Friday, June 25, 2010

Compassion, the Missio Dei, and the Great Chasm

Several months ago, two articles I wrote were in the NPH Communicator, a small six-page "thing" (I'm not sure what to call it) that is 50% advertisements.  They used to archive the issues here, but they stopped between my two articles (I wonder what I did!).  It's just as well, because some of the teeth of the second installment were yanked out (my first experience with publishing and editing...oh well).

Anyway, I have posted what I originally wrote here and here.

The problem is that I'm nowhere even close to living up to those two articles.  I'm not saying that I lied, but that when I read what I wrote, I know that it's an ideal that few live up to.

There was some response to the articles, mostly friends saying, "Hey, I read your article!" and nothing more.  But some others varied on a range of responses from "Jeremy, that was pretty provocative," to "I really appreciated what you said."

I continue to loathe the chasmic separation between what I understand the missio dei to be and how I and the community of which I'm a part actually live.  There's obviously a hole in the transformative nature of preaching and teaching if it doesn't move from the ears and heart to the hands and feet.  I know I need to work on this.

But in the meantime...it often makes me sad, and greatly detracts from my self-efficacy.  And it's not even so much that I wish I were "more effective" in leading people to follow in Christ, but that at the end of the day, I long to live what I know to be truth in Christ.

I was talking with a mentor a couple of weeks ago.  Ron Benefiel and Roger Hahn were in town to present at a conference about missional theology and practice.  I got frustrated as they were presenting - not at them, necessarily, but at the Church, of which I am a part.  And I got frustrated again at our own context.  I reflected with Ron after about how I sometimes think that living missionally is an easier thing to figure out in urban contexts than it is where we are, in an upper-class suburb.  (Please note that I did not say that it's easier to live out the mission, but simply that it's easier to know what we should be doing.)  Ron agreed with me, but it may have simply been out of pastoral concern and support.  :-)

I don't really have a conclusion to this post...just typing out some random thoughts (and I have been meaning to post those articles for a while).

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