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Posts from October 2011

Turkey Earthquake: Delivery

Success! We made it all the way to eastern Turkey and delivered the goods - hundreds of blankets, baby food, warm winter clothes and other items donated by kind people (mainly Kurdish) people in Antalya.

The team: Selchuk, who kindly navigated and translated for us, Priscilla from Germany (Jesus Freaks) and me.


Turkey earthquake 2 480

We were a little worried about getting mobbed like some other trucks here. But they had set up a distribution center so it was much more organized and less anarchic than we feared.

Earthquake turkey 1After the delivery, we got a little lost. Many roads were blocked off and we ended up driving through the most devastated areas including the city of Ercis.

Earthquake flattened house

More soon.

Transporting Blankets for Turkish Earthquake

Turkey: Today we are loading up the truck with blankets and warm winter clothes that have been donated by Turks in the Antalya area. The drive to Van and surrounding cities in the earthquake zone is 1400kms which should take about 23 hours to drive. Family will stay here. I might be gone a while. Appreciate prayers and thoughts.

Maggie turk

The situation is bad. It's freezing cold at night and thousands of families are homeless. Report here [PDF] We need to raise some money for the earthquake efforts, and in particular enough diesel money to make these trips . If you want to donate, [and be the first one] here are the details for bank transfer.

"Turkish Earthquake Relief"

Community Development Initiatives, 3300 Bell Rd.,Montgomery, Alabama, 36116-1345,

RBC Centura Bank,CDI – Gateway, Account #521-0023545, Routing #053100850

The CDI tax id number is 20-8961085.


Earthquake in Turkey. Have truck. Will travel.

YES we are in Turkey. NO we are not affected by the earthquake. Thanks for all your emails and tweets.

The earthquake is devastating. Over 200 dead. Pakistan sources suggest 1000 dead. Numbers will rise because there are hundreds missing and many are trapped under rubble.


(Photo: Reuters/Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency. HT: Christian Post)

Turkey is a huge country and we are near Antalya, far from the affected areas around Van and Ercis.

Earthquake near van turkey

Pray for those still alive to be found and rescued. Town mayor Zulfikar Arapoglu appealed for help. "We need urgent aid, we need medics," he said.The Red Crescent have 100 personnel working to rescue people. The army have sent in help. A tent city has been set up in Ercis stadium.

What can we do?

Well, we have a strong 4x4 truck in Antalya and could transport about 5 tons of essential items this week if we needed to. We are only in Turkey for another 2 weeks so we cant do anything long term. But if a group out there needs us or our truck, let me know. tallskinnykiwi at gmail dot com

USA Today, BBC, Guardian, Christian Post

Resourcing Missional Entrepreneurs (without creating charity cases)

Prague. Yesterday I spoke to a group of Christian business professionals and Foundation leaders from USA about how to resource missional entrepreneurs in Europe in a sustainable way, ie, without creating eternal charity cases. These people, all of them very friendly,  are part of a European tour organized by Fred Smith of and Lee Behar of The Maclellan Foundation.

image for the gathering presentation

I talked a little about what we have been doing in the past ten years in Europe and some of the best practices we have observed from our collaborators. In hindsight, I thought the presentation was a little too heavy on the strategic side and lacked some warm human stories. . . . Oh well. After I spoke, my good friend Sasa Flek shared about the Bible21 project which was excellent.

But here is my presentation. And if you happened to be in the audience, then please accept my humblest apologies.

Largest capital flight since the Exodus?

The Exodus provided Bob Marley with one of his greatest songs but the actual event in Egypt, which occurred around (1312 BCE), some cost the country some serious coin. When the persecuted Hebrews left Egypt, they took took gold, silver, clothes, as well as significant human resources.

And now it's happening again! Not with the Hebrews, mind you, but the Coptic Christians who are fleeing the country.

Bob marley exodus

According to one source, $US500 million leaves Egypt each week, a potentially fatal siphonage that started with the Revolution earlier this year. I am curious to know how much of that money is connected to the flight of persecuted Coptic Christians.

So I asked Wally, one of my Christian friends who lives in Cairo, to give me the skinny.


TSK: Wally, I know a lot of wealthy businesspeople are leaving Egypt, and some foreign investment is drying up, but how much of that capital flight is Coptic Christians leaving Egypt to escape persecution from fundamentalists?

WALLY: My guess is much of the capital flight is in the form of Christians who are leaving Egypt at a fast rate...because they were traditionally blocked from government and the military, Egypt's believers moved into business...their strong values of honesty and the like saw them thrive and dominate the sector (such is the Christian reputation for being above corruption that believers usually have the job handling finances in government and private companies/agencies)...anyway, as they relocate they're taking their finances with them.

TSK: What's up with all this violence?

WALLY: I think you are all aware that anti-Coptic attacks have happened with increasing frequency in recent years - and things have accelerated post-revolution...with 80 dead [this year] and multiple churches attacked and destroyed in many parts of the nation (including Cairo)...a recent attack in Aswan saw the local governor side with the attackers prompting sit-ins by local Copts in Aswan demanding his removal...the protestors in Cairo were targeting the state tv offices because, in addition to the church attacks, state tv has been broadcasting anti-Coptic propaganda which the Copts say is inciting hatred against them...

TSK: I heard the Copts were armed also . .

WALLY: The official story is that some Copts were armed and shot at police, killing three and prompting the army to be called in...the armoured personnel carriers driven into the crowds were driven by people who 'stole' them and not soldiers...and no live ammo was fired at protestors...26 died (including the three military police)...

TSK: But . . .

WALLY: But . ..  the truth (as confirmed by video footage, photographs of the scene, eyewitness accounts from independent Western witnesses and locals of both Coptic and Muslim stripe and physical evidence such as bullet casings) is: closer to 52 died (and likely 0 soldiers) with many bodies delivered directly to families and not taken to the Coptic hospital and some bodies apparently dumped in the Nile to hide the scale of the ammo was fired in addition to blanks, snipers were used (given very accurate head shots in many shot dead), the APCs were driven by soldiers (don't know if it was a direct order but I suspect so) as evidenced by video footage showing soldiers looking out of the top of the APCs and one soldier whose APC stopped in its tracks trying to get out and being set upon by angry Copts (after he killed some of their number) only to be protected by a Coptic priest (in a powerful christlike act) and led to safety...also, state TV broadcast a message saying Copts were killing soldiers and loyal Muslims should come to the scene and help the troops...some responded and Copts who found themselves on the wrong side of the groupings of crowds were set upon by the Muslim civvies and taken into side alleys to be dealt with (fatally, we can presume)...

TSK: So how can we pray for you all?

WALLY: I went to a prayer meeting last night and it was good: we prayed for believers - that they would not desire revenge (before the attacks one Copt told me his people were ALREADY so angry they believed they needed to take matters into their own hands), and for the national military council running the country.

TSK: Hey Wally, I would like to talk more. And maybe some readers have questions for you also. Talk soon. Thanks for your perspective.


Related: TSK on Coptic shooting and meeting Bishop Damian and I am following Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad - he just passed day 50 of his hunger strike and his family are worried.


ABCD: Association of Born-again Church Dropouts

"People leave the church as turtles or skunks. . .

Turtles crawl quietly out the back door, without bringing attention to the protest of their silent withdrawal.

Skunks leave at the front, where everyone can see them, where they can let everyone know how badly they will be missed,how they should have been listened to. They leave a smell behind that lasts a lifetime. A stinky reminder of the decision that divided."

From My Gripes about the House Church Movement. Andrew Jones (circa 2002)

There is a discussion about one of my old house church articles called "House Churches have no sex appeal" on the ABCD Facebook group (The Association of Born-Again Church Dropouts.) I thought they might like to read the turtle article also so i left a link to it. More  . . .

"Despite the vocal crowd who worship at the Cult of the New, Jesus is not infatuated with new wineskins. He likes both. But He is a connoisseur of vintage wine.

Mature wine.

Wine that has sat under time, ripened, grown, perfected under the conditions. Wine like this is achieved only by permitting the new containers and preserving the old ones. Let the old wineskins be preserved. If you squirt fresh wine into them, they will burst. Spill. Jesus doesn't like spillage. Jesus likes mature wine.

So we need wineskins also. Old wine in the old wineskins. New wine in the new wineskins.

Whatever. Whatever keeps it. Contains it. Preserves it. Gives it room to move and expand. Grow into what it is destined to be and securing it from disease.

Both. Freedom and safety. Creativity and security. Bubbly and still.

The heights of exploding taste and the depths of softened character.

Flavor and body. Cherries and oak. Cheekiness and gracefulness.

The wabi and the sabi. The vigor of youth and the wisdom of age.

Both, says Jesus. Both.

Both will be preserved.

But here is the challenge: To allow the new without threatening the old. To preserve the old without hindering the new. Those without wisdom choose one but not both. And the result is skunks and turtles."

Andrew Jones, link

Choosing leaders wisely

Seeking david dont settle for saul

This is part of the presentation I am working on for next week in Prague. Sometimes we choose poorly based on appearance. Sometimes its the law of preferential attraction that forces our hand and we end up settling for the familiar. It takes faith to notice Galilee over Jerusalem, David over Saul, Jacob over Esau. But choosing character over ability is essential for long term success.

Skills can be learned but integrity is earned.

Related: Read my article entitled "What did you go out to see?"

Donated kindles and iPads

Hey. If you have an old model Kindle or an outdated iPad, and you need a good reason to upgrade, here's that excuse you are looking for:

Our kids are homeschooled and lugging around paper books is sooooooo early 21st Centrury. We want to migrate to ebooks and ereaders and reduce the books in our backpacks.

Can you help us? Let me know if you want to donate one and I will give you the address to send it. Thanks.

Dan Peek, America, and great music

[Update: Great comments below from Dan's brother, Tom]

Right now I am listening to America, the band. They are one of my favorite bands of all time. I am a BIG FAN of their hugely successful songs from the early 70's including . .

Ventura Highway (one of my personal favorites, a song with incredible accoustic guitar riffs and the one song I insist on playing when I am in California)

Sister Golden Hair

A Horse With No Name

Tin Man

I Need You.

Muskrat Love . . . no . . maybe not that one.

Lonely People

Dan peek

America was a band formed in London by military kids who had American dads and British mums. They did really well as a band until one of their key musicians, Dan Peek, the guy behind bringing them all together as a band, somehow, by some weird set of circumstances, became a follower of Jesus and was not able to integrate the life of a rock musician with his new life.

So in 1977 Dan left the band and America never quite reached their previous fame.

In July this year, Dan Peek passed away. He leaves behind him some of the best kick-ass music of the 70's.

Dan went on to write more music and even had a number one hit in the Contemporary Christian Music world and a album on Pat Boone's label entitled "All Things are Possible". You can access some of that music on his site.

I am glad he made his own way but somehow I am saddened that he did not find a way to be a musician in a famous secular rock band AND a follower of Jesus at the same time.

Wish I could rewind that one and play an alternative scenario . . .

Know what I mean?

Check out Dan's book: An American Band - The American Story