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.
The Biblical Learning Blog Has complied a list of the Top 50 Ecumenical Blogs, and for some reason they stuck me on it in the “Emergence Outreach” category. My crony Bill Kinnon, who slotted in under the “Reaching Out” category. Meanwhile, I’m reading Sarah Bessey’s excellent post In which [she has] discovered that [she doesn't] care about the emerging church anymore and wondering if they might take away the latest designation for my wall if I’m not as emerging as I once was.
We’ve been having some real fun over at the Missional Tribe. After flinging the doors open a little under 48 hours ago, we have as of this moment 198 users and 82 blogs, where there have been some good posts showing up and some good conversations getting started. The groups and forums are active too, with more conversations going on than I can keep track of.
I’ve be tweaking and the other instigators have been tapping away, and the final moments are upon us. Launch day for Missional Tribe is on Epiphany, January 6th, and we have a few real goodies in store — for instance,
Just when you think the conversation might go away quietly, Bill Kinnon sticks his nose into it. But then again, he can have that way of hitting it spot-on in his commentary. Like this time. So in this running dialogue, I was going to title my post Maynard on Kinnon on Keller on Fitch on Kimball — because that’s the rough outline of the conversational thread — but then just the title of the post would be too hard to follow. As it happens, Tim Keller has responded to David Fitch’s response to what it sounded like Dan Kimball was saying on the Out of Ur blog. Keller outlines some of his experience in small and large churches, then summarizes,
When I composed my entry into the Missional Synchroblog, I suggested that of the 50 different responses in the list, there just might be 50 different definitions of missional. Some of the entries have been really top-notch, and make valuable contributions to a rounding-out of the term. While there may be some mildly contradictory views, I did want to explore what the corpus of posts is saying as a whole — or at least to summarize and interact with a few of them. Given the number of posts to wade through, this will probably be a bit of a miniseries, lest I be accused of writing too many loooong posts. We set the stage with apologies to Paul Simon.
Yesterday it seems we had something of an impromptu synchroblog going as we offered responses to the
antics ministries of John Crowder and Todd Bentley, with the labels of revival that have been tossed around. My thoughts as well as those of Robbymac, Kingdom Grace, and Bill Kinnon were born of an email conversation we had struck up following the thoughts of others, including Andrew Jones (see my earlier post for additional links). I love the graphic that Rob made up, and even Bill’s pic is a good one — he even looks thoughtful. The image on Grace’s post says a lot, and had me thinking about some years back when we were praying for a pastor for the church plant we were undertaking. A friend of mine on the team was famed for saying he’d even follow a donkey, as long as it was God’s donkey. Good line, but as I looked at the circus image, I was struck by the fact that following God’s donkey is alright, but you have to exercise discernment to make sure you don’t end up following the wrong ass. Just a general observation of course, not a characterization of anyone in particular.
A number of us have been offering our own blog-year-in-review with some of what we feel has been our best work this past year. I got to wondering what the top ten, or top three, or simply best blog post of the year would be within the emerging/missional conversation. I’ve got a few favorites and some that were personally meaningful or signficant; some that made waves, some funny… posts that stand out for a variety of reasons. I’m curious what everyone else things, but I want to put up the first two nominations, in chronological order:
I’m blaming Bill Kinnon for this post, since he’s the one who sent me the YouTube video below. At first I was concerned that a Larry Norman song might be parodied, but then I realized that it was a commentary on the times, which as anyone who was there will recall, were oh-so-Hal-Lindsay. And that about sums it up. My eschatology has changed somewhat, and I no longer consider it very loving to attempt to scare the hell out of people. You can get people to pray anything if they’re terrified enough. Anyway. I was thinking back to some *coughh4ck$plUttergh* years ago when I was working at summer camp (yes, it’s disturbing but true). Another guy and I were doing double-duty as “wranglers” in the stable and also
policing counseling a cabin of younger boys. One evening after the scheduled activities, we had to send the kids back to get ready for bed on their own (normally you supervise everything) and they did fairly well. Except for one thing… when we got back to the cabin, we discovered the kids had been talking about this movie, A Thief in the Night. Yeah, you remember.
This image, for all you kinderbloggers out there, is called a “typewriter.” You see, back in days of yore, in the “olden days”, computers hadn’t been invented, and when they were finally invented, they filled entire sterile rooms with vacuum tubes, which were little devices we used before transistors and diodes, which meant among other things that it took 90 seconds from the time you turned your radio on until the sound came out. You also didn’t want to drop your radio on the floor… but I digress. Back in these olden days of yore before computer ubiquity, we used these typewriter contraptions with mechanical actions that forced a little “arm” to strike a piece of paper through a carbonized ribbon when you struck a key. Bold? Strike the key a little harder. Edit? Argh. Those erasers always sucked… sometimes it was easier to start over or strikeout your text, depending whether or not it was a your final copy or a rough draft.
I’m battling a cold at the moment… my wife is blaming germs picked up on my trip last week. She’s probably right, she’s like that. Typically right, I mean. Which is a good introduction to the other thing she said yesterday. Last week I was talking about masculinity and gender and what it means to be a Man™. I had pre-posted it to appear while I was traveling, but on the idea that sometimes men just don’t know what it is that women want from us, I dropped in a few questions about what a “real man” was. A few people riffed on it on their own blogs, and there were some good comments. But my favorite, of course, was my wife’s, yesterday. I’m in the kitchen, (mostly) minding my own business, and in response to something I said, she whirled around, jabbed her finger in the air in my general direction, and said, “Okay, that’s a man!” I was somewhat stunned, but now I have the answer.
I’ve been intrigued for a while now with the idea of an unconference. I mean, I really got conferenced-out through the 90′s… the 80′s were still fun, but by the time the calendar rolled over “00″ I couldn’t be bothered. But The recent Allelon gathering to discuss the formation of a Missional Order looked different. I decided to give it a chance.