From last week’s Missional Monday:
A missional order says…
- we will gather for formation
- we will gather to edify and strengthen
- we will gather as a rhythm –
The gathering and the sent out rhythm
-the gathering to be formed and shaped into mission
-the sending out of God’s people into mission
- we will take on disciplines of resistance to consumeristic forces
- we will adopt an alternative definition of success
I will use this as an outline for some thoughts by Len Hjalmarson and Roy Searle.
Len’s comments are taken from his post, Missional Order:Two Lenses.
I wanted to share how some of their thoughts flesh out these concepts. I hope that in removing them from their context, I have not diminished the authors’ intent. For a more complete picture, I recommend reading both of their posts in their entirety.
Because I have mixed their statements, they are color coded by author,
Len is blue, and Roy is red.
A missional order says…
We will gather for formation.
- We choose to give time to God and to prayer and to study rather than believing the lie that the kingdom is something we build in our own strength.We choose to believe the gospel that the kingdom is a gift that we receive.
- The emphasis upon spiritual formation, love of God, prayer and worship has been lost.
- I suggest that whenever God allowed his people to fall into exile one of his primary purposes was to call people back to himself, to renew their first love of him, return to his ways and renounce those things that were alien to his heart and kingdom.
- The first call upon our lives, to seek God, out of which a Way for Living that brings renewal and hope is born.
- The calling to be contemplatives in a world of action.
- The pace of contemporary life with it’s frenetic intensity and demanding preoccupations hinders a life that patiently and steadily seeks to centre on the “one thing necessary” that which really matters – seeking, worshiping and loving God.
We will gather to edify and strengthen.
- A rule of life can root and empower freedom.
- Shared exploration, a shared journey, but a journey with focus and intention.
- Challenging the church to re-examine those areas of it’s life where there is a weak sense of community, a narrow attitude of enquiry, prescribed programmes, anaemic worship styles, dead institutionalism and a disconnection from the issues of life.
- Inviting us into a deeper spiritual life.
- A life of prayer that will subvert and challenge the busyness and fragmentation of contemporary life, the driven culture that destroys people and relationships.
- Prayer as learning to listen to God, his heartbeat for the world and to know our own hearts, become priorities informing our lives, churches and communities.
The gathering and the sent out rhythm.
- As Henri Nouwen wrote, a Rule offers “creative boundaries within which God’s loving presence can be recognized and celebrated. It does not prescribe but invite, it does not force but guide, it does not threaten but warn, it does not instill fear but points to love. In this it is a call to freedom, freedom to love.”
- Our rule will involve three dimensions: God, self and other.
- Practices will be defined around inward and outward rhythm, both devotion and mission – prayer, study, and hospitality, available to God and free for His kingdom.
- Recovery of that which is at the heart of the gospel, relationship with God, our neighbours and one another.
- A Rule of Life provides a framework, a rhythm and balance of prayer and action, work and rest, study and reflection, productivity and play, cell and community.
- Where we are both alone and together, where the relationship between solitude and hospitality is exercised, where serving has priority over consuming, where authenticity reigns rather than image.
- A Rule of Life reminds us of the importance of relationships mattering more than reputation, where we cultivate generosity as opposed to calculating control, where we care for creation, express a commitment to the poor, welcome the marginalized and become a voice for the voiceless.
Resistance to consumerism.
- Our market culture is designed to keep us thinking about self and consumption., so we need culture-forming and character-forming disciplines to keep us focused on a different vision.
- We confront the lie that Imperial reality offers peace in limitless consumption and limitless growth.
- Paul writes to believers at Colossae encouraging them to follow Christ not Caesar, to live with the values of the kingdom of God not the Empire.
- For us today the dominant empire influence is not that of Rome or Caesar but Consumerism. As with the minority group of Christians at Colossae, so we too are called to live out the gospel.
- Stand against the pervasive consumerism and individualism of contemporary culture by providing a new ideal way for living. This is living out the gospel, the good news. This is our task.
An alternative culture.
- The church as an alternative (kingdom) culture.
- The disciplines that form alternative culture are alternative practices. We are formed by what we practice, our habits.
- So instead of fast, we choose slow. Instead of big, we choose small. Instead of up, we choose down. Instead of self-protection, we choose vulnerability. Instead of hording our time, we choose availability. Instead of rationalism, we choose faith. Instead of anxiety and drivenness, we choose to wait.
- Calling the entire church to a clearer and more radical witness.
- Community that counters the individualism of Western consumer culture; communities where belonging, identity, hospitality, welcome and honour are evidenced. Communities where difference and diversity are celebrated.
- That is surely the call of the gospel to tell and to live by an alternative story and therein lies the challenge to the church and our religious communities in the 21st century.