John and Elaine Mehn

Archive for May, 2010

Japanese Pastor Repents

May 31st, 2010 by John

At the recent Tokyo 2010 Global Missions Consultation, a highlight was one highly respected Japanese church leader who had a heartfelt and very open confession, public repentance, and an appeal for forgiveness from nations and people who had suffered during the Pacific War. He did not mince words but spoke more honestly than I have heard from other contexts. Even after 65 years this is still an emotional topic.

Along with his contrition and appeal for forgiveness was an appeal for all Christian groups to work in unity, for us to love our neighbors and be unified in our need of Christ.  For more information see: http://au.christiantoday.com/article/japanese-pastor-repented-for-japans-past-sins-sought-for-unity-in-christ/8246.htm Also there was a reading of the Tokyo 2010 Declaration which was signed by numerous groups which I am represented in Japan, in North America and Missiological Associations.  http://www.tokyo2010.org/conference/Tokyo_2010_Declaration.pdf.

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More on Suicide in Japan

May 29th, 2010 by John

An earlier blog on suicide was at http://www.gospelrest.com/suicide-and-the-japan-economy/

Japan suffers over 30,000 suicides annually for the last 12 years. Also it is estimated that upwards of 10 times that number attempt but do not succeed at suicide. Suicide is viewed with scorn by people throughout society.  Talk about suicide is considered taboo and people are viewed as losers who commit suicide. Those victims of suicide are cut off from help from others. One prominent psychiatrist, Hasami Hirayama, sees the vicious cycle of society pressure and emotional problems as both contributors of suicide. The means of helping people with these problems is not to ostracize them but to care for them compassionately. Japan really needs a change of heart and Christians who have the good news for people should be in the lead in providing answers. Pray and help.

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Reading on Leadership

May 28th, 2010 by John

In preparation for our CPI Leaders’ Summit last month on Gospel-centered Leadership I was reading and reviewing books on leadership especially the heart idols that leaders are most susceptible. (Elaine and I developed a list of heart idols that leaders often encounter). Good books have been Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby (Experiencing God fame).  Other good books have been Dangers, Toils, Snares, The Heart of a Servant Leader on Jack Miller and Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership McIntosh and Rima.

I feel the real danger of the heart is when we are in a leadership position but we have allowed our spiritual and relational authority to erode. Without much heart left and diminishing trust (people notice) we then can only rely on defending our position which develops pride in its many forms and then we become uncaring and callous toward other people. That is when leadership is ugly, even ineffective as all trust has been undermined. Jesus was the best example of leadership and never lost compassion for others in the midst of leadership. He knew how to tell the truth with grace. May we always struggle as leaders and depend on him to keep and deliver us from the “dark side of leadership.”

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Our Home Town: Machida

May 8th, 2010 by John

We sure love living in Machida City Tokyo.  Within 15 minutes of our house are 5 parks well-wooded and lots of nature.  You would not think we live in the world’s largest city.  There are nearly 500,000 people living along with us in Machida (mah-chee-dah)including the creator of Pokemon, Satoshi Tajiri.  For more info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machida,_Tokyo.

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Interested in Japanese Buddha?

May 2nd, 2010 by John

Today I was pruning our hedges and two women came by and asked if I would like to read a book on the Japanese Buddha.  I commented that I can read Japanese but I am not interested in the Japanese Buddha but I am interested in the creator of the universe.  I think it caught them by surprise.  Buddhism does not have a concept of a creator in which we are accountable.  I am not trying to be intolerant though I have studied Buddhism but it fails to bring the hope, peace and purpose of knowing the God of the universe.  Pray for the Japanese that they may have more than just religious culture but a true relationship with their Creator.

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