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.”
To this end, our synchro-series turns its attention first to the intersection of missiology and soteriology. One might expect this relationship to be “a given,” but perhaps for just this reason it bears a slightly closer inspection. In his intro-post on Monday, Ed notes that “some consider the transmission of salvation as a physical process” (sacramentalist) while “[o]thers think that salvation is transferred by moral action[, where] salvation is not so much something to be acquired by some individual or organization and conveyed to others, as it is something created by shifting the state of affairs.” Thirdly, he writes, “Evangelical theologies have generally represented a third idea: salvation is a work of grace, accomplished by Christ, and received by faith alone. In the meritorious sense, the recipient is passive.”
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.
Defining Missional Series (August-September 2007)
• The Dangers of Missionalism & The Dangers of Language
• Aloha, Missional
• *Missional Essentials: A Short List
• *Understanding Missional: Personalizing the Central Tenets
• Missional Definitions: A Brief Survey
• Missional Interlude, with Post-Christendom Considerations
• Missio(nal) Dei?
• Missional Reading, Pre-Missional
• Coming Up… (Summary; overuse of “missional”)
• The Keys to the Missional Kingdom (Kingdom of God)
• The Mission of Missional
• Missional Theory: Cultural Relativity vs. Ethical Relativity (Contextualization)
• Interpreting Christ (incarnation)
• Missional as the Defragmentation of Missions