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.”
Yesterday I posted an overview of the Didache to introduce what it is and where it came from, but essentially it’s an early Christian document from around the same time that the New Testament itself was still being written. “Didache” means “teaching”, and the document provides a compilation of (probably) oral tradition about what the apostles taught concerning community life. Today I’m blogging on Chapter 6 of Tony Jones‘ newest book, The Teaching of Twelve: Believing & Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community. The Didache is not a long document, but it is instructive for the fact that it deals with practical community matters during a time of liminality when the church was just coming to birth. We ought to imagine that it will offer us insight for a time when the church is undergoing a rebirth.
Philotheos Bryennios was born in March of 1833 at Constantinople. He was educated at the Theological School in Chalce of the Great Church of Christ and the universities of Leipsic, Berlin, and Munich, and in 1861 became professor of ecclesiastical history, exegesis, and other studies at Chalce. He was appointed master and director at Chalce in 1863, though he soon resigned these two positions. In 1867 he was called to Constantinople to be the head of the “Great School of the Nation” in the Phanar, or Greek quarter of Constantinople. He remained there until 1875 when he was sent by the Most Holy Synod of metropolitans and patriarchs to the Old Catholic conference at Bonn, where he receved a patriarchal letter announcing his appointment as metropolitan of Serrae in Macedonia. In 1877 he was transferred to the metropolitan see of Nicodemia, and in 1880 went to Bucharest on behalf of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchal and other independent churches to participate in a commission dealing with Greek monastaries that had been plundered in Moldavia and Wallachia. In 1882, at the instance of the Holy Synod of Metropolitans in Constantinople and the patriarch Joachim Il., he wrote a reply (published by the Holy Synod) to the encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII concerning the Slavic apostles Cyrillus and Methodius. The man was no theological slouch, and despite this list of accomplishments, none of these are the thing for which he is most remembered following his death in 1914 or 1918.
In my previous post, I reflected briefly on a recent post by David Fitch about the Sunday morning gathering in the local church. He suggests that contrary to the position taken by some missional thinkers now, the Sunday gathering is not non-missional — or at least, it doesn’t have to be despite “the problem of the attractional inertia surrounding the Sunday morning worship gathering.”
A lot of this has to do with how we view the gathering in the first place. In introducing the subject, Fitch writes,
Getting the kids a Wii for Christmas seemed innocuous enough. This observation, of course, is filled with foreboding. Some friends recently purchased a 47″ flat-panel television and graciously gave us their old 32″ conventional television. It’s a nice RCA which required only the purchase of a remote. Naturally, this goes well with the Wii that the kids don’t yet know about… but they’ve already been using the big TV with the $20 unit we got them a few years ago to play Ms. Pac-Man, Rally-X, Galaga, and a few other classic arcade games. The plan was to finish up the basement rec room so the kids could play on the Wii or watch movies down there, leaving the main floor free and quiet for us in the evenings now that the kids are too old to bundle off to bed at 7:00PM.
Vineet Nayar in a Harvard Business publication says It’s Time to Invert the Management Pyramid, which Ryan Bolger follows up by saying We Must Invert the Pastor Pyramid. I’m not really very big on chasing down business strategies to apply to the church, but it’s always striking to notice how all the really good organizational ideas that the churches adopt are ones which the business realm has had a grasp on for a decade or more. With this in mind, whether one takes the result as a prescription or not, it is instructive to take note when the business realm begins to find fault with their old organizational method and begins imagining or suggesting an alternative structure. The Harvard article states,
Bill Kinnon is entirely to blame, but at least this time it’s not a bad thing. So far he has recommended Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations on his blog a couple of times, and the same to me via email a couple of times, and now on the telephone the other day, he did it again. What could I do? Armed with a $30 gift certificate I’d gotten for my birthday, I headed down to McNally Robinson and paid full price, in person at a bricks-and-mortar retail establishment (remember those?) to nab the last copy on the shelf.
If anyone’s been counting carefully through the previous eight posts, they’ll notice two things. First, there are more than 50 ways to define missional. At least, there are more than 50 posts on the subject which have appeared in connection with the June 23rd synchroblog which got this whole mess going. Secondly, the astute observer will notice that I’ve skipped summarizing one of the posts — my own. I’ll rectify that today, and then carry on with some kind of synthesis of everything else that’s been said in this little adventure. Oh, and my apologies to anyone who’s getting tired of the Blues Brothers image… I don’t normally reuse my post images, but I thought I’d try a unifying image for this series as a visual tip that they go together.
When I 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), I don’t think I fully thought through the question of just how much material there would be to interact with. Nevertheless, I’m past the halfway mark and most of the major concepts have been introduced already, so we might be able to pick up the pace. We shall see. As I sift through the many posts, I keep thinking back to the missional series I started last summer to better define the term. Like the synchroblog, it was born of a frustration with the misuse of the term that many of us began to observe more than a year ago now.
Last week I 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) in an effort to describe the meaning of the word “missional.” The project was born out of a frustration with the misuse of the term, as expressed by several of us. This was also the impetus for the major series I undertook last summer on the subject. I had left it aside for a while, but am still hoping to revive my work on the topic for eventual publishing.
Somewhat by accident this week, I started a series examining and interacting with some of the posts from the missional synchroblog in which I participated this week along with 49 other “official” entries and a few unofficial ones. Having already apologized to Paul Simon, today’s set is the “make a new plan, Stan” series.
Cobus Van Wyngaard weighs in by invoking David Bosch’s Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission right in the post title. This is one of the keystone works for understanding missional, so it’s good that somebody brought it into the fray. Leaving the definition to others, he chose to explore the question, “Why the missional church?” Although often credited with the term missio Dei, he writes that “Bosch is simply giving an overview of how the concept has developed since 1932 onwards.”