intensely trivial

A plug for Perspectives

In some of the circles in which I run, it’s not popular to make the following appeal, but I’m going to do it nonetheless. I want you (yes, you) to consider taking a class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Especially if you are a person who takes Jesus and the Bible seriously, I think it would be a good idea for you to take this class.

What is Perspectives? It is a high-quality, one-semester course about how God’s purposes have progressed over the course of human history. For about 35 years, the U.S. Center for World Mission, a nondenominational, parachurch organization, has organized Perspectives classes around the country. Local Christians line up speakers to cover the subjects in the curriculum. The content is substantive and comprehensive, and the readings are of high quality. It is not a guilt-based missions course relying on the strength of emotional appeals. (Emotional person though I am, I stubbornly resist emotional manipulation of the churchy kind.)

I took Perspectives when I had an infant. I did my homework while she napped during the day, and I attended class while her daddy put her to bed at night. And then, because I found the subject matter so convincing, I helped coordinate the class for two more years. Why am I telling you that? I guess because I want you to know that you can afford the time and the effort it takes. And if you don’t have the money for it, write me a letter, and I’ll sponsor you by holding a bake sale or something. There’s money for this kind of thing, if you really want it.

If you live in Manhattan, KS, like I do, you can still sign up for the local Perspectives course, which starts next Tuesday night (1/13). Here are the details. If you live somewhere else in the U.S., you can find a nearby class by checking the Perspectives website. You can even attend the first class free, to see if you’re interested! Some class sites even have childcare, if that’s a hindrance for you. You can get college credit for it, too — or not.

Taking this course brought about lots of good change in my life. Here are some of the lasting high points for me:

1. I finally got some good answers as to why evangelism matters — and it’s not just “All-these-sinners-are-gonna-go-to-hell-if-you-don’t-tell-them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

2. At the end of that semester, we opened our home to our first live-in international friend, Isabella, from Italy. She was a blessing in more ways that I can tell. She is still a dear member of our family. And she was the first in a still-continuing stream of internationals who have lived with us for just a few days up to a few years. Our home is bigger than midwestern USA, and I love that. I love that my children have experienced more cultures than just midwestern America.

3. The Perspectives course introduced some longterm, wild adventure into my life (not that it was boring before, but it reached a new level). Reading the news is intensely interesting. God is intensely fascinating. The class helped me see a greater purpose for my life, really a cause subsuming all the other causes that light my fire.

Please consider taking this class. I think you’ll agree that it is well worth your while — and God’s.


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