In a recent post, Scott McKnight sketched an outline of a lecture he gave on the Mission of God. I appreciated his attention to missional identity being rooted in the Trinity and in God’s sending. It’s a good foundation for understanding the grounding of our inclusion in God’s mission. From this foundation, Scott transitions to consider how to identify a missional Christian. It’s to these reflections on what it looks like to be a missional Christian that I have been reflecting this week. In all fairness to Scott, I have not heard the lecture nor is this post the only thing he has every written on being missional. Yet, what struck me about Scott’s sketch of God’s mission was what appears to be left out of his caricature of a missional Christian. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: July 2012
Abandoning the industrialized approach to discipleship and embracing an organic approach to discipleship that Bryce Ashlin-Mayo is calling for (see yesterday’s post) is not an easy transition to make, if for no other reason than we are a people who like numbers.
We are convinced that to make something count it needs to be counted, particularly financial numbers. We look for them in our entertainment industry. Nowadays, the quality of a movie is often simply depicted in terms of how much money it grosses in its first three day weekend. The content is secondary to the perceived popularity determined by how many millions of dollars the movie grosses. We watch numbers with our celebrities: who was the highest paid actress last year? How many downloads has an artists new video or song had? Where does a person rank on the list of the world’s richest people? Our economy, likewise, is healthy or not based largely on the number of job losses or gains in a given month. We constantly poll the popularity of government leaders and of government itself, determining whether they’ve done their job based on whether the people answering their phones have a favorable impression of our politicians – an impression that is shaped primarily by the most recent sound bites the media, spammed email, or a boisterous talk show host has fed them. The quality of their work is understood by popularity polls. Continue reading
I was on twitter this morning. I usually check it most mornings, even when I don’t tweet something new. This morning, I saw a tweet from Leonard Sweet (@lensweet) mentioning a colleague’s blog on discipleship. I’ve been doing a fair bit of thinking about discipleship in our church lately and how to cultivate a culture of missional discipleship. So Sweet’s tweet caught my attention. I clicked the link and was drawn in quite quickly. It’s honestly one of the more well thought out blog posts I’ve come across this year. Bryce Ashlin Mayo reflects quite profoundly on a post-industrial call to discipleship, exposing and critiquing the church’s insistence on efficiency in discipleship making. Playing off a brilliantly done Chipotle video on returning to sustainability, he invites his readers to consider what it might look like to pursue discipleship more organically. He even draws on the tendency toward uniformity over diversity through the greenhouse industry, recognize that the same potential for a “greenhouse disease” exists in the Christian church as much as it does in the agricultural industry. Continue reading
I’ve been working my way through the Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics (2nd edition, Hauerwas and Wells) the last couple days. The book is an extended argument for the integral nature of worship and ethics. It’s pretty costly book, but certainly worth encouraging a library near you to pick up.
In chapter 5, “Gathering: Worship, Imagination, and Formation,” Philip Kenneson writes: “Every human life is an embodied argument about what things are worth doing, who or what is worthy of attention, who or what is worthy of allegiance and sacrifice, and what projects or endeavors are worthy of human energies. In short, every human life is “ bent ” toward something. Every human life is an act of worship.”
The question I am left pondering this morning is: “What embodied argument am I making by the way I live my life about who is worthy to be worshiped?” It’s a good question to ask from time to time and answering honestly means paying close attention to the rhythms and patterns of my days and weeks. Some rhythms are more obvious – gathering for worship on Sundays, nightly family dinners; some I would guess are less so. To really answer this question, I need the insight and perspective of those around me. I wonder how my wife and our children would answer this question? I wonder what reviewing my calendar or my bank statements would reveal? I wonder what my neighbors and friends and others in my church would observe? Continue reading