him and his brothers, and she
worked as a live-in maid, so she couldn’t take care of them. Of his
generation of 87 young people, he is the only one to have gone on to
university and one of only 4 who graduated from high school. All of
the people around him were poor. None had an education. All were
working at subsistence jobs. Most went to church. (See the pictures
of a typical neighborhood in South Lima.)
himself, does the church have anything to say about poverty, misery
and hopelessness, other than the consolation of heaven “in the sweet
bye and bye”? Why, in the Christian American hemisphere, is
there so much injustice, inequality, and despair? Does Christian
faith mean anything at all in this life? Does it have anything to say
about economics, politics, refugees, the environment, discrimination?
His church had taught him NO.
When as a child he would show up hungry at church, they would tell
him it was God’s will for him to be poor. When the country was being
torn apart by a vicious civil war, the church had nothing to say
except that it was “of the world” and should be ignored by
Christians. When the girls in his youth group got pregnant (a high
percentage), they were expelled from the group and from the church.
He lost the girl he loved because the pastor forbad her to continue
seeing him when he moved to a different church.
Macoy is an example of why the UniversidadBíblicaLatinoamericana
is still vitally needed in Latin America. As he read the Gospels, he
saw a different Jesus: one who got angry at injustice, who built
community rather than destroying it, who wasn’t afraid of hard
questions and who loved the outsider and the sinner. He began to see
a Jesus who didn’t teach conformity but who transformed people and
empowered them to make changes in their lives. So he wrote his thesis
with a complete analysis of the church school education in his
neighborhood and proposals for change.
His thesis focuses on Christian education for the adolescents in the
area where he grew up and has pastored. In 85 pages, he offers
new teaching methods that encourage creative, analytical thinking,
develop self-initiative, and engage Christian faith with the real
problems the teens are facing. Then, he expands their narrow view of
spirituality to embrace all of life, including our relationship
with God, with ourselves, with one another, and with the creation. It
calls us to celebrate life on this earth in all its fullness as we
see God present all around us and calling us to transform our reality
with God’s power.
think I am right to boast about this?
gratitude for your friendship and support,
Matching fund opportunity April
would like to give to my support, your gift can be doubled!
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