Bless me reader, for I have sinned. It’s been 202 days since my last post. And what does it take to get me to stick my nose back into this conversation? Disgust, naturally, and something of a rant. A disgusted rant.
Okay, so it’s not shampoo, but I wanted to point this out and then forgot about it when I was posting yesterday’s update. Maybe it’s a mental block because I also celebrated my birthday during my recent blog convalescence (or whatever that was). And one of my gifts was an EvangeCube.
It was. And when you stop laughing, I’ll have to tell you that I was… well, speechless. Doesn’t happen a lot, but there it was, me with nothing to say. Totally dumbfounded. Had it been intended as a gag gift, I’d have known better how to react. Alas…
I know, it’s overdue. Long overdue. This blog seems to have disintegrated into one of those that has an irregular stream of posts saying, “Sorry I haven’t posted more, but I will soon, I promise.” But I don’t believe in those posts – and maybe I don’t really believe in apologies for not blogging. Sorry to disappoint you. ;^)
I’m a week behind in the series now, but I hope to catch up. I really do have good intentions. Anyway, last week in the Missional Prelude series, the gang was talking about how God is at work outside of the church. As is the pattern, Ed Stetzer opened things up on Monday with the question: “How and Why is God at Work Outside the Church?” He then started namedropping, opening with “J.C. Hoekendijk,” who some may remember has been discussed in a prior series. Ed writes, “For Hoekendijk, the concept of shalom (a Hebrew word meaning peace, completeness, and welfare) was a more all-inclusive notion than salvation…. Salvation was broadened and, in some ways, redefined.”
Ed Stetzer suggests that we can avoid the trouble that shipwrecked the missio dei movement in part “by going back and looking at the roots of the missional movement and having a robust theological discussion that heightens our awareness of the issues at hand.”
Seems a little odd to be writing a prologue after all this time, doesn’t it? Well, there’s a back-story, as may be inferred by those who may have noticed posts at other blogs with this same title. I’ve written a lot about the meaning of missional, its distinctives, and what it means to be missional — besides innumerable casual mentions on this blog. I finally drafted a missional series index that lists the posts I did during my major series (2007) defining the concepts inherent in the term as well as the nine-post series I did (2008) summarizing the missional synchroblog when more than 50 bloggers participated in hashing out what it means to be missional. With a couple of other miscellaneous posts thrown in, this is a total of 25 posts just from me. That’s a lot of words, and some may wonder why I’m doing this once again. No, it’s not because I skipped it last year and am overdue, but it’s for two major reasons.
Brian McLaren’s new book (A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith) has just been released, and it’s already causing a bit of a firestorm. I’m still awaiting my copy, but plan to look through it at his ten questions and interact with those once I’ve been able to consider them in more detail. In the meantime, there are a few things upon which I really feel the need to comment, and since I have a ready-built platform, there’s nobody to stop me. I apologize for the length of the post — I went back to see if I could split it up into two parts, but it just doesn’t work very well to do that. It’s long, but I think it’s important. Thanks in advance for bearing with me, and reading on. And if you get bored, skip down — I summarize at the end.
This is a summary of some of the posts I’ve written over the past couple of years defining missional. Most notable among these are two series that I did on the subject. The first was my exploration of the topic, and the second was a summary of the posts contributed in a synchroblog on the question. I’ve marked a couple of the notable posts with an asterisk.
Well, I started out with some prognostication, and then I got distracted, and got back on track regarding my thoughts on The Decade Ahead for the Emerging Church. As I set up my thoughts and predictions (scary word) in that post, I asked three pairs of questions, the last of which was, “where is the world outside the church in all of this? Do they benefit at all, or are they worse off?” And then I pretty much didn’t answer that one, just the other two. This set of questions is fundamentally different because they have to do with the church’s interaction with the world, and are therefore the most important (certainly to the missional crowd, at least). For these reasons, I felt a separate post was warranted.
Well, I started out with some prognostication, and then I got distracted. It’s easy to get lost when you’re talking about the future, which is inherently hard to see anyway. But let’s get back on track nonetheless. As I was saying, the emerging church was set to become more mainstream, and it has done so in the past couple of years. This is not to say that the self-fashioned heresy-hunters are happy, but that’s not something that’s about to happen anyway. (Not ever, that’s their schtick.) Evangelicalism, however, has become more comfortable with certain forms and contributions from the emerging church. For those who followed along in the past year, you might think this is convenient, because evangelicalism is dead as well as the emerging church, or they’re at least on side-by-side deathbeds. What a pretty pair they make, gasping for breath to tell you that rumours of their demise have been greatly exaggerated. The precise meaning of the word “greatly” in this instance is still in some dispute.
I think my blogging mojo must have got up and went. Like I said, my blogging frequency has dropped a bit over the past several weeks so that I’m no longer hitting my daily quota. I realized this morning that I only had one post separating my weekend posts, and yesterday I fizzled on my regular hymn series. I started writing the post this morning, but partway through I decided to hold it for next Sunday rather than publish it right away. It’s part of my Sunday series after all, and this isn’t Sunday. Saturday’s linkage was a bit lighter than usual as well, as I headed outdoors to get some work done in the yard. The new fence looks great by the way — thanks for asking.
I realized I have some 40 draft posts sitting waiting to be finished, and I discovered this one among them. I think it was a sort of epilogue to the series I did a while back defining missional. That means that these links will be to older posts, so if any of the links fail, that’s the reason. I decided to publish it pretty much as-is, meaning it was never polished into a coherent form. The image was already attached to the post, though I don’t remember why… now it reminds me of incoherence. ;^) Essentially the post is a list of background and deep background on missional theology and concepts, probably some notes I was keeping as I worked through the material. Perhaps you’ll find some good stuff here for further reading as well.