Category Archives: missional church

Telling Stories

“Flasher evangelism.” That’s what Bowen calls those abrupt spiritual conversations with a stranger on the street that mark certain evangelistic methods. (See his book “Evangelism for Normal People.”) Relying on a Margaret Atwood short story, Bowen exposes the way others often perceive our attempts at evangelism as “disgusting,”  if not abusive because of our attempts to suddenly access a deep level of personal intimacy with someone we’ve never met.  Admittedly, I’ve gone there before.

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What Good News are We Proclaiming?

This morning I saw a link on a friend’s Facebook wall to a blog post titled: “The Problem with Little White Girls (and Boys)” by Pippa Biddle. I don’t know Pippa at all, but her story conveyed through this post has a familiar tone to it. Overseas short term mission trips and the voluntourism movement in international aid efforts has been justifiably criticized for quite some time now because of the colonial and racist overtones and attitudes within them. But I am caught short again today at how absent this conversation is with regard to mission in North America.

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Andy, Andy, Andy…

Three weeks ago, those of us around Hamilton, Ontario had the opportunity to engage with Andy Crouch over a three day period. We found ourselves immersed in Andy’s enthusiastic vision for God’s people to engage the resources God has entrusted to us to create culture in such a way that the most vulnerable in our communities might flourish. What follows are a few short summaries and some of the lingering thoughts & questions that have stuck with me since then. Continue reading

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Other People’s Thoughts: From Undercurrent to Mainstream?

IMG_0300Among the refreshing waters of the missional church movement, a few voices are drawing attention to an undercurrent of concern. This concern surfaced a few times in the converstations surrounding the A Missional Reading of Scripture conference last week. One person, who was following the various #MRSC13 tweets, simply asked about the demographics, noting that the speaker list was primarily (though, not exclusively) white, males. This same theme was lamented by Danielle Rowaan (‏@DanielleRowaan“Hoping that as we dream of a better missional future for the Western church @ #MRSC13 we include the voices of women. #alwaysreforming Voicing a similar perspective, Kyuboem Lee (@kyuboem)  tweeted: “Q I wish I could’ve asked @ #mrsc13: How can missional convo esc fate of academic fad if not done w subdominant cultures in urban contexts?”  Continue reading

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Reflections on A Missional Reading of Scripture – Day 2

Calvin Seminary recently hosted the A Missional Reading of Scripture conference. The conference brought together Christopher Wright, Tom Wright, Mike Goheen, and Darrell Guder along with a well-rounded group of workshop leaders to facilitate dialogue on how a missional reading of scripture impacts various aspects of living as God’s people. In part 1 of this reflection, I posted some of my summaries and responses to what grabbed my attention from the first day of plenaries and workshops.

This post reflects the happenings of Day 2 at this conference. I did not stay for the panel discussion at the conclusion of the conference – though I heard I really missed out on a meaningful and encouraging dialogue. Word from Mike Goheen (@MikeGoheenSays) is that audio from the conference will be available on Calvin Sem’s website some time next week.

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A Few Thoughts on A Missional Reading of Scripture – Day 1

This post covers Day 1 of the A Missional Reading of Scripture Conference. My reflections on Day 2 can be found here

I’m spending today and tomorrow at the A Missional Reading of Scripture conference at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI. Michael Goheen has pulled together the line up for this conference, giving space to N. T. Wright, Christopher Wright, and Darrell Guder to share their perspectives on the way mission shapes God’s word and God’s people. Perhaps, the brilliance of the conference, however, is found not in the big names, but in the three streams that shape the space between the plenary sessions. These streams focus on the relationship of A Missional Reading of Scripture and Preaching, and the Local Congregation, and on Theological Reflection on a Missional Hermeneutic. I’m planning to spend most of my time in the Local Congregation stream as it looks like it will have a fair bit of overlap between my current academic and pastoral work.

Throughout the next two days, I’ll add a few thoughts and reactions to what catches my attention in the conference. While this won’t be a live blog, I’ll keep this post going as a running commentary with updates throughout my time here. If you’re on twitter, you can follow the larger conference dialogue at #MRSC13. Continue reading

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Other People’s Thoughts: from debate to dialogue

Over the past week, I’ve read three different posts all advocating for a shift in the way the church engages potentially contentious conversations. Essentially, the authors are calling for a shift from debate to dialogue. In many ways, I think each of their articles are presenting a perspective on how the church can embody our apologetic through the character of our conversations, rather than just with the verbal content of our faith.

I’ve linked the articles below with a short summary. I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions to these articles. How do we make these transitions well? Does one of these articles resonate with you more than the others? Continue reading

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Why I Came Back

“I know you doubt me. I know you always have. And you’re right: I often think of Bag End. I miss my books. And my armchair. And my garden. See that’s where I belong. That’s home. That’s why I came back; because you don’t have one – a home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can.”

– Biblo Baggins to Thorin Oakenshield, in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

It’s a good movie. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s not been my favorite of Jackson’s renditions of Tolkein’s Middle-Earth. Even after watching The Hobbit a half dozen times or so since it’s release, it’s still not my favorite. But there is something compelling about this story – or this part of the story – that has continued to resonate with me and my understanding of the church’s mission. Continue reading

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More Than Our Need to Be Right

James 1:19-20 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

It was one of those extended arguments that we couldn’t let go of. We had only been married for a couple years and it seemed like every conversation we had over that particular three or four day stretch would result in one of us choosing sides against the other. One of us would see the bright side of the cloud, the other would point out the grey. One of us would want the window open, the other would walk past and close it. Yes, it got that ridiculous. The tension permeated everything. Though I no longer remember what we were really fighting about, I can still recall that sense of anger and disbelief and frustration and self-righteousness mingled together.  Continue reading

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A Monday Morning Prayer

God, 
 
I’m waking up today in the relative quiet of our rented home.
The sky is blue with a few clouds slowly drifting by.
The windows are open. I’ve heard seven distinct bird calls –
   there’s a crow and a jay
   but I can’t name most them by their chirps,
   yet, you know them.
There is a cricket, too –
   no, wait; it’s not a cricket, it’s some other small insect
   declaring its presence
   above the background noise of a squirrel chattering
   as if something has just caught its attention for the first time.
An occasional car or two meanders past our house,
otherwise the hustle and bustle of the world around me this morning
comes from the stirring of your creation. 
I pray that I might have eyes to see and ears to hear
the goodness of your creation today.
 
Yet, I must admit,
that prayer seems daunting, almost impossible.
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