For some years I have enjoyed a precious friendship with a dear brother by the name of John Paul Todd. John has served the church in many capacities and now lives in Kentucky after some years on the mission field in Latin America. He blogs about unity and Christ's kingdom at a great site. I encourage you to check it out and create a tab. Now and then John and I have shared rich private fellowship. I mention John Paul in my book, Your Church Is Too Small, because he helped me frame several of my ideas for that work. He has been a great personal encouragement. Occasionally we share email correspondence. He recently wrote me a personal email that I wanted to share. With his permission I share it here.
I just returned from a road trip with my daughter & husband to the Southwest — nine states in all. It was great to see some of the major national parks that I hadn't seen before such as the Petrified Forest & Painted Desert. Besides the chance to spend time with my adult children and to visit their son at Prescott College (AZ), I did a lot of meditating, thanking God for all that I saw of His handiwork, not only in breath-taking nature but in other obvious signs of grace in His people in every time and place. I was especially focused on the Native Americans. I rejoiced that we are living in a time when many traditions and heritages are finally getting the respect and justice that is so rightly their's.
Just one example — in Prescott, Arizona, the Yavapai Indian tribe is dominant! The tribe had a tragic history and was almost entirely wiped out at one point. I was able to pick up a brief biography of a lady who was greatly used to stabilize this tribe and then lead it into a position of prosperity. Chieftess Viola Jimulla, who was for 26 years a tribal head of native Indians in the US, was this wonderful lady in this story. She was a strong Christian believer, a Sunday School superintendent in the Presbyterian Mission and a deacon. These are the kinds of stories that we should be learning about and celebrating, stories that demonstrate that God's people, the Church, has had remarkable victories in spite of her failures.
I have followed with interest your ACT 3 Weekly series on the "Churchless Christianity". As always you've given us a lot to think about. You wrote: "These