Tag Archives: missional church

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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Your Daughter’s Hand…

I remember making that nerve-racking phone call.

Me: “Mr. H., I have a question to ask you.”
Mr. H. “Hold on. I think Mrs. H. better be on the other phone for this one.” Mrs. H. picks up the other phone.
Me with trembling voice: “Okay. Mr. & Mrs. H., I would like to ask your permission to ask your daughter for her hand in marriage?” 
Mrs. H. “You only want her hand? What about the rest of her? Don’t you want all of her?” 

Yep. That was my (now) mother-in-law’s quick-witted response to my nervous fumbling over how to ask them for their blessing on our plans to get engaged and married. “Don’t you want all of her?”

How do you respond to that?! I am sure I stammered out some sort of response – though even now, I’m not sure that it was even halfway intelligible – and they graciously helped me finish the conversation and gave us their blessing.

My mother-in-law’s question “Don’t you want all of her?” has stuck with me. And though the context is somewhat different, I have found myself reflecting on it quite a bit lately.

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Acts of (Missional) Intimacy

(This post continues yesterday’s thoughts on “How Far is Too Far?” It’s probably helpful to read that one first.)

A few weeks ago, I hand delivered a letter from our church Council to City Hall, expressing our deep concern and opposition with a proposal to locate a casino in downtown Hamilton. I made the seven or eight block walk there, texting with my wife and one of my kids as I walked. I delivered the letter to the City Clerk’s office and turned right around to head back to the office. As I cut across the parking lot entrance, I put my phone away and looked up. Something about the buildings caught my attention. So I stood there between Jackson and Hunter, looking up and down one of the high rise housing complexes. It’s a pretty plain building. Nothing remarkable in terms of design or decor. But I looked it over still the same. I slowly wandered down the street. Continue reading

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“How Far is Too Far?”

“How far is too far?” I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. It’s normally a question we ask while attempting to navigate the sexual desires and angst of relationships before (and regrettably, sometimes outside of) marriage. We have this internal awareness that there is a limit to how far we can go before we cross a point of no return, a threshold where the relationship changes from friendship to playful flirtation to something much more intimate and of much deeper consequence. And so, we ask ourselves – and on our good days, we might even ask others – “how far is too far?” How far can we go before everything changes?

That question has been in my heart and mind lately, only in a very different context.  Continue reading

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Unless a Seed…

I have been struck by the announcement this morning that Pope Benedict XVI is abdicating his office as Pope at the end of February. It is quite a remarkable step for someone in his role to step aside – not simply historically speaking, but for someone with that type of power and authority, access to resources, etc. As I reflect on this, I am also struck by some comments made by a pastor recently, asking whether the denomination I belong to could ever envision itself coming to the end of God’s purposes for it, or if we simply assumed that it must and will exist forever. (He was drawing from Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination.) Continue reading

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No individual missional Christians

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

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