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Telling Secrets

faith, fatherhood, and culture

Evangelicalism in Sheep's Clothing?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

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The term "Missional" has become the new buzz word in churchdom. Everyone wants to be missional even more than everyone wanted to be "emergent"--many eschewed the emergent movement, but only a rare few cast asparagus upon the missional movement. But I fear much of the language used to describe what it means to be "missional" sounds awfully famliar.

Wendell Berry writes: "I have had with my friend Wes Jackson a number of useful conversations about the necessity of getting out of movements — even movements that have seemed necessary and dear to us — when they have lapsed into self-righteousness and self-betrayal, as movements seem almost invariably to do. People in movements too readily learn to deny to others the rights and privileges they demand for themselves...The worst danger may be that a movement will lose its language either to its own confusion about meaning and practice, or to pre-emption by its enemies."

Has "being missional" already been coopted? Is it evangelicalism's last ditch effort at survival? Or is it a true and good pattern of spiritual thought and behavior?

  1. Blogger Petronia said:

    My first response was yes, it could be the former. Then I thought about how converts to Orthodoxy often come with a genuine desire to be Orthodox, yet it takes a while for them to let go of pet ideas (like democracy in the church--not in Orthodoxy!) Often they try to force their idea into the Orthodox mold, which of course never works, and eventually they either go back where they started, find an "Orthodox" church that thinks the same way or they keep on the path and gain the Orthodox mindset. Maybe a similar thing is happening with the missional movement: maybe here you have people who are no longer Evangelicals, yet they have not yet rid themselves of the very mindset they are trying to leave (or change). Maybe not wolves in sheep's clothing, just slightly confused, wandering sheep.

    I agree with the quote about movements. It's a good point. But if not for movements such as these, how will the church move forward and keep up with the ever-changing world/culture?--is that important for the church? Because if the church needs to adapt with the changes, then it needs these movements to sort of reinvent itself.

    I actually have no idea what I'm talking about. I hope to read some other responses. Thanks for the interesting topic.

  1. Blogger David A. Zimmerman said:

    Hey Caleb: Are you going to PUBU in November, by any chance? I'd love to hear more about Deliberate.

  1. Blogger Xen Xen said:

    Hola! I know that we have yet to meet, but in God's time we will, if it is His will....in any case, our Petie said she thought it was interesting what you wrote and if I had a minute, give it a read. I must agree that it is interesting, the only thing for me when I was reading it was what kept going on in my head everytime I heard the word "movement"....(or maybe it just kept knocking at the door of my brain, who knows?)...Anyway, it makes me think about why do we need movement when our goal is to be still that we may better hear God, that we may better see His works? It is my daily goal to attain stillness, movement just tires me out and keeps me busified that I do not focus on God as I ought, very much my own fallen fault. What a lifelong goal it is and what a lofty one at that. I suppose in order to do His work we must be in motion, but perhaps if we are still He may better guide our feet along His path.
    Of course, what do I know of God and His will and intention. Just 2 cents worth, Xenia

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