After reading Scot McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, I started into Ed Cyzewski’s Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life. Both books speak of an approach to scripture that attempts to bridge the gap between the culture in which the culture in which each book of the Bible was written and that of today into which it still speaks. As I reflected today on the nature of scripture an how it interacts with itself, I remembered the view of one Rabbi. The Hebrew Bible (what we refer to as the Old Testament) is divided into three parts — the Law (Torah), the Prophets, and the Writings. The Jewish view is basically that the prophets and writings act as commentary on the Law (the Pentateuch), explaining how to understand it.
My comments are interspersed with a long quotation from The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission by Lesslie Newbigin (1978).
Mission is the proclaiming of the kingdom of the Father, and it concerns the rule of God over all that is. We have seen, therefore, that the church has been led by the logic of its own gospel to move beyond preaching into actions of all kinds for the doing of God’s justice in the life of the world.
Implication: a gospel that does not move beyond preaching into actions for justice is somehow deficient, else those who preach it do not understand its logic. Note the connection between mission and the Kingdom of God.
What do you do when your kid is a “smart, sensitive, restless, chain-smoking 16-year-old who [is] flunking out of everything at school”? In the case of author David Gilmour, his response to his son Jesse is told in his new book The Film Club: A Memoir (Canadian title, The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and a Son). Perplexed and exasperated, “Gilmour finally let Jesse drop out, with only two conditions: he couldn’t do drugs, and he had to agree to watch three movies a week with the old man” (CBC Review). Now this is a decidedly unusual approach, to say the least. No hitting the roof? No throwing him out? No grounding until he’s 37? No “Then get a job, you bum!”? I haven’t read the book, but I understand it works out in the end… both are presently at the University of Toronto, one as a student and the other as a visiting literary professor. It sounds like through this exceptionally bold move, Gilmour just stumbled into something. Something important.
Building on my previous post of A Biographical Profile of Lesslie Newbigin, I wanted to now provide a theological profile to illustrate the nature and significance of Newbigin’s contribution to the theology of mission and most particularly to the present emerging/missional conversation. Newbigin’s work predates the emerging/missional terminology, but particularly as regards the missional conversation, his work is foundational. In 1998, the year he died, The Bible Society published a special issue of The Bible in TransMission as a Tribute to Lesslie Newbigin with contributions from Martin Robinson, Wilbert Shenk, Harold Turner, Dan Beeby, George Hunsberger, and Colin Greene. Wilbert Shenk calls him a missionary theologian, a contextual theologian, and strategic theologian, three of the headings in his article, “Lesslie Newbigin’s Contribution to the Theology of Mission.”
Today is the Feast Day for St. Benedict of Nursia (c.480-547). An Italian Saint, Benedict was the founder of twelve monastic communities, the most well-known being his first at Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. He likely did not intend to found a religious order — the Order of St. Benedict originated much later as “a confederation of congregations into which the traditionally independent Benedictine abbeys have affiliated themselves for the purpose of representing their mutual interests, without [losing] any of their autonomy.” In dealing with the number of people coming to the monastery, he wrote a “Rule of Life” referred to as the Rule of St. Benedict, which “became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason Benedict is often called ‘the founder of western Christian monasticism.'” The Roman Catholic Church canonized him in 1220.
Almost inadvertently, I began a series examining the posts from the recent missional synchroblog in which I participated with a total of 50 bloggers (plus a few unofficial entries). Recalling my the missional series from last summer, I’m determined to wrap this one up in fewer words. In any event, we dive into the next batch of submissions for consideration.
Mark Petersen begins with a story, then explains why it is missional, which he defines in ten points:
Yesterday I started working through some of the posts from the recent missional synchroblog in which I participated; there were a total of 50 people on the “official” list, but a few others decided to post on the topic as well. Yesterday I apologized to Paul Simon for quoting the lines, “I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free / There must be fifty ways to define ‘missional’.” I summarized the first few posts, and before we slip out the back, Jack, today we’re going to tackle the next batch.
Since meeting Alan Roxburgh last year and attending Allelon’s missional order gathering last October, I’ve been gradually becoming more familiar with Allelon and their work. Recently, I’ve been looking at Allelon’s Mission in Western Culture Project based on some of the material they’ve published on their site. While I was out of town, Alan Roxburgh published an update and appeal concerning the project and their meetings this August in Zambia (coincidentally where Todd Heistand is right now).