See the top rated post in this thread. Click here

Results 1 to 11 of 11

Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church discuss Hints for missionaries to Melanesia in the The Church forums; Hints to Missionaries to Melanesia, by Walter G. Ivens (1907) A fascinating manual from 100 years ago for missionaries going to Melanesia. What has changed ...

  1. #1
    Pergamum's Avatar
    Pergamum is offline. Ordinary Guy (TM)
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    14,997

    Hints for missionaries to Melanesia

    Hints to Missionaries to Melanesia, by Walter G. Ivens (1907)

    A fascinating manual from 100 years ago for missionaries going to Melanesia.

    What has changed since then and what would NOT be in a manual today that was included then and what did they miss that we would have included?
    Pergamum


    "If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
    -- David Livingstone

  2. #2
    AThornquist's Avatar
    AThornquist is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    6,731
    That is an interesting manual. I'm just wondering why he didn't include instructions on how to poll the community to see what type of church they wanted. Ugh and unfortunately my thoughts are shallow right now since I am greatly fatigued, but I'll respond to some of what I read.


    Clothes. As a rule the Clergy do not wear white when attending Chapel, but white duck clothes are frequently worn at other times. It will probably be found that black can be worn at most times with comfort. For field work, cotton or flannel or cellular shirts are worn, and rough trousers, khaki or other, with a wide leather belt. A leather watch-pocket is attached to the belt. Ordinary hats can be worn, but a Panama straw hat is useful.
    This portion is quite minor, but I wonder about having certain standards, such as for clothing, that can become almost dogmatic in some places. Do the missionaries impose their standard of dress on the natives for chapel? By this standard style of dress, do the natives feel any pressure to dress more like the missionaries in order to dress "Christianly"? What comes to my mind is certain African groups that dress like Western businessmen on Sunday even though it's 100+ degrees and that style of dress is completely foreign to what their culture normally looks like, or at least used to look like. When natives adopt Western standards for everyday life, eventually the extremes may happen, such as conducting Sunday services in nearly the same way as a Western church does, singing Western hymns in English, etc. My current understanding is that sometimes far too much of the West is associated with the Gospel, which manifests itself in missionaries of the C1 variety. I don't think this was an issue for the writer of this manual, but I am just thinking generally. Is my line of thinking off base here, Perg? I can sometimes be too reactionary, and maybe my desire to contextualize is making me recoil too much from dress standards.


    There is a Customs duty at Norfolk Island on oil, candles, tea, sugar, tobacco, fancy biscuits, but it has to be paid either in Sydney or in Auckland. To keep wine or spirits, a permit has to be obtained from the Norfolk Island doctor through the head of the Mission. No one, on arrival, would be refused to take an opened bottle of spirits ashore.
    I can't imagine the IMB including this in a missions manual.


    Honestly, I'm not sure what was included that would not be included in such a manual today. It seems like much more could be added to each chapter, especially with regard to sanitation and health. Also, the religious background and climate of Melanesia was not discussed, which I imagine would be a major area of consideration nowadays, as well as governmental and cultural movements or lack thereof. I don't recall much in the way of actual ministry instruction either, but apparently the purpose of this manual was about the practical matters of daily life and not the missionary endeavors, such as evangelism, using available literary resources (if any) in the local languages, etc. I'm probably missing a lot, but this is the best I can do at this time of night.

    ---------- Post added at 11:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:01 PM ----------

    I would also be interested to know your thoughts on the questions you asked, Perg.

  3. #3
    Bald_Brother's Avatar
    Bald_Brother is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    162
    I went through the whole thing and I saw absolutely nothing about internet access or the cost of satellite cable!

    But seriously, that is pretty interesting. I'm with Andrew on this, overall, good tips. I wouldn't say to take much out, but adding updated travel and medical/hygeine stuff would be advisable. Maybe replacing a few things as modernization has taken place (do kids still earn sixpence caring for horses and is a saddle still necessary?). I wonder, too, whether accidental westernization may be in those tips (like with the clothing) - and it would be advisable to have a section that dealt with cultural and religious awareness and some form of cultural immersion. (?)
    Last edited by Bald_Brother; 01-19-2011 at 02:26 AM. Reason: spelling error
    Ray Nearhood -
    Particular Baptist at a Presbyterian Church, Layman
    Husband of Evelyn, Father of Oren, Elijah, and Emily (Nearhood Collections)
    "You are like mouse-droppings in the pepper." - Martin Luther

  4. #4
    Pergamum's Avatar
    Pergamum is offline. Ordinary Guy (TM)
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    14,997

    A.--WITH CHRISTIANS.

    (1).--Never be in a hurry to make rules. Melanesians are generally conservative, and are very slow to see the need for an alteration in anything they have once learned, so be careful of things in the beginning, and never make a rule that is likely to be [23/24] only temporary and to be abrogated later on. Be content to endure what for the time is faulty, if by waiting a permanent good can be secured. A native is always a laudator temporis acti, and the newcomer must be prepared to hear of the virtues of his predecessors, but their loyalty to those they know is very remarkable, and they are most biddable and teachable. Any command in a school, if expressed in writing, is implicitly obeyed.

    (2).--Be firm and always fulfil a promise. From the days of Bishop G. A. Selwyn onwards, it has always been a rule that promises made to natives, even to heathen, should be religiously kept, and any decision made should be abided by. Natives have a very keen sense of justice, and are wont to repay like with like. If wrong, think it no harm to apologise.

    (3).-- There must be no favouritism. Of course, we are certain to like some more than others, but to manifest our preference will prove fatal to the character of the favourite. Natives cannot stand special favouring, and undue influence must never be exercised on a Native to make him or her develop in a way foreign to his true nature; openly to make exceptions in treatment is to foster conceit on the one side and to create jealousy on the other. Let the Melanesian Missionary study Patteson's life, realise his intense spirituality, his earnest love for, his engrossing interest in his scholars; let him be filled with a fervent desire to bring the knowledge and love of GOD to the hearts of these Natives, with a ready will to spend and be spent in the service, and then he will not err on the side of undue partiality to anyone individual, nor will he go to the other extreme and be unduly strict and severe. In all things let us seek the eternal welfare of those placed under us. Melanesians, like other native races living in the tropics, have not naturally got the power of choice and of vigorous action, of following a certain line of conduct and action because it is right. (Vide an article on "The Colour Line," by Bishop Montgomery, in "East and West," Ap., 1905.) A motive power has to be supplied to them through the influence of GOD, the Holy Spirit. The aim in the education of our scholars ought to be to lead them to the power of Duty, to the choice of Right, and to the holding of it through thick and thin. Natives are too ready to please, to be obsequious and submissive, and it is far nobler to lead them by an impartial love for their welfare, to do hard things, and to stir up the gift of GOD which is in them, than by undue notice to force them out of their true line of orderly development in Christ, and to foster an unhealthy spirit of superiority certain to cause trouble.

    (4).--Never be familiar. A Native quite understands the while man's stooping to conquer, but he has a very keen sense of what their teaching ought to be, and he expects them to show him an example of dignity. To follow Christ and to "empty" oneself is very different from being merely familiar.

    [25] (5).--Respect Native etiquette. A Native's perception is very keen and he is always inclined to give like for like. Natives are only too quick to detect flaws in manner or in bearing, and in heathen places, to disregard heathen etiquette and customs is often to court death. With all our enthusiasm for those among whom we work, we must remember that they are only human, and it is best to take a spiritual, if prosaic view of our duty, and ever to keep our calling in view, to make these natives Christian in the true meaning of the word.

    (6).--Be patient. Do not be disheartened if there are falls or lapses amongst the Native teachers, or amongst the congregations. Have a high ideal, but remember the circumstances of their lives, and if they fall, love them all the more, even while you inflict punishment. A Native quite understands being punished for wrong doing. When settling disputes, let them be as long-winded as they please. Jealousies will occur, and scandals and gossip are only too rife. In enquiries into charges and accusations, be prepared for exaggeration and for unfounded reports, and carefully wait for evidence, and sift all you hear. Read Bishop John Selwyn's Life to see how natural impatience may be overcome.

    (7).--Make your people missionary; teach them of their duty to their fellows, of the unity of their race in Christ. It is necessary to guide and supervise them, and often one has to suggest a course of action, or even at times one may have to gently compel them. Above all things, teach them to pray, and see to it that they do pray.

    What do you all think of this list of advise for dealing with local native Christians?
    Pergamum


    "If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
    -- David Livingstone

  5. #5
    TimV's Avatar
    TimV is offline. Puritanboard Botanist
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    8,198
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Natives cannot stand special favouring,
    That's the point I made about nepotism.
    Tim Vaughan
    Member, Redeemer Presbyterian, OPC,
    Santa Maria
    California
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    SolaScriptura's Avatar
    SolaScriptura is offline. Puritanboard Softy
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    7,222
    Quote Originally Posted by Pergamum View Post
    Natives cannot stand special favouring,
    Not sure I buy that. In elder based societies (like Afghanistan) the locals look down on the outsider if they don't show special deference to the elderly.

    But at the end of the day I thought that a well managed native is a happy native. Isn't that true?
    Ben
    Chaplain, US Army
    Stuttgart, Germany
    TE Potomac Presbytery, PCA
    www.thebenaddiction.com

    "Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, 'would an idiot do that?' And if they would, I do not do that thing." -- Dwight Schrute

    "I've been so thoroughly trained that I don't even need to think before I speak." -- Harry Crumb

  7. #7
    TimV's Avatar
    TimV is offline. Puritanboard Botanist
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    8,198
    It's the same in Melanesia and Africa, Ben. Elders, big men, whatever are treated with deference. But get two powerful men of equal status and give one a trade concession or a Toyota and not the other one and the gun and machetes come out.
    Tim Vaughan
    Member, Redeemer Presbyterian, OPC,
    Santa Maria
    California

  8. #8
    Pergamum's Avatar
    Pergamum is offline. Ordinary Guy (TM)
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    14,997
    Ben, this is advice for Melanesian-focused missionaries. Melanesians are a unique group.
    Pergamum


    "If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
    -- David Livingstone

  9. #9
    SolaScriptura's Avatar
    SolaScriptura is offline. Puritanboard Softy
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    7,222
    Quote Originally Posted by TimV View Post
    It's the same in Melanesia and Africa, Ben. Elders, big men, whatever are treated with deference. But get two powerful men of equal status and give one a trade concession or a Toyota and not the other one and the gun and machetes come out.
    So it's like being in prison...
    Ben
    Chaplain, US Army
    Stuttgart, Germany
    TE Potomac Presbytery, PCA
    www.thebenaddiction.com

    "Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, 'would an idiot do that?' And if they would, I do not do that thing." -- Dwight Schrute

    "I've been so thoroughly trained that I don't even need to think before I speak." -- Harry Crumb

  10. #10
    Pergamum's Avatar
    Pergamum is offline. Ordinary Guy (TM)
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    14,997
    The pushiest and strongest rise to the top.
    Pergamum


    "If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
    -- David Livingstone

  11. #11
    Pergamum's Avatar
    Pergamum is offline. Ordinary Guy (TM)
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    14,997
    [QUOTE]

    In making translations for religious purposes, it will be found that the Missionary's first work will be to give the converts the forms of faith and prayer (the Prayer Book), which Christianity has accepted, to guide them. Then will follow parts of the New Testament, of which the Prayer Book will be the natural interpreter. "In making such translations, nothing is to be more deprecated than the substitution of general, for particular terms, or the turning of a metaphorical expression into dull prose, because such a metaphor is not in native use. A true and natural metaphor will make itself at home among Melanesians, as images from the Hebrew Scriptures are in English."--(Codrington).

    I find it curious that they would translate the prayer book before any part of the Bible. but then again, this was an Anglican mission. Given that empty forms and external actions versus a real, internal heart-belief is the problem throughout much of Melanesia, the focus on forms of faith seems misplaced.


    However, the practical advice on malaria and boating and even the language is great stuff and makes for a fascinating historical document about missions 100 years ago.



    Life should not be lived on ascetic principles. Luxury is always to be avoided, but comfort is not luxury. A pioneer has to rough it, of course, but as soon as possible a healthy and convenient site should be chosen for a permanent home. In Melanesia hard work is good for people as hard work is in England, but to live like natives when there is no necessity, is to incur unnecessary dangers, and to cripple usefulness.
    I also found the above advice to seek comfort wise. One can live very poorly for a short time, but one needs adequate living to be long-term and effective. Life must be slower, or else fatigue will increase malaria susceptibility.


    The times and schedules of the station are very precise. Wow. i could never maintain that sort of punctiality of daily schedule where I am at. I wonder if this is a commendable point of the mission or wether this level of punctiality was a misplaced priority?
    Pergamum


    "If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
    -- David Livingstone

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72