The Micah Declaration on Integral Mission

Integral mission or holistic transformation is the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. It is not simply that evangelism and social involvement are to be done alongside each other. Rather, in integral mission our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life. And our social involvement has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.

If we ignore the world, we betray the word of God that sends us out to serve the world. If we ignore the word of God, we have nothing to bring to the world. Justice and justification by faith, worship and political action, the spiritual and the material, personal change and structural change belong together. As in the life of Jesus, being, doing and saying are at the heart of our integral task.

The grace of God is the heartbeat of integral mission. God by his grace has given local churches the task of integral mission the future of integral mission is in planting and enabling churches to transform the communities of which they are part. Churches as caring and inclusive communities are at the heart of what it means to do integral mission.

Wonsuk Ma and Brian Woolnough, eds., Holistic Mission: God’s Plan for God’s People (Eugene, OR: Regnum, 2010)

contextualization

covrGraham Hill in Global Church (IVP, 2016, 33) quotes Kosuke Koyama,

“Contextualization of theology implies two critical movements. First, to articulate Jesus Christ in culturally appropriate, communicatively apt words; and second, to criticize, reform, dethrone, or oppose culture if it is found to be against what the name of Jesus Christ stands for.”(Water Buffalo Theology, 1999, xiii-xv)

“Al Tizone examines postcolonialism in the Philippines. He says that it can teach the global church a lot about healthy local-global conversations. Filipiono contextual theology resists many Western forms of mission and theology. It finds them patronizing and controlling. This indigenous theology values prophetic sociopolitical engagement in institutions and the society at large. It emphasizes ministry to whole persons and communities. It constructs a Filipino theology of beauty and mission and worship and community. And it fosters indigenous theological approaches to the spirit world and cosmology.” Hill, 36

“Orlando Costas says that we must root our contextualization and contextual mission in Scripture and in the incarnation. Scripture, after all, is contextual…” (Hill, 49) Costas writes, “The incarnation turns theology proper and anthropology into a Christological issue. It also makes contextualization an inevitable and indispensable process for a proper understanding and communication of the Christian faith.” (Christ Outside the Gate, 1982, 12).

“We must contextualize offshore models and theologies of church and mission if we are going to be faithful to the gospel. We also need to catalyze first-level, homegrown theology and approaches to mission and church. To do this well, we had best examine Scriptures, traditions and cultures.” Hill, 49

This is as far as I read last night and this section looks particularly interesting. I’ll try to make a second post from the book on the weekend. For now, the majority of the TOC —

Part I: Salt: Reshaping Our Conversations
2. Glocalizing Conversations

Part II: Light: Renewing Our Mission
3. Contextualizing Mission
4. Liberating People
5. Showing Hospitality
6. Embracing the Spirit
7. Caring for Creation
8. Living Ethically
9. Transforming Neighborhoods

Part III: City: Revitalizing Our Churches
10. Indigenizing Faith
11. Devouring Scripture
12. Renewing Education
13. Practicing Servantship
14. Recovering Community
15. Developing Spirituality and Discipleship
16. GlobalChurch: Embracing a New Narrative

See also GlobalChurchProject

the Holy Spirit in mission

After an extensive biblical discussion, particularly anchored in the book of Luke, Gary Tyra argues that that which is implicit in so many volumes on contextualization and missional engagement must be made explicit.

The Holy Spirit will speak to us through our imaginative dialogue with the biblical text and the cultural context. In other words, given what we have learned about the prominence of prophetic activity among the earliest Christians and those who are ministering in the Majority World, the process of ministry contextualization should be said to involve a conversation with three entities not two: the biblical text, the cultural context and the Spirit of mission!” p. 139

faithful presence

faithful presence
In Christian theological frames the church is usually seen as existing in the world at the confluence of three circles: Community, Formation (worship), and Witness (Mission). These actions and postures are all the work of the Spirit in the people of God for the sake of the world. What is interesting to me is that these circles are strongly interdependent, and also have certain emergent properties, so that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

Community is all those elements of shared life and must be much more than Sunday mornings. The more significant interactions the members have with one another the other six days, the more vital will be those Sunday gathers. Moreover, the more vital the formational aspects of shared life (study, bible teaching, sacraments, care and compassion) the more vital will be community and mission.

Mission is any component of life that is shared for the sake of the world. But local mission is most critical in the life of a local church. In what ways are we a visible sign of God’s presence in the world? How do we collectively and individually show the love of Jesus? The stronger this component of our life, the more we will value the intentional aspects of community and communal formation.

If these things are one, they also become diagnostic. I’ve been part of perhaps a dozen churches in my life, and observed many more. Churches tend to specialize in one of these circles, to the detriment of others. So, some churches are strong at community, others at mission, others at formation. If those strengths truly become imbalances, for example, great at community and formation, weak at witness, then eventually those first two circles suffer. But if you find a people who are really hitting on all three cylinders, something beautiful happens. There is a life and vitality of expression that transcends human ability – faithful presence happens. In their book The New Parish, Sparks, Soerens and Friesen talk about how this can happen in a neighbourhood as our imagination is renewed, and our dependence on God is strengthened.

the secret of the gifts

by Paul Flucke

The story has been told for centuries now. The story of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar and the gifts they brought to the newborn king. And of how they saw the star and followed it for weeks, across mountain and valley and desert. In stately procession on their swaying beasts, they came and place their treasures at the feet of the infant Savior.

And what were their gifts? Ah, you say, everyone knows that. They brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. So, since the earliest days, the story has been told… More

Advent IV

In the first centuries the Church had a beautiful custom of praying seven great prayers calling afresh on Christ to come, calling him by the mysterious titles he has in Isaiah, calling to him; O Wisdom. O Root! O Key O Light! come to us! Malcolm writes,

“Of all the mystic titles of Christ, this is the one that connects most closely with our ‘secular’ psychology. We speak of the need on the one hand for ‘closure’ and on the other for ‘unlocking’, for ‘opening’, for ’liberation’. The same ideas are also there in the lines from O Come O Come Emmanuel that are drawn from this antiphon, which could easily be part of anybody’s work in good therapy:

“Make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.”

“I see this antiphon, and the sonnet I wrote in response to it, as the ‘before’ picture that precedes the beautiful fifth antiphon O Oriens about Christ as the Dayspring. When l wrote this sonnet I found that I had at last written something clear about my own experience of depression. I hope that others who have been in that darkness will find it helpful.”

O Clavis

Even in the darkness where I sit
And huddle in the midst of misery
I can remember freedom, but forget
That every lock must answer to a key,
That each dark clasp, sharp and intricate,
Must find a counter-clasp to meet its guard,
Particular, exact and intimate,
The clutch and catch that meshes with its ward.
I cry out for the key I threw away
That turned and over turned with certain touch
And with the lovely lifting of a latch
Opened my darkness to the light of day.
O come again, come quickly, set me free
Cut to the quick to fit, the master key.

Malcolm Guite, Sounding the Seasons (London: Canterbury Press, 2012)