Saturday, September 23, 2006

Friend of Missional

Friend of Missional is the brainchild of The Blind Beggar, and is a very concise but helpful window into the missional church paradigm.

Charles Kraft has written some excellent resources on what it means to enculturate or contextualize the gospel into different cultures. I would highly recommend his Anthropology of Christian Witness and Christianity in Culture.

Another good missional resource that is probably more popularly accessible than Kraft’s weighty (but excellent) work is Frost & Hirschs The Shaping of Things to Come.

Leonard Sweet has often commented on discerning the difference between the content of the gospel and the container of the gospel. Here’s a quote from Sweet which I really resonate with:
“The mystery of the Gospel is this: It is always the same (content) and it is always changing (containers). In fact, one of the ways you know the old, old truths are true is their ability to assume amazing and unfamiliar shapes while remaining themselves and without compromising their integrity.” (Aqua Church, page 30)
How do all these sources tie in with the Friend of Missional website? Well, if I may be permitted a moment or two of bluntness...

I like the synopsis given by The Blind Beggar about what being “missional” in a church, para-church, or simple/house church can look like. Being missional is about adapting our methodology, language, and approach to a foreign culture: postmodernism. But its NOT about changing the content of the gospel in the process.

I consider myself a part of the emerging church conversation, and have been helped along the way by earlier books like A New Kind of Christian, but more recent titles, such as Spencer Burkes A Heretics Guide to Eternity, make my skin crawl.
There is a growing revisionist trend in the Emergent Village crew that I find disturbing, to say the least. Kudo’s for great responses and critiques on Burke’s writings to Bob Hyatt (Oh, Spencer) and Scot McKnight (Heretics Guide Book Review).
But when I read the opening page of the Friend of Missional website, I feel like I’m being reminded why I’m in the emerging conversation in the first place: to be proactively, strategically, intentionally missional in our 21st century postmodern culture, for the sake of the King and His advancing Kingdom.

So, call me a Friend of Missional.

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