Friday 20 June 2014

Journal of Missional Practice (Spring/Summer 2014)

The Spring/Summer 2014 edition – devoted to ‘Context and Community’ – has just been posted, containing the following keynotes and articles:

This chapter, the first in the book The New Parish, explains how we lost our capacity to be the ‘local church’ – a body of Christians learning to share life faithfully together in, with and for a particular place. The second, living above place, develops from the habits and structures which conceal how our actions impact each other. Proximity in the new parish however reconnects us within our shared contexts, people and land, in all our diversity. Unlike the old idea of parish, this connection welcomes partnerships and collaboration. For any church this on-the-ground reality is a dare to faith and an invitation to participate with the Triune God in community transformation.

Lord Glasman begins by organizing his thoughts around three key TMN concepts. Discerning our common good takes relationship and time. It has to be located in and with in our local communities. Forming happens inside a shared imaginative space that has been shaped by a tradition – in this case Christianity. A Christian imagination affords high value to reciprocity and responsibility, to vocation and worthwhile work done well. Working together towards the common good requires the risk of joining across all ideological divides because meeting the challenges of dispossession, wage disparity and usury will require many disparate groups participating together in the public square. The church has traditionally protected this space, a place for the politics of the common good, and a place where there is room for love in the mundane details of life. It is this re-inhabiting of the common space in the local, where the church needs to express its life and faith.

In the missional conversation, there has been a lot of talk about the need for a new imagination in the church but less attention to how imagination is actually formed and how we might get there.  This paper will examine the bodily formation of imagination and will suggest that Jesus was on to something vital when he sent his disciples two by two to be hosted by Samaritans. He was inviting them into the habits and routines of a stranger and stripping them of all cultural capital.  At a time when skepticism of the church is massive and well grounded, Luke 10 offers an urgently need needed doorway from anxiety to engagement. Re-visioning the agency of God and re-discovering an authentic encounter between the Gospel and our culture may require a radical dislocation from the comforts of home.

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