Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Re-Thinking Mission

Over the past number years I have had tons of conversations and thoughts about the concept of Christian mission. I grew up thinking of "mission" or "missions" as being one thing, but have begun to wonder if it is not something entirely different. For lack of time at the moment, I'll save those thoughts for another post, but this quote from Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's, The Wisdom of Stability, does a great job of quickly summarizing some of my own thoughts on the subject.
"To imagine stability as mission is not to assume that we will change our neighbors and the broken places where we are if only we can muster the resolve to stick it out. Rather, it is to acknowledge that there is good news in this place--stability that we might not have seen at first, but without which we could not even begin. If God is faithful in exile and present in human flesh, then everything--every place--is now holy. We learn to enjoy the fruit of stability as we embrace God's mission where we are."

Another Hilarious & Provocative Cartoon

While I almost always LOVE the prophetic and provocative cartoons of David Hayward (Naked Pastor), this one was too good not to share. This cartoon is entitled "He Came in Like a Wrecking Ball." So good. So culturally appropriate. So seasonally appropriate. Enjoy!

HT: Naked Pastor

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Striving for Stability

I've begun to realize, over the past year, that I have developed a rhythm of instability. The 12 or 13 years of my adult life have been laced with stories of impermanence and fluctuation. I've failed to put down roots. I've constantly kept moving. In fact, Mandy and I have lived in 10 different homes and 3 different cities in our 10 years of marriage. Yikes.

And now as we near our 1-year-anniversary here in Bozeman, I'm having to fight back some small, yet noticeable, urges to search for the next thing. It seems that even home-ownership has not completely removed this subconscious tendency toward change and instability. It's not like I'm dissatisfied with life and experiencing signs of depression (I have known those feeling before, however) and I'm certainly not leaving my job or Bozeman, but there is just a slight urging within me toward change and upheaval. And it makes sense that I'm feeling that way, because I've spent the last decade cultivating and succumbing to those desires. But I'm tired of that way of life. I'm ready to plant roots, stay somewhere, and foster stability in my family's life. I'm ready to know that my community today will still be my community in 10 years.

I've been reading a book by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove called The Wisdom of Stability that has been really helpful in both illuminating some of my problems and helping me move past them. He says some really beautiful things about community and stability and I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in community, place, and putting down roots. In the final chapter of the book he says this:
"Stay put and pay attention--learn to trust God in the place where you are--and you will have a front seat for the revolution that Christian tradition calls conversion. Stability transforms us along with the place where we are."
These words are incredibly enlightening and will continue to haunt me as I wrestle through this issue moving forward.

Monday, December 2, 2013

An Advent Prayer from Walter Brueggemann

Newborn Beginning…After Caesar

And while we wait for the Christ Child,
we are enthralled by the things of Caesar -
money … power … control
and all the well-being that comes from
such control, even if it requires violence

But in the midst of the decree will come this long-expected Jesus
innocent, vulnerable,
full of grace and truth,
grace and not power,
truth and not money,
mercy and not control.

We also dwell in the land of Caesar;
we pray for the gift of your spirit,
that we may loosen our grip on the things of Caesar,
that we may turn our eyes toward the babe,
our ears towards the newness,
our hearts toward the gentleness,
our power and money and control
toward your new governance.

-from Prayers for a Privileged People, 2008: p. 37