we have been trying to put mission at the heart of our being the church. we have been intrigued with the idea that mission is the mother of theology (and, we might add, ecclesiology).
but i know i have often tried too hard and seen mission as the 'target' instead of the off-spring. too much self-awareness about being missional. it seems to me that we need a gentle urgency (as David Bosch put it) funded by an outward orientation. we have been at our best when we have acted on a courageous, intentional optimism about the ever expansive Kingdom of God.
in more recent years we have lived our way into a matrix of ideas and practices that include (but are no means restricted to): caring for the homeless people in our city through housing and lay social work, delivering meals to people suffering from AIDS, connecting our eating habits with local food production, welcoming and settling refugees, visiting with like-minded communities throughout north america and the world to stimulate reflection and foster solidarity, and partnering with local environmental and human rights activists. we just spent the weekend with friends committed to birthing a training and development complex to equip native american leaders (see more here).
this gaggle of experiences has formed us into a missional community.
we're still trying.
tons more to learn...
This week i have been reading a book called Journeying Out by Ann Morisy and this quote (p.17) gets at what i have been learning:
"Effective mission is not achieved by giving it focal awareness. effective mission is a fruit - a gracious outcome of other factors working effectively and appropriately. This upends all our habits and assumptions. It means that effective mission is something that emerges as a result of looking and journeying outward rather than by means of a self-conscious and self-regarding process."