The Cambridge Dictionary defines disruption as “the action of preventing something, especially a system, process, or event, from continuing as usual or as expected.” Doesn’t this definition hit the nail square on its head in describing, well, pretty much every aspect of life in the Church over the past few years?
As we pray and plan towards this crucial hinge point in Missio Alliance’s own story, our conviction is growing that communities of Jesus followers worldwide are undergoing a similar seismic shift in their praxis, values, and sense of formational approach to the challenges of our day. We find ourselves asking crucial questions of formation, justice, and mission, including:
- Where is the Spirit of God on the move – in surprising, unexpected, and prophetic ways? (A question of missional praxis with God)
- How are the people of God being transformed to respond to the presence of God in this cultural moment? (A question of communal formation in Christ)
- What is the Church’s response to the deep and often chaotic disruption of the past few years? (A question of holistic justice in step with the Spirit)
We invited our writers to speak about this disruption in the life of the Church through the lens of culture, formation, the global church, theology, and witness – historically, the central framework through which we have written. Do these lenses still help us see with clarity? If not, how must they be adjusted for the Church to see the Kingdom in our midst once more?
We now extend this invitation to you, to dive into our first long-form writing series, “Refining Our Writing Collectives in a Season of Disruption.” Over the next few months we will tackle questions like these as we sit in the discomfort of this moment, seeking a way forward.
Missio writers such as Rich Villodas, Carolyn Custis James, Juliet Liu, Mandy Smith, Dennis Edwards, Kyuboem Lee, Andrew Arndt, Miranda Zapor Cruz, Ian McFadden, Kris Beckert, and our National Director, Lisa Rodriguez-Watson will set the table for this conversation. We’ll also welcome several contributors to dialogue with us, including Sahr Mbriwa, Michelle Sanchez, and Gino Curcuruto, among others.
Our hope is for a theologically rich, thoughtful dialogue to emerge, setting the table for the return of our National Gathering in April 2023, “Awakenings: Disruption in the Life of the Church.”
As only he can do, Rich Villodas graciously and prophetically set the tone for this series with a provocative piece entitled “Formation for a Newly Disrupted Generation.” Rich wonders, “We must ask a deeply penetrating question—an important formational one—namely, what is the Church to be for Christ today?”As you read and listen, what is your initial response?
Missio Alliance Comment Policy
The Missio Alliance Writing Collectives exist as a ministry of writing to resource theological practitioners for mission. From our Leading Voices to our regular Writing Team and those invited to publish with us as Community Voices, we are creating a space for thoughtful engagement of critical issues and questions facing the North American Church in God’s mission. This sort of thoughtful engagement is something that we seek to engender not only in our publishing, but in conversations that unfold as a result in the comment section of our articles.
Unfortunately, because of the relational distance introduced by online communication, “thoughtful engagement” and “comment sections” seldom go hand in hand. At the same time, censorship of comments by those who disagree with points made by authors, whose anger or limited perspective taints their words, or who simply feel the need to express their own opinion on a topic without any meaningful engagement with the article or comment in question can mask an important window into the true state of Christian discourse. As such, Missio Alliance sets forth the following suggestions for those who wish to engage in conversation around our writing:
1. Seek to understand the author’s intent.
If you disagree with something the an author said, consider framing your response as, “I hear you as saying _________. Am I understanding you correctly? If so, here’s why I disagree. _____________.
2. Seek to make your own voice heard.
We deeply desire and value the voice and perspective of our readers. However you may react to an article we publish or a fellow commenter, we encourage you to set forth that reaction is the most constructive way possible. Use your voice and perspective to move conversation forward rather than shut it down.
3. Share your story.
One of our favorite tenants is that “an enemy is someone whose story we haven’t heard.” Very often disagreements and rants are the result of people talking past rather than to one another. Everyone’s perspective is intimately bound up with their own stories – their contexts and experiences. We encourage you to couch your comments in whatever aspect of your own story might help others understand where you are coming from.
In view of those suggestions for shaping conversation on our site and in an effort to curate a hospitable space of open conversation, Missio Alliance may delete comments and/or ban users who show no regard for constructive engagement, especially those whose comments are easily construed as trolling, threatening, or abusive.