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Friday, June 30, 2006

Bosch D.J Reflections on Biblical Models of Mission 

International Missionary Conference at Edinburgh, Martin &Her suggested that mission was "the mother of theology" or of the New Testament: it was because of their involvement in mission that the early Christians began to theologize ([190811971:190). More recently, Martin Hengel said essentially the'same: the history and the theology of early Christianity were, primarily, "mission history" and "mission theology" (1983:53). Moreover, writes Heinrich Kastin& "Mission was, in the early stages, ... a fundamental expression of the life of the church. The beginnings of a missionary theology are therefore also the beginnings of Christian theology as such" (1967:127).


Nowhere is this illustrated more dramatically than in Ezekiel 16:4-7

on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for. you out of compassion for you; but you were thrown out in the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born. I passed by you, and saw you flailing about in your blood. As you lay in your blood, 1 said to you, "Live!",

This is indeed one of the most powerful "mission statements" in, the whole Bible, since it depicts God as the One who has compassion on the lost and the marginalized.

It is, however, in the person and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth that the missionary dimensions of God's boundless compassion are expressed in an unequaled way. For instance, it is striking to note the way in which the people on whom Jesus has compassion are depicted; they are called the poor, the blind, the crippled, the leprous, the hungry those who weep, the sick, the little ones, the widows, the captives, those who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and the like e (cf. Nolan 1976:21).

As God has compassion on Israel and others, and as Jesus over throws the codes of society in boundless compassion on the marginalized, so we too are called to show compassion. This is a fundamental thrust of the biblical picture of mission. Those who have experienced divine compassion are moved by the plight of others, whether or not their plight is "spiritual" or ""material." When Jesus looks at the crowds, harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matt. 9:36)

Belittled compassion = waste of time, mis-directed, humanitarian seen as a way in!


Antithesis Triumphalism

We already see this in the Old Testament. The mightier Israel became, the less its existence revealed a missionary dimension: the nations moved into the background and remained at a distance. Conversely, the more Israel was stripped of earthly power and glory the more the prophets recognized a missionary dimension to its life.

Others have tended to the opposite extreme. They were inclined to make the "success" of mission almost completely dependent upon their own zeal and hard work. Perhaps this is, in part, what lies behind the tendency - particularly in Protestant circles - to interpret the Matthean version of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) primarily as a command and, with that, to overemphasize the auxiliary verb "-'go,,

(Creek: poreuthentes). As 1 have argued elsewhere, this is based on a faulty exegesis (Bosch 1983:219-20, 229-30; cf. also Legrand 1990:78-79). It is also, however, the product of a deficient theology: in semi-Pelagian manner, we tend to prioritize human intervention and relegate the power of God to secondary status. This happens particularly where the
Great Commission is, for all intents and purposes, limited to verses 19 and 20a, that is, where we ignore the fact that the commission proper follows on the statement of authority given to Christ in verse 18 and is dependent upon the promise, in verse 20b, of the abiding presence of him who is the real missionary (Legrand 1990:81).

We may by all means draw on the Great Commissio, but we should do so in a way that does not violate the text's intentions.

Matthew tor instance, views mission as ministry done in the consciousness of the universal authority of Jesus and of his abiding presence (28:18-20). Mission is, primarily, making disciples, that is, turning others into what the disciples themselves are: those who practice justice-love and emulate the works of Jesus (Matt. 11:2) (cf. Bosch 1991:56-83). In his Great Commission, Luke (24:46-49) understands mission as: fulfillment of scriptural promises; becoming possible only after the death and resurrection of the Messiah of Israel; proclaiming the message of repentance and forgiveness; intended for all nations; beginning from Jerusalem; carried out by '*witnesses"; and accomplished in the power of the Spirit (cf. Bosch 1991:84122; Senior and Stuffimueller 1983:260-69). And Johns version of the Commission (20:21) underscores the intimate relationship between' Jesus' mission and that of his disciples: they have to emulate him. The Commission follows directly after he has shown them his hands and his side (20:20); this undeniably suggests that, as I have argued above, mission will take place in the context of suffering and opposition.

The mission of the church, then, has all the dimensions and scope

of Jesus' own ministry and may never be reduced to church planting and the saving of souls. It consists in proclaiming and teaching, but 11 also in healing and liberating, in compassion for the poor and the downtrodden. The mission of the church, as the mission of Jesus, involves being sent into the world - to love, to serve, to preach, to teach, to heal, to save, to free.


Runcorn, D(2006)Spirituality Workbook 

The word 'rule' can be off-putting. It sounds impersonal and authoritarian. Human and spiritual progress is surely not for measuring against the precise straight edge of a ru)cr. Holy, Jiving is not a matter of submitting to a set of rules. But there is wisdom in seeking some means of assessing whether we are making any progress in our Christian living. This is responsible discipleship.

It may help to suggest other ways of picturing our relationship to a rule of life. pp58

Rule as scaffolding

The job of scaffolding is to offer a secure containing structure that enables the real building to happen within it. The scaffolding is not itself the real building of course. It enables the real building to happen. Nor is scaffolding meant to draw attention to itself. It is only needed to enable a chosen work to be successfully completed. When that has happened it is entirely disposable.

Rule as punctuation

Read a paragraph aloud from a magazine or newspaper, ignoring all the punctuation - pauses, commas, full stops etc. It sounds chaotic and the sense of the passage is quickly lost. In the same way our lives need punctuating - pauses, full stops, breaks, commas - to help us make 'sense' of our living and discern where its deeper meaning and significance lies.

Rule as guidepost and support

The Latin word for rule is regula, which suggests a signpost or handrail. This is a gentler and more nurturing picture of a rule. It is something that offers support and gives direction in my journey of life and faith. A handrail is a support when travelling over uneven terrain. It is something to lean on. pp59

The East Window The West Window

What is starting to rise above the What is dying off in your life, what
horizon? The earliest beginnings of is sinking below the horizon? Are
something? Are there things you there things you should grieve over
should celebrate and welcome? but let go?

The North Window The South Window

What holds you steady, keeps you What is warming the creativity of
coming from, or pointing in, the your life, where are the growing
same direction? What is your value tips, what is it in you that wants to
base? develop?



Thursday, June 29, 2006

Roxburgh, A.J.(2005)The Sky is Falling - Leaders Lost in Transition 

Many of these people are no longer willing to jump through denominational hoops in order to be recognised as leaders. They believe such hoops no longer make sense in today’s world. For them, seminary (or “cemetery” as some mockingly refer to it) education is suspect. It seems so distant and abstract. It demands that students be uprooted and placed in an unreal, disassociated, ivory tower environment for several years – only to end up serving in settings where, once again, they have no previous relationship. Pp21

In the biblical accounts, exile was a hopeful moment in Israel’s life. Hosea used the metaphor of the desert and exile as a symbol of God acting like a lover, intent upon wooing and winning back a love that had turned to others for solace and satisfaction. Exile is a symbol of God’s Gracious preperation, not God’s abandonment. Babylkon was the place in which yje Israelites had to fundamentally rethink their understanding ion g God and thet teradition they had taken for granted. Only out of this long process would a new imagination – a new identity as God’s people – began to emerge. Pp 74-75

It is not sufficient to simply experiment and then move on to other experiments. This only postpones the inevitable creation of new sets of confusion and pain to somewhere down the road instead of honestly facing them today. .. the best way to counter this moment is for the emergents to reconnect with the Liminals and start talking these issues through. Pp 83

When people experience discontinuous change they respond by moving in one of two directions to recover their sense of control and stability. They will either:

1) attempt to return or recreate the organisations prior traditions, habits and way of life, or
2) abandon the old and create a new future to quickly escape the confusion of this in-between place.

Liminality describes what happens to people separated from their known worlds eg Robinson Crusoe pp94

Characteristics of Liminality

1) people always experience it sd loss
2) you can not rush people through transition. It is a place where people have to live for a time. You must accept that the season must run its course before you will enter the next
3) The majority of people have no idea what they are experiencing
4) It is an emotional state ,. The confusion, disequilibrium and inner impulse to recapture what has been lost cannot be switched off by information or images of an exciting new world.
5) Leaders too often make the mistake of assuming that strategic plans or more information is all that is required to move on to the next change phase. This is a serious mistake.
6) It Is a time of either regression or opportunity, depending on how it is addressed. Pp 96-97

Communitas – the potential for people to discover one another on a very different level of identity and role than from the previous period. Pp 109

Liminals and Emergents. The formeris largely composed of those whose imagination and leadership skills were formed by the frameworks and practices of the church in the last half of the 20th c. Their experience, world and loyalties lie with church systems that flourtished in the past… they know that a wolr dhas been lost , but have no sense of how to lead or function in the place where they now find themsleves. Pp 143

The emergents, on the other hand, represent an amorphous collection of younger leaders who have little sense of loyalty to the denominational systems of the past. They are deeply suspicious of the value of the educational systems of the past. They are deeply suspicious of the value of the educational systems set up in the 20th c to prepare leaders for the church and have an almost reflexive reaction to anything the identify as the institutional church pp144

Abbot/Abbess – a leader with the capacity to unify diverse and divergent leadership styles around a common sens e of missional vision for a specitfic community` pp 155

The development and training of leaders requires more than traditional seminary programmmes pp 157

Even though the current levels of change alone are profoundly dis~ ruptive, they can only be understood within a larger framework. To lead congregations and denominations effectively through them leaders need to:

Grasp the nature of this larger framework of change and transition. Without a basic grasp of their dynamics, leaders will continue feeling out-of-control and driven by tumultuous change into constant disorder.

Recognize how and where change and transition are at work in the lives of the people in their churches and communities.

Discover the appropriate images, stories, and narratives that communicate what is happening to the people among whom they live and minister.

Connect people's experience with the biblical narratives in ways that invite them into a new understanding of what God may be up to in their world.

Develop skills in cultivating dialogue among people about what they are experiencing in the midst of discontinuous change and how it shapes their Christian lives. pp41


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sweet, L. (2004)Summoned to Lead: Leaders are neither born nor made 

Richard Feynman Nobelist 1988

" I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong"


80% of my theology is correct, 20% is wrong - problem is I'm not sure which is the 80% and which isn't! pp126


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

books for college 

GC: Church on The Edge: Chris Stoddard & Nick Cuthbert
GC: Breaking the Missional Code: When Church Can Become Missionary in Your Community by Ed Stetzer, David
gc: Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism by Walter Brueggemann
GC: Proclaim Jubilee!: A Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century Proclaim Jubilee!: A Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century
GC: Making Church Buildings work - Maggie Durran
gc: 'Emerging Churches' by Gibbs and Bolger
gc: Robinson, M (2006) Planting Mission-Shaped Churches. Abingdon
gc: Readings in World Mission, by Norman Thomas
GC: reat Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from Big Business, Parachurch Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism, and Other Modern Maladies.
gc: Urban God John Proctor
GC: Do Christians Know How to Be Spiritual?: The Rise of New Spirituality and the Mission of the Church John Drane
GC: Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of God's Mission in the Bible: Books: Paul G. Hiebert,Arthur F. Glasser,Charles E. Van Engen,Dean S. Gilliland .
GC: Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for Today (American Society of Missiology) Stephen B. Bevans, Roger P. Schroeder (check)
GC: The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from Big Business, Parachurch Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism, And Other Modern Maladies (Paperback) by David E. Fitch
gc: The Missional Leader : Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World
GC: The Secret Message of Jesus : Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything (Hardcover) by Brian McLaren
gc: http://www.americamagazine.org/FilmMovieJesusStore.cfm
GC: David Smith Mission after Christendom (Paperback)
GC: Ian Stackhouse’s ‘Gospel Driven Church’
GC: Vaughn (sp?) Roberts book, God’s big picture


Monday, June 05, 2006

Elton, B. (2005) The First Casualty 


Collins, A. (2003) Where Did It All Go Right?: Growing Up Normal in the 70s 


McGregor, E and Boorman, C.(2004) Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World 


Houghton, J (2004) Outhere - A Different way of Being 

The mission of God, known among the experts as the missio Dei, goes far beyond what we popularly understand as evangelism and social action. Springing timelessly from his eternal and undying love, it touches every aspect of our existence and gives our ordinary lives a cosmic significance that is simply mind-blowing. pp17

The mission of God challenges us to wake up to our calling; it also invites us to examine our motives. Why should we want to reach people with the gospel? Are we just trying to sell Jesus for our own benefit like religious scalp collectors boasting of their conquests? Is it because we want our church to grow and to earn a name for ourselves? Is it because our leaders want the kudos and prestige of a successful work?

It's a common enough motive, if seldom put so bluntly, and there is something faintly obscene about it, ... Rapacious competitiveness for large numbers is a base motive for serving God, especially when the numbers on the church roll and the bums on Sunday seats is almost entirely immaterial to our ability to transform the nation. pp20

So barn-focused are we that evangelism when it does take place is totally disconnected from the realities of people's lives. As writer and community worker Sue Relf puts it, 'Typical evangelism is some of us going out there to get some of them to come in here to join us in what we are doing in here.' Most of these forays are non-relational, often motivated By guilt, and are antisocial and compromised. 1 no more want salesmen for Jesus on my doorstep of an evening than I want double glazing salesmen, and as for the offensiveness of somebody shouting at me on a street corner to tell me that 1 am an evil and wicked person ... well! Not surprisingly the so-called Decade of Evangelism decayed and by the end of the 1990s the church in England had shrunk by 22 per cent. pp25

Gone are the days when we can hope to reach our society by opening the doors of our buildings on Sundays and hoping they will come flooding in. Nor will television and radio effectively reach the majority in the West. People are too dedicated to the programmes of their choice and there is no compelling reason why the majority should tune in to a Christian station. These may serve the Christian audience but they will scarcely touch the non-Christian. Tracts through the letter-box will go the way of all junk mail. Shouting at people from street corners will do no more than make them quicken their pace or cross the road. Knocking on doors is a positive threat in days when people fear strangers on the doorstep. The only effective way to present church to the world is to be there at the personal level to incarnate something of Christ through the medium of our own presence. pp101

'The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God' (2 Corinthians 4:4).

This is not just a problem for individuals; it infects the whole culture, corrupting, perverting, polluting, imprisoning and deluding to greater or lesser degree the entire structure of our society and its institutions. Our task is to change all that for the better; our lives, our words and our works must challenge the godless status quo. ... our mission is one of holy subversion. Our role is -of of godly influence rather than power, and that influence is -exercised through the diffused salt and light witness of its many members pp123

So much of our evangelism has relied on the exercise of power rather than the ministry of love. We have shouted, cajoled, usurped, invaded, tortured and killed in our desire to spread the message of the kingdom of love and mercy. Empires have been established with the sword and the cross entwined, and the blood of Christ has mingled with the blood of the conquered. It is not his way.

Winning people and nations is a work of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who comes alongside to help - and that must become our way. Co-operation rather than confrontation. And the time is ripe; many people are searching once again for a spiritual meaning to their lives. It is something we must recognise and it invites us to come alongside people on their journey towards Christ.

It will require us to have a tolerant respect for where people are on their journey. How often have we tried aggressively to present the whole gospel, with the rider that if the person rejects it they might well be knocked down by a bus today and go to a Christless eternity? We insist they choose now. pp126

Friendly Evangelism cf friendship evangelism


Beginning with real-life experience we describe a current situation. It may be a workplace scenario where someone is trying to form a better relationship with their difficult boss. It might be an issue within the family, like why I get so ratty with my husband.


Having described the scene, we reflect on the situation under the guidance of a mentor. This allows us to ask questions about our responses and reactions, where we thought we or the other person went wrong and what effect the situation has on others and on our own wider life and spiritual growth.


Given this information the mentor then imparts, or better invites, exploration of appropriate teaching. This may be from the Bible, it might be of the 'what would Jesus do?' variety, it might be accumulated Christian wisdom. Either way, it -is teaching applied to this particular situation.


This is followed by prayer, and the encouragement to put the teaching into practice.


Rowling J.K.(2005) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 


Foster, R (1998) Streams of Living Water 

We must imitate Christ's life and his way, if we are to he truly enlightened and set free from the darkness of our own hearts. Let it be the most important thing we do, then, to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ.

THomAs A KEmpis

james shows us how we can be hooked into a different kind of reality, a spiritual reality that in turn produces a different kind of person, which in the natural course of things produces a different kind of action. Forming this "different kind of person" is the burden of James's Epistle and the reason he is such a moving example of the Holiness Tradition. pp69

True godliness does not turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavours to mend it.


Social justice is where the central issue in the Holiness Tradition - love-meets the road. Dag Hammarskj61d wrote, "The road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action."69 And so the supernatural resources to live appropriately - to live the virtuous life - now extend out into our relationships with people and with social structures and even with the earth itself. pp 143

It is, of course, a genuine danger for the Holiness Tradition to operate on a pietistic level that never engages the social dimensions of its work, or for the Evangelical Tradition to preach a gospel that fails to understand the larger context of its message. But these dangers pale when compared to the pitfall in the Social Justice Tradition of caring for social needs without reference to the condition of the heart. Organizations without number have begun with a wholehearted commitment to minister to both physical and spiritual needs, only to end up severing the spiritual underpinnings of their efforts. The only thing these organizations have left is a kind of social salvation that leaves people rooted in spiritual despair and alienated from God. pp 155

A third peril is the tendency to present too limited a view of the salvation that is found in Jesus Christ. There are two aspects to this problem. One is the ellipse of the whole of a person's life in favour of the sole issue of getting into heaven; the other is a pronounced individualism that neglects social responsibility and prophetic insight. .

Now, this pitfall emerges because of a valid concern that we never lose sight of the evangelistic call for commitment to Christ - a commitment that must extend all the way down to the most personal and individual level. We should affirm the concern, but we must also affirm that the call to commitment extends out as well as down. It must encompass, first, our entire discipleship before God and, second, our community and institutionallife. Christ came to break the shackles of both personal sin and social sin, The salvation that is in Jesus Christ impacts all levels of human existence personal, social, institutional. pp194


Picoult, J(2001) Salem Falls 

Great novel


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