I spent the day being wrongly labelled.
Courtesy of blah I’m listening to Hirsch and Frost’s take on mission. Feeling the ‘missional pulse’ of how to be church in a culture where people are not interested. The importance of recognising the need for proximity, presence, powerlessness, proclamation. The DNA of mission - mDNA. Contrasting communication and hair styles is mixing the day up nicely – although I’m sure I suffer from a form of dyslexia connected with complicated diagrams!!
Hirsch and Frost are challenging all things parochial, all things settled, all things institutional, all things Christendom. Challenging Church Growth (defined as ‘Christendom on steroids!’) but interestingly offering as an alternative a jazzed up evangelical ‘friendship evangelism’ re-mix. Their outward emphasis for mission is healthy with a strong identification of the realities of being church in the post Christian west. Their message is compelling, well presented.
I look around the attendees - all labelled – best lovingly described as an "All-age Christian Union" but varied from their piercings to greenbelt t-shirts to novelty musical socks – I’m left thinking.
There is more to church than going water ski-ing and reading a psalm. There is more to church than growing a mullet and racing model cars! I’m left thinking I’m not sure that their ‘either/or’ approach or their exaggeration of IC strengthens their discussion. I’m left thinking where does the ancient/modern tension, the strength and beauty of heritage fit? I’m left thinking what does the missional church look like in its community? I’m left thinking why do people keep calling me Graham?
Perhaps some strands are missing, but only - I believe - in that time is against them. Dialogue is restricted. A strong theme "Christology should determine our Missiology, which then in turn should affect our Ecclesiology" is coursing through their comments which leaves me feeling comfortable that with more dialogue the role of the church missionally would have come through loud and strong. I like their premise of engagement, of working towards inspiring people to ask – "who are these people?"
I leave – a day well spent. I’ve met some intriguing people, made connections with those until now were just names in blogland!. I take my name tag off – I look at it Graham Cotterill??
Nothing worse than being wrongly labelled!
I'm left thinking when people are looking and are provoked into ‘asking who you are?’ sometimes labels that are wrong are not that helpful!! In this ‘emerging’ church culture of the latest pre-fix and dot abbreviation I think we need to be careful!
Rob has more reflections that are worth checking.