?> almost an M - Part 3
Dec
13

do re mi

By · Comments (0)

Last night my wife was helping a friend that has recently begun seeking to learn and live the ways of Christ. During their time together, my wife mentioned the Jewish people. In reply, our friend shared that she had heard the word Jew before, but had no idea what it meant. None.

This kind mother of four is, for several months now, seeking to teach her children to follow Christ. She is recently characterized by sharing the hope that she has because of Christ with others in her neighborhood. But she did not have a bit of knowledge about the Jewish people, the nation of Israel or any of their history either in Scripture or modern day.

Realizing this made me aware that I need to slow down and back up in my expectations of what others know. Seems like a good idea with her to now “start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” Also, our realization last night made me thankful that we are called to make disciples that obey everything Christ commanded, not disciples that are simply chock full of  knowledge.

Categories : discipleship, missiology
Comments (0)
Dec
09

making a case

By · Comments (0)

Putting up a video today that has gotten some play time lately. It was brought to my attention by a tweet from an Upstream Collective buddy and posted on the Missional Church Network. In case you have not seen it, I encourage you to make the time to work through it. Participating in the Page Lecture series at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Christoper Wright does a great job of making a case for a missional reading of Scripture.

Categories : Bible, missiology, trends
Comments (0)
Dec
07

bottom line

By · Comments (5)

Had a great time last night meeting people, hearing stories, sharing with and learning from others at the Engage@Work forum who are seeking to live out the whole gospel by seeing their work as part of the expression of their faith. The goal of the night was to begin to raise some questions about what this might look like. Special attention was given to what it may look like to conduct business in light of the triple bottom line.

For any readers that may be familiar with the idea of the bottom line, but unfamiliar with where it comes from, this is simply a number that comes from the Income Statement (some refer to this as a profit and loss statement). It is the remaining number (“in the black”) at the bottom that is calculated by taking revenues (green) and subtracting out expenses (“in the red”). Naturally, companies and individuals (and yes, even governments eventually) must pay attention to the bottom line. But the question arises, is that enough? Is making money all that business or life is about?

Socrates stated that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I would offer that evaluating business from a triple bottom line (TBL) is an attempt to do this examination thing for a business entity. And that, I would offer, is a very good thing. A TBL approach will evaluate whether or not a company is achieving their objectives in profit, people (this may include but is not limited social justice) and place (such as environmental issues, city beautification, etc.).

In extending the conversation, I would propose that doing TBL evaluation can be unwieldy. Still important conceptually, just difficult. I have seen businesses seeking to implement some dashboard metrics that included TBL issues, and found evaluation difficult because of the multiple outcomes. To aid in this, I would offer that it would be ideal to incorporate having an impact on people and/or place in the business plan as key factors that would be able to be key in our ability to also drive the monetary bottom line. Some good examples of this would include TOMS and Land of a Thousand Hills. If there is a big idea that resonates as true and worthwhile with others, then it should give a competitive advantage when all other things are equal. Even when other things such as price or ease of access are not equal, it may still give a distinct benefit that will help drive the old-fashioned bottom line.

Historically, businesses that have sought to do good have primarily done that through charitable giving. This avenue is still healthy and has great merit. But finding ways to incorporate being a blessing to others and/or to the creation we are to steward are definitely worthwhile pursuits to incorporate into business plans and practices.

Sent as Christ was sent, we are, I would offer, sent as the wise ones (among other things). So, what say you wise ones? What do we do with the TBL as we seek to live out the gospel?

Categories : business as mission
Comments (5)
Dec
06

BAM is cross-cultural

By · Comments (0)

This video quickly illustrates some of the cultural differences between a western mindset and what is the uniqueness of Russia. This provides a funny look at some extremes in culture, but also serves as a reminder of some of the challenges that lay ahead in seeking to do business as mission in a foreign context.

Categories : business as mission
Comments (0)
Dec
02

work plan

By · Comments (0)

Next week Sojourn Community Church will be hosting an Engage@Work Forum where I will be participating on a panel. In preparation for that, panelists were asked to put a paragraph down addressing “why [work] is an important issue for Christians and the church as a whole to consider.” Below is my response. Other responses will be linked here as soon as they are posted.

Work began or at least was radically altered as a result of the curse and consequence of sin as recorded in Genesis. Because of this, redemption of a person’s work is one of the key ways that evidence transformation by Christ. While this real-world working out of one’s faith is naturally a blessing to the individual, it is vastly more. In a context where bottom-line and the resulting self-gratification is often viewed as both the primary objective and metric, work that is done for the glory of God is markedly different to observers including co-workers, clients and the community. Products manufactured and services delivered with the highest levels of quality control, contributions to make more just the lives of the needy, work relationships that are healthy and others-oriented, and work policies and practices that raise the ethic levels of the business showing it to be distinctly different are some of the ways that exalt Christ in the workplace. In a day of globalization, work that is conducted in this way has potential to provide evidence of the reign of God to the nations. This transformation of work from being the curse of man to a vehicle that exalts Christ to the nations in keeping with the mission of God is a clear example of the complete redemption that comes only through Christ.

Comments (0)

Some say that we should only be concerned with the proclamation of the Gospel. That we shouldn’t concern ourselves with the community, with justice, with change…. that our task is simply to proclaim, to preach, to change individuals. Maybe it’s a knee jerk response to those believe in a social gospel which may not include proclamation. Maybe it’s because they’re afraid we’ll lose our focus and become nothing more than good people in an evil world. Maybe it’s because they’re afraid, afraid of actually having to take this faith we so value and release it off of the campus. Maybe they just don’t know how to interact with a lost world on the world’s turf. Regardless of the reason I think as we relegate our role as Christians to the singular role of proclamation we lose out on the fullness of the gospel.

Jesus said….”The Lord has put his Spirit in me, because he appointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to tell the captives they are free and to tell the blind that they can see again. God has sent me to free those who have been treated unfairly and to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness.” Luke 4:18-19, NCV

What if Coldplay’s Chris Martin has a better grasp on part of Jesus mission than we do? Chris uses his global platform to bring awareness to Oxfam and Fair Trade. He wants to see those who are oppressed, treated unfairly receive a decent wage for their product/craft and to see justice for those who have been mistreated for so long. How can we say we follow Christ, that we believe in the Kingdom come and yet live holed-up on our campuses and seminaries without concern or action for those mistreated around the world? We should be leading the way on such issues as fairtrade, human trafficking, orphans and refugees. We complain about the government having to do more, about the prostitutes on our streets, about the kids in foster care and we walk around in our robes of righteousness determined our only role is to tell them about God’s love…..God forbid we leave the temple, get dirt on our robes and show them the very love we long to proclaim.

We live in a hurting, broken world. Instead of retreating into our middle-class, republican, mostly white, puritan like world of piety what if we threw open the doors, rolled up our sleeves and set out to be agents of justice, change and love among our communities. What if we spent more money on the hurting in our community than we do on our buildings, renovations and upgrades? What if we stopped building new temples and built an orphanage on our campus? What if we stopped asking “How do I build my church?” and started asking “How can I love my city, my community, the world around me?” What if we actually cared enough to show God’s love to those we proclaim it to?

Comments (2)
Nov
15

stated religion

By · Comments (0)

With the swearing in of the new Greek Prime Minister this past week, I heard multiple news pundits share that it was really strange to see such a strong religious aspect accompany a seemingly secular event. Many references were made to separation of church and state–yes, our separation of church and state. Some personalities seemed to imply that our less religious political transfers of power should be more of the norm for other western, developed countries. The commentary was often laden with ethnocentrism mixed with disbelief that others could be so different. Disbelief that others could be so elementary or even so wrong.

Just because there are religious leaders all over the place does not make Greece or other declared Orthodox countries super-religious. This is not too different for Catholic countries as well, but one peculiarity of Orthodoxy is the nationalism that it reinforces and generates. Without a centralized Pope, many Orthodox countries have their own Patriarch. There has been a multi-century symbiotic relationship between the state and the church in these lands which I would contend continues to this day. The state has relied on the church to confirm its voice or authority as the one designated by God to lead the people. As for those of the cloth, the church has relied on the state to keep its head and shoulders connected. Whether this is actually execution, state funding, and/or unique, favorable legislation, the mode changes, but the outcome is very similar. In addition to the nationalism that this codependent relationship fosters, it also often leads to a secularization of society. Everyone is aware that there are charades afoot and all are willing and expecting to play along. Once the ceremonies are over, however, all can return to normal.

So, methinks, maybe a little less ethnocentric worldview would be good in general and especially so for the sent ones. Also, methinks that there is much to learn about how another people think, worship, live, etc. Understanding culture is a never-ending incremental process that we would do well to embrace if we are to be the ones to announce and demonstrate in  contextually appropriate ways that indeed, our God does reign.

Categories : missiology
Comments (0)
Nov
14

brewing conversation

By · Comments (4)

There is a percolating discussion on the blogosphere about the mission of the church with the release and subsequent reviews of What is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert. I first learned about this from my compadres at UC and then this morning saw a pretty exhaustive list of those critiquing the book on Stetzer’s blog.

I wanted to add my 2 cents to the conversation. First, let me state the obligatory disclaimer that I have not read the book. So now for my critique…just kidding.

Second, I have decided that these discussions make me tired. Not because they are unimportant, on the contrary I think they are very important. Thinking through why these discussions make me tired, I thought maybe it was because the debate wasn’t done over a cup of coffee. Then I dismissed this as I took a sip of my coffee and still didn’t feel the conversation to be any brighter. Then I realized it tires me because it is not done with visible eyeballs. There is something about sitting around the table or campfire or wherever and drinking a cup of coffee or tea or whatever and talking about how these things impact our lives. So, carry on the discussion, I just wish it could happen with some of my buddies where theological discussions happen best: in person, in community.

Still, I do have something I would like to offer to the conversation. Here’s a clip with Frost’s take on the purpose of the church. This seems important as Gombis states that he is “not sure that the authors are familiar with the viewpoints of missional Christians.” Consider this guy as one of the voices among the missional tribe(s).

Categories : missiology
Comments (4)
Nov
11

do good

By · Comments (2)

A friend paid it forward on my behalf. Thank you Tim! Because of his passion about seeing this injustice addressed, it became more important to me. For that reason, I wanted to share with you WaterForward.

Categories : social justice
Comments (2)
Nov
08

backwards?

By · Comments (2)

Our call is to make disciples. He builds His church.

Often it seems we give ourselves wholly to building our church and trusting her to make His disciples.

Categories : church
Comments (2)