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The end of an amazing year of adventures

The World Racers are finishing their debrief in South Africa. What an incredible year it has been for them! I love reading their blogs. So far, Kim Kinsley, Laura Frankenfield, Cathy Stolzfus, and Chad Mast have posted their final blogs. Here is part of Chad’s: This year has been a year tha…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

The World Racers are finishing their
debrief in South Africa. What an incredible year it has been for them!
I love reading their blogs. So far,
Kim Kinsley, Laura Frankenfield, Cathy Stolzfus, and Chad Mast have posted their final blogs. Here is part of Chad’s:

This year has been a year that is
basically the beginning of my life. I have been through 26 years of ups
and downs, tears, joy, happiness, relationships, college and a career.
But, my 27th year will go down as the year that the veil to
the world was lifted off of my face. I was so sheltered in my life, I
didn’t realize the extent of what our world faces. I didn’t see the
true need for people to step outside of their boxes and take hold of
the calling that the Lord has for their lives.

When we were in India, Dr. Samuel
Thomas (founder of the orphanage) said something that I will never
forget. He said that the Western church is a dedicated church. They
will go to church on Sundays, cell groups during the week and read
their bibles.

He then said something that will challenge me for the
rest of my life. He said that the church of the East is a surrendered

They live in a life of persecution, they see people die because
of what they believe and they surrender to the will that God has for
their lives.

year has been an ongoing challenge to realize how to be surrendered.
How do I know what my purpose is in life? How can I possibly make a
difference in this life? God has given me a glimpse into this world as
to where he wants me to begin to find out.

He has shown me the need for
the gospel in Mexico. He has let me touch families that have suffered
from hurricanes in Guatemala. He has brought me into Buddhist monks’
lives to show them the destructive path of Hell that they are
following. He has let me live amongst the lost at a Buddhist monastery
in Thailand. He has shown me the life of persecuted orphans in India.
He has shown me a revival in the Catholic church of Poland. He has
shown me a love for Christ in the Coptic Orthodox church of Egypt. He
has shown me hundreds crying out for Christ to come into their lives in
Uganda and He has shown me what AIDS is doing to the entire continent
of Africa while in South Africa.

I will never be the same. I never
want to be the same. Why would I want to live a life that is not on
fire for the Lord Jesus Christ? Why would I not want to do what Jesus
did while he was on earth and pour love on to people? Why would I not
want to show the only way for us to get to Heaven. I am the way the
truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through the Son
(John 14:6).

Why would I not want to tell the world that the Lord wants
everyone to repent and be saved? Why wouldn’t I want to share to the
world that they are being lied to by a fallen Angel that is condemned
to Hell and he wants to take everyone with him? Why wouldn’t I want to
share that the only way to get to heaven is to be born again in the
Spirit of Jesus Christ? To accept him as your personal savior of your
life and to be rid of the sinful lives that everyone on this planet has
been born into.

We have been lied to in this life
and have been told that money, sex, power and materialism will make us
happy in life.

I am
called to a life that shows that there is a hope in this life. A hope
that is called Jesus Christ and if you ask Him to come into your life,
then you can live a life that has true meaning.

That is the life that I am called to. I
praise God that He loves me and that He has shown me the beginning of a
life like no other.

I can’t wait to see what God is going to do next
year on the World Race 2007.

Comments (29)

  • Chad,
    Wow! What an awesome way you have with words. You have become such a fantastic writer. You are truly a man of God. God bless you, my son.

    Love Mom
    p.s. Can’t wait to see you.

  • Chad, I applaud you in your actions during the past 12 months. I have loosely tracked your team’s progress and have been encouraged by some of your postings. However your comments shock me.

    You Write: “He (God) has brought me into Buddhist monk’s lives to show them the destructive path of Hell that they are following. He has let me live amongst the lost at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand.”


    “Why wouldn’t I want to share that the only way to get to heaven is to be born again in the Spirit of Jesus Christ? To accept him as your personal savior of your life and to be rid of the sinful lives that everyone on this planet has been born into.”

    Like you, I have had the fortunate opportunity to travel extensively throughout the developing world and these experiences have shown me that I have much to learn from other religious traditions and more specifically that Western Christianity does not maintain a monopoly of “Truth”. To state that YOU “showed” Buddhist Monks that their spiritual lives will “lead them to hell” reeks of Western ethnocentric arrogance (please re-read about the consequences associated with “White Man’s Burden” during the colonial era of history). Having said that, during your time of debrief I encourage you to spend a large amount of time before a world map, contemplating the ways in which geographical proximity play a determinative role in an individual’s spiritual formation. Having said that, I find it troublesome to believe that YOUR Western commercialized faith is more valid that the ascetic life-styles of your Buddhist counterparts. Moreover, I encourage you to try to maintain the posture of a student rather than a “teacher” when interacting with people of other faith traditions.

    Next, to believe that being “born again” is the only way to achieve salvation is simply foolish. Though there are porous scriptural texts that can be used to support your claim, I see it as imperative that you gain a better understanding of the religious of the world. More poignantly, by believing that only “born again” Christians will enter the Kingdom of Heaven” you indirectly state that over 1.3 billion Catholics will Parish in Hell. This is simply nonsensical. Moreover, please know that both Gandhi and Mother Theresa do not fit into your myopic definition of salvation.

    Lastly, as a Christian myself, I eagerly look forward to fellowshipping with Jews, Hindus, Christians and other people of different faith traditions in Heaven.

  • Seth,

    Amazing disparity between the humility and surrender of Chad versus the self righteousness and pride of Kevin. Thankfully the Lord has patience with us all.

  • Scott,

    You typify the problem of the neo-conservative evangelical movement. Instead of critically engaging with my thoughts and reaching a legitimated conclusion of your own, you mind numbingly echo superficial critiques/platitudes espoused by members of your ideological tradition. Scott, homogony of thought painfully destructive. I am disheartened by how easily you judge and dismiss the objections of those who think differently from you…xenophobic fear I suppose. This is not a character trait that you should pass on to the next generation.

  • Kev,

    I pray to God, in the name of the only path to heaven set forth by Jesus Christ, that your cataractic IQ and ego don’t prevent your spiritual eyes from seeing the truth. God loves you and your brain would be a great asset to the army of God in today’s age. In Jesus name, Amen.

  • our faith is absolutely foolish. we need to understand this. God has chosen the foolish to shame the wise. We can’t try to sound intelligent, call ourselves a christian, and not believe that our God is 100% who he says he is. Jesus (who, I believe was jewish, palestinian?, not a westerner, Christ, not a christian, or american), raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, sitting on the throne, and the only way, truth, and life- why have a ‘christianish’ belief system, its all or nothing. It is not our faith, it is who we have faith in.

  • oops. I meant to specify that the other scott on this is not me. I do agree with him in praising God for his patience, grace, mercy…because I need it so bad.

  • As I shared with another individual, it is IMPERATIVE that when you critique the thoughts of another individual that you understand the message that is being articulated. Please re-read what i wrote and you will see that i did not label the Christian faith as “foolish” rather I find the myopic religious-right understanding of salvation to be foolish, as well the vast majority of the Academic community.

  • “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

  • Kevin,

    I did not try to say that you thought the christian faith was foolish. I am stating that the christian faith IS foolish. That almost every part of it, as I grow and try to understand it, is pure foolishness.

    That Jesus would take a group of basically uneducated and poor people to carry his message was foolish. That Jesus stirred up and pissed off the righteous and religious was foolish. Jesus got crucified for a reason.

    He rose from the dead. He ascended to heaven. To actually believe this stuff is foolish. People though Paul had gone insane. What about John’s Revelation? Foolishness.

    For me to state that I believe all this makes me a fool. The story of Jonah? Jesus walking on water? All these stories- foolishness, except for the number of eye witnesses. The number of people who died, who were tortured, who lost all they had, because they actually believed they had seen this.

    I can’t believe all these people would take a lie like this to the grave. I have never heard of a mass hallucination either. I have hallucinated (due to hunger) before, and no one else saw what I saw.

    So now I know you did not say this is foolishness, I am saying it, that I believe this foolishness and am staking my whole family’s eternity on it.

    Now your point of our western ethnocentrism is right on the mark. I have a lot of trouble with people who profit from christianity, or people who gain worldly power from this faith (politics etc.). I don’t believe american christianity is what Jesus was preaching and living. Jesus said we WILL suffer for the faith, and we as christians here in america are surprised when someone even questions us.

    I also believe we will be very surprised by who we see in heaven and who won’t be there. God is the judge of that, some of us (I personally always think I am right, until someone shows me where I am wrong) pretend to have all the answers (and would rather have that argument than help a poor person or actually sacrifice for someone else), but I know I am just scratching what is actually there.

    Kevin, it is obvious to me that you are on the pilgrimage also, and don’t quit until you have found Absolute Truth and peace for your soul. I am determined to do the same. Scott Molgard

  • I found great encouragement for us all in 1 Tim. 4:11-16. This is the Apostle Paul instucting Timothy,

    “Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

    Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. (like in WR training!)

    Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

  • Wow Kevin, that is really harsh!, don’t you think. Actually Mother Teresa very much loved Jesus as her Savior and knew Him intimately as Christ!

  • This will be my last response because it has become obvious that all those who read this blog do not wish to engage in a meaningful dialogue, but rather simply choose to spew out Bible verses without any reflection. Having said that, I wish to make three last points:

    1. When using biblical literature to support ones argument the individual must pose the rhetorical question, “How normative is the message that is being articulated within this passage?” (i.e. when Paul states that women shouldn’t speak in church…is this exhortation aimed solely at his intended audience or should we incorporate this practice in our own religious lives? The answer is obviously no) Moreover we must remember that each letter/book written in the bible had an intended historical audience and that the author had a specific agenda. Though I applaud all of you for your ability to quickly recite popular biblical passages (in fact they are the exact same ones every other evangelical has used when supporting their argument), I would encourage each of you to individually develop your own Christology/Theology. As an outsider to this sect of faith, I find it so boring to speak to evangelical Christians because you simply parrot one another. What a boring thought life? I promise it is not a sin to think differently or to ask questions.

    2. Next, though the Bible is home to many theological truths, I would encourage you all to incorporate extra-biblical literature into your spiritual lives (Max Lucado and the popularist genre doesn’t count). The writings of Henri Nouwen, Karl Rahner and Gustavo Gutierrez have played a formative role in my understanding of the Gospel and the ways in which it can be applied in our own society.

    3. Drop the aggressive disposition. Though this may be acceptable in your homogonous communities, people of different faith traditions not only view this disposition with reservations but see it simply as arrogance. Moreover, to believe that YOU, the evangelical church of America have a monopoly of Truth is STUPID. I use this word intentionally. Neither I, nor you, nor Buddhist Monks (who by the way don’t even believe in the concept of hell Chad), nor Jews nor secular humanist have the full understanding of Truth and Love. However, we all can learn from one another and this is an important point. By naively believing that your radicalized form of faith is superior to everything else prevents you all from tapping into the wealth of resources found within these different religious traditions. Scott, as a parent you should not be teaching your children to fear every other faith or even worse, to see everyone person of a different religious tradition as a subservient human being who is in need of conversion and salvation. Rather your children would be best suited if you would model for them the posture of spiritual humility. (i.e. what can the Muslim practice of Ramadan teach me about devotion and how can I apply it to my own faith practice?)

  • great discussions…one thing i fear most in life is people who minister in the name of a god and leave no room for the gray areas that abound in all religions. i too think we will be surprised by who is in heaven. i think alot of missionaries need to be released from guilt based motivation for “loving” people. people are not a means to an end. they are the end.

  • Kevin, you said you would not comment futher, but I couldn’t resist further comment.

    1.) I have no children, just a wife, and a dog (which is the toughest part of leaving). I am planning on having a big family, and will do everything I possibly can to teach them the absolute truth of the gospel.

    2.) I did not use bible verses to support a discussion with someone who doubts the validity of the bible. I just shared my personal belief, why I believe the gospel. The bible as history has been shown to be more accurate than any other history of the times. (that is my understanding from Lee Strobel ‘The Case for Christ’). The very beginnings of christianity support Jesus resurrection and ascension.

    3.) I am not sure where you came up with “subservient human being”, I am guessing that comes from your life experience, some form of projection?

    4.) You seem to have a strong personality, and have resisted attempts from others to change how you think. I just wonder why you don’t seem to agree with ‘conversion and salvation’, do you believe people from other cultures are unable to make that decision on their own? Maybe they are hungry for what only Jesus can do, and have grown tired of their own religious practices. You seem to think it is important for western christians to learn from these other cultures and religions, shouldn’t you also hope these other cultures and religions receive this same education, that they have an equal opportunity to judge for themselves?

    5.)It is my understanding that a true follower of Jesus must become the servant of all (not make servants of all). I have strong 9-11 stereotypes in my head of what a strong follower of Mohammed truly believes. Although, because I know muslims, I realize it IS just a stereotype.
    I also wish we as christians were as pious as followers of another faith, but when you compare the monks of one faith with the ‘lay’ of another, this is unfair.
    If we actually fasted in the fashion of muslims and hindus, perhaps the results of our faith would be a little different.

    6.) How much does what we believe actually affect what is? You state that monks don’t believe in hell, does this make hell less true? Because I believe in hell, does this make hell true?

    7.) If there is no God, then none of this matters. I am betting there is a God, and am trying to follow what matters to him (however poorly I do it).
    Scott Molgard

  • “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

    This “popular biblical passage” has been brought to you by http://www.biblegateway.org. Technology BABY! Enabling boring evangelical Christians’ “ability to quickly recite popular biblical passages” in the 21st century.

  • …Praise Jesus….

    Your story and storys from all you guys are soemthing that really made me sit bac and just read it and see how HUGE our God is, how He works, move, care about you, about us and how AWESOME HE IS.

    I dont have words to say anything really about all this i saw and i had been reading about-how is imposible to explane everything that God is thats who is inposible to say something on all amazing things He did on World Race to you, to anybody or through you.

    God bless you man 😉

  • Kevin, I just wanted to say thank you for your input. I am using what you wrote to challenge my youth group. I believe in the gospel and I believe it is true, however I also believe we have much to learn from people, cultures and religions all over the world. I also agree that often Christians go around in the world not seeking to convert people to Christianity, but to change all that is unique in their culture and traditions. Thank you for your perspective. You gave me a lot to think about.

  • Hey, I’m late in jumping in on this, though I’ve been reading the conversation for a while now.

    Kevin – In seeking to understand, can I ask you a couple questions? (I know you’re opting out because you think people are reacting without thinking for themselves – being “mere thinkers” instead of “men thinking” – but would you mind to answer?)

    What do you (personally) think salvation is/entails?

    Do I understand you correctly if I say that you believe your definition of salvation is true for you, but not necessarily the only valid definition of salvation?

  • I just wanted you to know that I was very touched by your message. I am with you: Why wouldn’t I want to surrender my all to serve the King of Kings and lead others to serve Him too?
    May God continue to bless you, brother.

    See you in paradise,

    Your sister in the kingdom,

  • Hannah,

    Thank you for honest inquiry. Though I am still working out the details of my personal understanding of salvation, I have reached a conclusion on what salvation is not and areas in which I know it needs to grow.

    First, Salvation is not what is preached on the pulpit or found in a tract. Salvation is not only gained by White, middle-class, Evangelical republicans. Salvation is not obtained through a five minute prayer led by some white evangelical missionary. Salvation is not merited through homophobic tendencies or through the belittling of other faith traditions.

    Having said that I do believe that central to this concept of salvation is the idea of liberation, not only from the spiritual consequences of sin but also the physical consequences suffered by those living in the Margins of society (for a more outlined understanding of this concept, read John Sobrino and Gustavo Gutierrez). Moreover, I believe that there is significant scriptural evidence within the Bible to support the “preferential option for the poor” and that this is a prerequisite (in some form) to salvation. Moreover, I do believe that Salvation is extended to individuals who do not explicitly express their faith through church attendance or even labeling themselves a “Christian” but rather these “Anonymous Christians” enunciate their faith in Christ Jesus through their actions and disposition (for a better understanding of this read Karl Rahner). Moreover, I believe the truth of God’s truth, which was fully actualized in the sacrificial death of Christ, is not solely found on Sundays in white suburban churches, nor in Wednesday night small groups, but rather is best captured in situations of depravity (refugee camps, AIDS clinics, etc.) and no concept of salvation is valid unless it resonates, in a meaningful/tangible way, with individuals suffering in such situations. Lastly I believe that salvation requires humility. Evangelicals are so annoying when they parade their arrogant mantra of “because of said this prayer I am going to Heaven and unless you don’t you are going to hell”. This epitomizes the antithesis of salvation. Salvation is inclusive not exclusive and is defined by diversity. Knowing this, I am confident that there will be millions of people of different faith traditions, sexual orientations, ideological backgrounds, whom, though didn’t explicit enunciate their faith in Christ through religious practice, their actions/disposition exemplified their Christian faith.

  • Kevin, I soooo agree with everything you just said except for the last sentence. The saying “can’t have your cake and eat it too” comes to mind.

  • Dave,

    By disagreeing with the last statement you are negating your support for the first section of my argument. Please resolve this tension for me with an outlined response of your own thoughts on this subject matter.

  • Don’t have time for outlined responses at the moment, but I will say this: The problem I have with the last sentence is that intentions without actions do not provide any evidence of commitment. I strongly believe commitment has a major role in all of this. Have a good one.

  • Okay here’s five thoughts:

    1) I believe that when Jesus said “let the children come to me for theirs is the kingdom of God” that he was exhibiting the inclusiveness of salvation.

    2) I believe that all people have the choice to follow God. I believe that “pro-choice” is a very appropriate political label and that “pro-life” is also a choice – the right one.

    3) I believe that salvation is by faith alone and that good works come after a person has been transformed by the Holy Spirit of God. The good deeds are a fruit of the conversion. The good deeds are not at the beginning of the process but at the end. The good deeds are not a pre-requirement but a necessary and evident output.

    4) I believe that Christians are not enslaved by the law thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus. I do, however, believe in sanctification which evolves us to become like our Creator so that we may become more intimate with Him.

    5) Finally, I don’t think that just because some people preach down, condescendingly, use insensitive, harsh, tactics such as guilt, judgement and condemnation, that followers of Jesus should be all lumped together and criticized the same way. That is an unfair assessment and an inaccurate generalization. I believe that Jesus reached out to people with love and the power of God which is one and the same. And we should follow His lead.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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