Friday, September 15, 2006

Holiness vs. Incarnation?

Check out this great little site...

There are many things I like about the description & definition of a missional community this site offers. And there are a number of statements that stir my thought.

The site says, "A missional church will be engaged with the culture (in the world) without being absorbed by the culture (not of the world). They will become intentionally indigenous." I'm interested in that phrase, "without being absorbed by the culture." How & where do we draw that line? What is the criteria by which the inculturation of our incarnational lifestyle can be judged as excessive or otherwise errant?

Connected to that idea, the site also states, "A missional church will give integrity, morality, good character and conduct, compassion, love and a resurrection life filled with hope preeminence to give credence to their reasoned verbal witness." This one really strikes me because it often seems lacking in missional / incarnational church discussions. Holiness frequently seems to lose out to the values of relevance & compassion... maybe because the word has come to feel like legalism in our contemporary cultural perception. So how do we reconcile the seemingly opposite paradigms of Mt 11:18-19 in which Jesus says, "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon!' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."?

Mike's written a post called Posture at his personal blog that also touches on these questions.

Thread: Values

1 comment:

hockerfamily said...

This whole post reminds me of the age old christian-high schooler question: "Why can't I evangelize at a kegger?"

Followed up by: "They won't listen to what I have to say unless I have a beer"

We ride a fine line when we try to be loving, relevant and tolerant missionaries to the world.

Personally I think I tend to put to much emphasis on the importance of being relevant and fall into danger of crossing that line. A common theme running through this site is the idea of community... but within community you will find people with varying interests... We don't have to like or do the same things as our friends. I think the world will care fare more about our love for them than our shared interests and relevance.