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.
I received an email from Rob Robinson about a half hour ago informing me that Rick Meigs (who blogs at The Blind Beggar, is behind Friend of Missional and is one of the seven Missional Tribe instigators) has been in a motorcycle accident and is in critical condition. Rick is an avid motorcyclist, and was at the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally. an email I received from him earlier this week said (in part),
I’ve been doing a series examining the posts from the collection of definitions in the recent missional synchroblog in which I participated with a total of 50 bloggers (plus a few unofficial entries). This exercise is perhaps becoming a bit of an appendix to the missional series I did last summer, doing an extensive consideration of the term.
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:
Do you remember ever noticing, as a kid perhaps, that after repeating any common word often enough, it eventually starts to sound like a meaningless jumble of syllables? I’ve written extensively on defining ‘missional’ in the past and don’t want to cover all the same ground again… but up to the present time, it appears that the word “missional” has had so much repetition of late that it has begun to lose it’s meaning — it’s just all so much “missional soup.” This is the trend I identified more than a year ago and which led to my series on the subject last summer. The trend has not changed though, and if anything it’s getting worse rather than better. This is true of people both inside and outside of the missional conversation taking place around the globe. I have seen the word “missional” used to describe programs, as a synonymic substitute for “seeker-sensitive” or the emerging church, and for the sending of missionaries to other cultures in the 2/3 World. I have seen posts on “how to start a missional conversation” and on… well, missional shampoo. None of these uses gets to the heart of what I consider to actually be missional, and some of them are contradictory.
We’re in the midst of our conversations around a missional order here at Seabeck. It’s a beautiful little spot on Seabeck Bay near Puget Sound, pictured above through the eyes of Google. Thus far it’s been great to meet some people I’ve talked with on the phone or via email only, and to see again people I’ve met before but don’t get to see in person that often. The conversation is shaping up nicely, and the group of people here is rapidly becoming one of no-longer-strangers. On Monday evening I was standing in a group of five guys that included Andrew (Tall Skinny Kiwi) Jones and Rick (The Blind Beggar) Meigs, watching them piece together my name tag (which doesn’t say “Brother Maynard”) with my blog. The five of us decided to go in search of a pub with decent taps, and by the time we were piling into a car, we were joined by to more carloads of people that included Mark and Jeanette Priddy and Bill and Imbi Kinnon and others. You can click on the image above to view a Google map and search around for the little town nearby (Silverdale) where we got bounced from two different bars when they tried to card Imbi. Mark helpfully ran across the street to find a bar that promised not to card her, and we were set.