When Al Roxburgh and I were together with Jonny Baker, Jonny talked about how often he’s shocked by what people respond to on his blog. He pours his heart and soul into a post and gets little or no response. Then he tosses a post off and conversation explodes. I know what he means.
When I created the Missional Shampoo graphic and wrote the post a few days ago, I thought I’d get more than a little response. (I do appreciate your brief comment, John.) I was mistaken to believe my sarcastic response to the ease with which folk appropriate the word “missional” would generate comments and push back.
One might legitimately ask, ‘Who is Kinnon to be commenting sarcastically or otherwise on how the word ‘missional’ is used? How long has he been engaged in this discussion? Didn’t he spend half of the nineties and the first four years and four months of the new millennium working with mega-churches?’ Too true.
I didn’t become seriously engaged in the missional conversation until a year ago last June – when Imbi and I attended an Allelon event in Eagle, Idaho. This, in spite of having been a close friend of Alan Roxburgh’s since the mid-eighties.
It is important to note that Imbi and I did have some understanding of missional as, in 2001, we designed the logo for the Missional Leadership Institute that Al created with Fred Romanuk, author with Al of The Missional Leader, released last year.
(I was in my “no caps – Myriad Pro Typeface” period of design when we created this logo.)
So why Missional Shampoo? My rather warped and truly Canadian, irreverent sense of humour (note the correct spelling) would partially be to blame. But mostly it was in reaction to how “missional” has become the latest buzz-word in Christendom (“Christendom” used intentionally). Do a “missional” Google search and today Google will return about 878,000 hits.
Missional experts exist in every corner of God’s earth – many claiming specific understanding and ownership of the word.
Probably the prime catalyst for Missional Shampoo was this post from Drew Goodmanson, Missional – Missio Dei, Missionary or Mission – written in early July.
At the Acts 29 conference Ed Stetzer spoke on the history of the word missional which traces it’s origins from three streams of thoughts: missio dei, missionary & mission. He presents why we may all use the same word, yet it means radically different things for emerging churches, evangelical camps and the reformed community. So when Tim Keller speaks about being missional it is not the same thing as when it used by John Franke or Alan Roxburgh. He plans to publish a paper on this soon which will be extremely helpful for the missional conversation. (The “He” here is Stetzer, not Keller.)
Apparently Stetzer is about to publish a corrective of Roxburgh and Franke. Their error – they see missional as being descriptive of the Missio Dei, or as South African Missiologist, David Bosch would say “It is not the church which ‘undertakes’ mission; it is the missio Dei which constitutes the church.” (As quoted by the iMonk @ BHT.) Missio Dei is a latin theological phrase that can be translated literally as the “sending of God.”
Goodmanson quotes what seems to be a straw man argument of Stetzer’s,
One danger of the emerging church is that they can reject the Biblical call of the church as the central place of mission (situational) and therefore see their call to be missional only from the Missio Dei perspective… <snip> …Stetzer provided one example where a missionary group helped fund the over-throw of a government as part of their missio dei understanding of being missional.
In the comments, Goodmanson responds to a question of what Roxburgh “miss(es) or overstress(es).”
According to Stetzer, Roxburgh (and the GOCN) come at missional from a missio dei perspective. He asked me not to post too much more on this until his paper is out.
So, as I read Drew’s post, it would seem that according to Stetzer (in his ownership of the word “missional”), Alan and John Franke are guilty of misinterpreting “missional” in light of their focus on the Missio Dei, the sending of God – as it leads to emerging churches involving themselves in helping to fund the over-throw of a government. (Which leads me to ask the question of whether or not some governments should be over-thrown but I digress.) Yikes!
I just asked Alan whether or not Stetzer had discussed his concerns with Alan regarding Alan’s missional perspective. (They have spoken.) He hasn’t but it appears he’s about to publish a paper that will correct both Roxburgh and Franke in their misunderstanding of what “missional” is.
Would anyone like a case of Missional Shampoo?