Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Lausanne Designates "The Smelly" as New People Group

The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism (LCWE) announced on Thursday that it has designated as a new people group those who suffer from chronic body odor problems. The announcement came after several weeks of discussion by members of the committee around the world.

"We hail this as a major step towards evangelizing all peoples" said LCWE North American director Earl Robinson. "Throughout history those who smell bad have always been rejected and marginalized by society. It's now time to recognize that these people need the gospel."

In a report by LCWE entitled Christian Witness to the Smelly the committee published information regarding the problem of body odor around the world.

"Estimates of the total world smelly population vary. The most recent statistics number smelly and extremely pungent persons at 1.5 billion."

"In the United States alone just over 30% of the population stinks" said Robinson. "There are real needs here that we have to meet for these people to help them."

The report further described how the smelly might be helped.

"Generally one may describe the needs of the smelly as counter-repugnantness. Deodorants, soaps and antiperspirants are the most pressing needs. Concern about future olfactory offensiveness can be overwhelming for the smelly person. Those who work with the smelly will need to communicate good hygiene habits in addition to providing the necessary sanitary materials. Genuine concern for the well-being of the smelly person proves the gospel credible."

"All throughout Scripture the idea of something being a 'stench' is bad" said Robinson. "A billion and a half people in this world stink, and we have an opportunity as Christians to help them."

Already a number of churches have taken the vision. While some have decided to focus on domestic odors, a few churches have already looked to other nations to begin their work.

"We're looking to Eastern Europe" said pastor Clark Herring, of New Falls Baptist Church in New Falls, Nevada. "I was in Eastern Europe just last year and I know the great need that exists there. Our hope is to ship 10,000 cases of Old Spice to various former Soviet Bloc countries by the end of the year. Eventually we'd like to send mission teams over with supplies of Irish Spring"

Over at Tom in the Box we see this very funny blog on "relational, missional, cross cultural, watered down evangelism.