Monthly Archives: March 2008

Definition of Missions

I was reading through Transforming Mission again this week and found this definition of mission that I really enjoyed:

Mission therefore means being involved in the ongoing dialogue between God, who offers his salvation, and the world, which – enmeshed in all kinds of evil – craves that salvation. (Bosch, p.400).

The qoute acknowledges that first and foremost mission is above all God’s mission (missio Dei).  He is reaching and at work in the world.  It is because loving the world with the Gospel of Grace was first God’s mission that we the church are able to do so, both in word and action.  That is the other reason I like the quote so much, it is broad enough that it does not give priority to word or deed in defining mission.  For so long the church has tried to give an order of importance when it comes to mission.  Do we preach the Gospel or do we live in such a way that fights for justice and love our enemies as ourselves?  We must realize that you can no longer separate the two.  There is no either/or.  It is time that Christians “repudiate as demonic the attempt to drive a wedge between evangelism and social concern.” (Bosch, p.406).

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The World is Gone…

I was looking through some of my books in college and found Soveriegnties in Question: The Poetics of Paul Celan, by Jacques Derrida. I don’t remember what class this book was used for (maybe Contemporary Religious Thought?), but I remember not being able to read it very well! In the book Derrida tries to interpret, or struggle, with the meaning of Celan’s poems (a man who himself is hard to read). There is one section that we read that I found very interesting and always seem to pick up the book to read it again. The chapter deals with a conversation between Derrida and Gadamer, but it is the Celan poem that I find so interesting. The last line of the poem, carrying the charge of the poem, reads, “The world is gone, I must carry you.” I have always found this line fascinating and it obviously speaks of a relationship.  But who is the I and who is the other?  I often ponder what it means when viewed in the context of my relationship with Jesus.  It very much seems to speak of a relationship of deep love and devotion, what greater relationship is there?  So who is the I and who is the Other in the line?  I think the line can be interpreted both ways, the I is me and the Other is Jesus and vice versa.

The first interpretation seems negative at first glance. It seems to suggest that Jesus is powerless and without his followers or the church He would simply cease to exist in this world (although there is still the Holy Spirit, so He would still have a presence in the world). I don’t think that is what the line means at all. Rather it should be interpreted through a hermeneutic of love instead of power. It is not necessarily that the world is gone, or the world of the Other, but my world is gone, turned upside down, forever changed. The world is gone, I must carry you because what you did for me. As Derrida writes, “as soon as I speak to you and am responsible for you, or before you, there can be no longer, essentially, be any world.” He continues, “I am alone with you, alone to you alone; we are alone: this declaration is also an engagement.” So rather than a relationship of power, where only one is vulnerable, it is one of love, where both are vulnerable. Did Jesus not make himself vulnerable when he entrusted His message to us, the fallen humans that we are? But does that not make Him that much more beautiful? His love for us that much more beautiful? “To bear this poem is to put oneself within its grasp, to put it within the other’s grasp, to give it to the other to bear.” To accept Jesus’ love is to put oneself within His grasp, but He is also putting himself within ours’, entrusting us to carry out His message, His love, and Himself to the world.

The second interpretation is also beautiful. It is truly one of salvation – the world is fallen (gone), so I will carry you. It becomes a picture of divine love. His love compelled him to carry us through, to be with us. Our response can only be this: “I only believe in Jesus Messiah; I am carried away and enraptured in him, in such a way that ‘I do not live, but the Messiah lives in me'” (from Giorgio Agamben’s The Time That Remains).

I do not think that either interpretation is very different from the other. Both, I think, when interpreted with love, show a beautiful relationship between a fallen creation and a loving God. A sublime picture of reckless abandon for each other.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Small Group + Coffee + Cookies = Outreach!

This is a blog that Wayne wanted me to type up for the church website, so I thought I would post it here as well. It kind of gives you insight into the way that Crosspoint tries to reach out to Spring Hill.

Small Group + Coffee + Cookies = Outreach!

Hello Crosspoint!
As most of you know, small groups are now in full swing and many of you have had the opportunity already this semester to reach out into our community in some act of kindness. We have made a huge commitment to find some way to serve Spring Hill every week this year and so far, in large part through small groups, we have been able to do so. I just want to say thanks to those who have jumped into this with us and if you are in a small group that has served so far then you rock! Hopefully this blog will be an encouragement to everyone involved in outreach, but especially those small groups who have not been able to serve yet!
Amber and I lead the college small group and back when timed jumped ahead we did our outreach project. Taking advantage of the lack of sleep everyone was about to get that night, we decided it would be fun to give everyone coffee for an extra jolt the next morning! So that Saturday our small group gave away single packets of Folgers Coffee outside three of the shopping centers along highway 50 and it was a blast! We would hand people the coffee with an outreach card and told them not to forget to set their clocks forward. People loved it! A lot of them look at us funny at first but then left either smiling or laughing. And, as always, we got the why question quite a bit. We simply told them “We just wanted to show you God’s love in a practical way, no strings attached, and we figured everyone could use some extra caffeine in the morning.” Some people asked more questions and some did not, and that is ok. Now we just have to trust that the Holy Spirit is working in their lives and that He used that interaction to speak into their lives.
This week we also baked cookies. Our small group actually meets in an apartment complex and many of the neighbors see this big group of college kids coming around every week. So we decided to bake cookies for everyone in the apartment complex and invite them to celebrate Easter this Sunday! While the girls cooked, Jonathon Lamb and I delivered. I love seeing the reaction on people’s faces when you give them a gift! People were genuinely thankful and surprised! Better yet, they now all know that we are there and some even expressed interest in coming to the group! It was a simple act, no pressure and no strings, yet we have faith that God spoke into those people’s lives and fulfilled His purpose (Isaiah 55:10-11).
The heart of our small groups must become a reflection of the heart of our church and our first core value is that people matter to God! All people! That means those inside of our walls and those outside. Lets stop waiting for them to come to us and lets take the love and grace of Jesus to them!

2 Comments

Filed under Other

existing for those outside

Since I began my internship at Crosspoint Church I have learned a lot about loving those outside of the church.  Wayne has taught Amber and I so much about the church existing for those outside of its walls.  For instance, a couple weeks ago when time changed our college small group went out into the community to hand out free coffee packets.  We told them it was for some extra caffeine in the morning!  We also gave them a card that read “We hope this small act of kindness brings some light into your day.  Its our way of saying God loves you, no strings attached.  Let us know if we can be of more assistance.”  People really enjoyed it!  Many of them laughed and were surprised.

Over Christmas I received Transforming Mission by David Bosch.  The book is enormous so I skipped to the good parts that I wanted to read!  One section is about churches becoming more missional, in their actions and theology (missional is certainly a buzz word today, but this book was written in the early 90s by a guy from South Africa, so that makes it even more interesting!).  Bosch notes the there is an emerging shift in the way the church approaches mission.  Instead of missions being something that the church sends people to do, it is becoming what the church is.  He claims that today the “church is not the sender but the one sent.”  We are being sent not to comfort ourselves and better ourselves, but be a light in our own communities.  One that is the source of love, justice, and forgiveness.  A humble entity where community is authentic and always accepting.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from prison, “The church is the church only when it exists for others.”  That means we must find creative, loving ways to be a light in our community.  Many times we have the attitude that people should come to us instead of us going to/finding them.  The church should not be so arrogant but rather imitate Jesus, who when a sheep went missing went out to find it at all costs.

4 Comments

Filed under Books, Music

Surprise!

Yesterday was my birthday and now I am 23.  Old, huh? Just kidding!  Normally I don’t do much for my birthday.  So this year we didn’t plan a party or anything.  It is not that I do not like birthday parties or cake (well, I’m not a huge fan of cake), I just never think too much about it.  Instead Amber had planned on just making me apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top and going to Starbucks to sit and read (now that is a party!).  So that is what we did, but when we got there we weren’t alone!  My wonderful wife informed several of our friends of our plans and had them join us.  So when we arrived there was a bit of a surprise party!  My wife is awesome!  Most of our friends were able to make it and now we have enough gift cards, especially Starbucks gift cards, to last us awhile.

Thanks to everyone who came, especially Kayley!

1 Comment

Filed under Other