Friday, May 27, 2005

being there....as missionaries

i've been wondering about some things i vaguely recall from books i sort of read.
namely, i've been thinking about being a missionary and how we (the community i belong to) might be missional. every now and again i feel like the foreigner that i am [it is often sparked by cultural flash-back (world-view whiplash) usually prompted by being reminded of something that is virtually absent from this place but irrevocably embedded in my aussie-ness (eg. cricket, australian football, gum trees).]

anyway....in these moments when i feel most foreign i experience a recalibration of sorts and many of the layers/filters that surround my perception are parted like the waters of the red sea. recently this experience sent me back to the basics and i thought about something i hadn't pondered for a while (remember: vague book recollection).

as missionaries we will serve the kingdom's cause most effectively by 'dropping' the roles of
teachers
sellers
and accusers/judges

and becoming
learners
traders
and storytellers/troubadours.

perhaps we can add to this second list; mystics, poets, activists, artists, builders, gardeners, guides. any other imagery that gives life to the missionary vocation?







.

6 comments:

james said...

out of curiosity more then arguement, what differs an activist from an accuser?

geoff said...

hey james...interesting question. i think the words themselves hold a key to that question. perhaps activists act and accusers accuse(?). in my mind activists protest injustice by both crying out against it and living like they have already won. it is a more holistic response. i think the prophets (along with Jesus) might be our best models for activism. more recently we have some heroic activists from South Africa (Mandela, Bico, Tutu, et al) and the civil rights movement (King, Parks, Ruby Bridges, et al).

so what imagery best fits your understanding of our life in missional community?

lisa said...

redeemers?

geoff said...

i like the idea of redeemers. it seems to fit well with the commitment to inhabit the abandoned places of empire (one of the 12 marks detailed in the 'new monasticism' book). thanks lisa...you guys are indeed redeemers as you continue to make the home on west third a house of hospitality.

dwain said...

i so wish i shared your optimism. being back at home (cochabamba) and seeing the actions and hearing the words of the missionary community have reawakened in me the rancor that has driven me for so long. i love the words you've taken, and i truly hope that they become the truth.

i've been reading about the history of Cuzco, and one thing that struck me in particular was the construction of a Dominican church atop one of the more sacrosanct buildings of the Incan empire. as i listen to the missionaries around me speak of their ministry (however they may define that), i can't help but feel that they're just trying to tear down the walls to rebuild atop a firmer foundation. make sense?

i admire what you do, and i only wish that the words which so aptly fit you all came to mind more easily in this place.

geoff said...

hey dwain,
great to hear from you. thanks for your 'reality check'...i liked your imagery of foundations and walls. i'm not sure what we are doing here to smother the cultural particularities already in place. i hope we learn to have a gentle confidence about our life together. thanks for your admiration :) btw, hope you are having a good time back home...love to miah