I appreciate their burning desire to help the poor, of which Tanzania is well stocked. I appreciate their faithfulness to our Lord. I am glad to be associated with them. Their service is in the finest missionary tradition.
"Pray therefore the Lord of the Harvest," said Jesus, "to send out laborers into the harvest. For the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few." This pretty much sums up what I feel about the Church. I've been part of several LJ conversations recently in which I have felt my spiritual home disparaged by others. There's a time and a place for that, I suppose. But the most critical question of all is, who will go and preach the gospel and feed the hungry and all the rest of it?
The poor, the lame, the blind, the hungry, the naked, the oppressed, and all those who need Jesus (which is everybody, including you and me) do not always have the luxury to debate the ecclesiastical bona fides of those who are presenting them the gospel -- largely because there isn't anyone there presenting the gospel to them at all. The pockets of unchurched, unevangelized spiritual poverty in this country sometimes reach levels normally associated with countries like Tanzania.
And, sure, there are Churches whose theology or practices I don't care much for. There are bodies I think are heretical. And there's a time and place for critiquing such things; meanwhile, the lost are glad for anyone who throws them a rope and aren't much concerned about the ecclesiastical pedigree of the one throwing it.
I remember a line in one of our old editions of The Discipline, which I thought mere boilerplate when I read it, but which has stayed with me. One of the signs of the True Church, it said, is the ability to seek and save the lost. I think about that -- a lot.