Used Books

So I stumbled upon a cluster of used book stores today, all selling English books. I started with the store that looked most promising. When I finished with that store and went to checkout, I found I had already exceeded the wallet’s supply. Used paper backs in English are not as cheap in Thailand as they are in the States.

Nevertheless, hooray for books!

I didn’t find any Merton

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags:

A Child of the Northeast

I just finished a novel set right in the province of Ubon. It was written by Kampoon Boontawee, a native of the Isaan region of

Thailand. The book won some awards back in 1976 when it was written. I read a translation by Susan Fulop Kepner with a copywrite date of 1994.

The novel takes place in a rural village of yesteryear. Despite the lapse in time, the things I saw in this book were much the same as the things I’ve seen when I visit the small villages outside of Ubon city. Even in the areas where things have changed, this book did much to inform me of who the Isaan people are culturally, spiritually, etc.


For my readers who are readers and who would like to know more about the people where I am living, I recommend A Child of the Northeast by Kampooon Boontawee, translated by Susan Fulop Kepner.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: ,

The Great Omission

To borrow Steve Saint’s expansion of an old analogy, rather than feeding the world spiritual fish, I want to “Distribute spiritual fish samples and then train all those who want more to fish for themselves AND teach them to teach others to fish.”

I won’t claim that this is the best quote from The Great Omission, Saint’s book that I just finished reading, but I will say that you should read the book. Perhaps part of the book’ allure was my engineering mind’s connection with his good number pictures. Saint’s effective use of stories that were both entertaining and illustrative also contributed to the excellence of the book. But the bottom line of the book, its driving force, was that the wealthy western church needs to facilitate rather than hinder ministry by indigenous believers.

The wealthy west needs to stop nurturing dependence. Rather than working to give people what they need on a limited scale, we should focus on making it possible for people everywhere to acquire what they need. Rather than building a church for one group of people (and in so doing discouraging all other churches in the area from sacrificial building projects, encouraging them to wait for the infinite wealth of the west) we should find ways to bolster their economy and we should engineer new, more efficient means of building churches.

Steve Saint told a story of one church built for the Waodani. They didn’t know to whom the church belonged (because it had been built by someone else), so they didn’t know who to ask for permission to repair it. It therefore fell to pieces. Further, they could not reproduce the initial grandeur of the donated church, and therefore ceased building their own churches.

The west needs to come to grips with the reality that the broad education we value is not practical in all settings, that requiring it prevents work from being reproducible among the indigenous believers. Practical, focused training may be much more valuable. Steve Saint was able to get practical training in dentistry for a few Waodani. They have not been through all of dentist school, but they now can do much more than just pull a tooth. They can meet a very felt need among their people.

The church needs to think in terms of multiplying the kingdom rather than adding to the kingdom. Multiplication starts slower, but is much more effective in the long run. Saint uses the analogy of choosing whether to accept $100,000 a day for a month (31 days) or $.01 doubling everyday for the same month. Believe it or not, the penny doubled every day has a better return. On the last day alone the incoming funds total $10,737,418.24. The last day alone is greater than the $3,100,000 received over the whole month through addition.

If we want the world to know, we must reproduce a reproducible gospel among the world. We cannot simply add to our numbers.

Written by Micah in: Thoughts | Tags:

G Mac

Wednesday we went to Huntly, the birthplace of George MacDonald. We saw his birthplace, his childhood home, his church, and his school. We also saw some buildings that make appearances in some of his fictional works.

We then went to Cullen, the setting for Malcolm (one of my favorite George MacDonald books). It made me want to spend a long time exploring the area, finding things that reminded me of the book. It made me wish I’d read the book more recently so I could place things better.

Nathanael and I decided to walk home from Cullen along the coast. The first two miles were beautiful. The coast was rocky and again made me want to spend time exploring, but there wasn’t a lot of extra time, and I was dressed in flip flops and shorts (not having planned to do a lot of walking). Among other exciting sites, we saw dolphins.

The last mile or so was still pretty, but the walk got less enjoyable. The little narrow shelf between cliffs and sea disappeared so we had  to walk along the top of the cliffs. I didn’t know God had invented so many different prickly plants. I had to tread very carefully, and even so, I bled a little. Silly me and my flip flops and shorts.

Written by Micah in: United Kingdom | Tags: , , , ,

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