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,
- Kingdom Grace’s famous emerging/missional posters have been expanded from 20 to 40, with the complete set debuting on the Tribe site.
- Around mid-day (in North America), Bill Kinnon will release the first of a three-part video conversation between Ed Stetzer and David Fitch.
- An article by David Dunbar
- In the Missional Tribe Blogs, you’ll find an article reprint from LIFE: A First Nations Ministry Report to the Friends of Wiconi International on indigenous tribes gathering in Israel, and profile of Andrew and Debbie Jones as “Everyday DiscipLeaders”.
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.
“The problem is all inside your head”, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to define “missional”
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: