I remember when it was a “missional” conversation. Dialogue was crucial to reactivating the latent mission DNA of Jesus’ Church. I remember when “missional” was the opposite of “attractional.” What ever happened to that? I remember when nothing was missional and everything became missional. I remember when missional first grew legs and supposedly stepped out of emergent’s primordial ooze. Everyone was talking about it. Everyone, it seemed was part of the conversation.
Was it just too hard, too foreign, or too edgy? Maybe folks just got tired of being fed definitions instead of being allowed and encouraged to discover. Maybe it $lithered out of fashion as it cut into too many bottom lines of too many local churches. I don’t know. What I do know, is that I loved the conversation, I loved the provocations, and I loved how the conversation was awakening the sleeping giant of Jesus’ mission in every believer. I loved that the church was talking again.
ENTER THE GURUS, GRIFTERS, AND GOATEES
It became cool, trendy, and dare say, hipster. Then it started. It started getting defined, redefined, co-opted, and convoluted. You had to be ‘smart’ to be missional. You had to keep one beat ahead of the conversation to perpetuate bohemian rhapsody.* You had to stop actually doing mission to allow more time for theoretical postulation and pontification. If you didn’t, you could be non-eschatologically ‘left behind.’
THE THRILL IS GONE BABY
The Missional Midrash** has been ripped away, taken captive, and incorporated. Must Missional instigators answer to the newly canonized missional inquisitors? One definition of poverty is the lack of having a voice in your own community. Are the missionally advantaged causing their own brand of poverty? Where are the prophets? Where are the diagnosticators of the dialogue? Where are the course correctors? Where has the conversation gone?
This is Part I of a series… I’d invite you to leave your comments below.
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*Rhapsody – Music; an instrumental composition irregular in form and suggestive of improvisation. An ecstatic expression of feeling or enthusiasm. An epic poem, or a part of such a poem, suitable for recitation at one time. An unusually intense or irregular piece of prose. Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
** What’s Midrash Precious? – Midrash is a way of helping to understand scripture via conversation. It has basically two forms. The first seeks to fill in gaps to a narrative or an idea. The second poses contradictory ideas so that unanimity doesn’t codify truth. Midrash is simply permitted, encouraged, healthy, and fruitful debate.