Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Missional Church?

Since this is a work popping about in UU blogs of late, it might be nice to sort out what it means.

For starters here. A list which I think excludes us, but hey, I'm open. Educate me.

And Wikipedia on Missio Dei and the German Theologian (of course!) who coined the word,
In 1934, Karl Hartenstein, a German missiologist, coined the phrase in response to Karl Barth and his emphasis on actio Dei (Latin for “the action of God”).

When kept in the context of the Scriptures, missio Dei correctly emphasizes that God is the initiator of His mission to redeem through the Church a special people for Himself from all of the peoples (τα εθνη) of the world. He sent His Son for this purpose and He sends the Church into the world with the message of the gospel for the same purpose.[1]

According to David J. Bosch, "mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. God is a missionary God."[2] Jurgen Moltmann says, "It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church."[3] There is church because there is mission, not vice versa. The Church must not think its role is identical to the missio Dei; the Church is participating in the mission of God. The church's mission is a subset of a larger whole mission. That is, it is part of God's mission to the world and not the entirety of God's work in the world.
I'm usually left perplexed by God's actions. If someone's blind to God's hand too, I perfectly understand. A UU should be left to believe in nothing for sometimes nothing's all we can make out.

While our UU History important, and sadly unexamined by most save the Boston Unitarian, we're no longer a Christian Church and welcome not only unbelievers, but even those of thin or wishy-washy faith.

If that's the label an Evangelical slaps upon us, maybe we should respond, one can indeed be a UU of very wishy-washy faith. We are not ashamed.

We are at our best perhaps when offering a home to just that sort of thin, wishy-washy, believer, changing belief at whim,  not because our mood's vary, but because Creation does. We're just trying to find what fits, and as BU tells us that's often, and maybe must be, a very lonely task: ....from William Alger's "The Solitudes of Nature and of Man: or the Loneliness of Human Life"

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