Back in April we announced the launch of the “Once & Future Mission Series.” This series was born out of two fundamental convictions.
- Theologically, we are convicted that unity within diversity is fundamental to the character of the new humanity made possible in and through Jesus Christ.
- Culturally, we are convicted that the increasing amounts of fear, polarization, and reactionary rhetoric which seem to be manifesting themselves in various quarters of the North American Church are a devastating impediment to this vision being realized and a blight upon the church’s witness.
Thus, in an effort to advance the possibility of a preferable future…
The Once & Future Mission Series is dedicated to recognizing the gifts of our various traditions up to today and re-imagining those gifts for the future of mission. We seek to do this by bringing these gifts into conversation with other parts of the Body of Christ so that a “fusion of horizons” can begin to take shape – one that we believe will be necessary for the future of mission in North America.
Part of this series will involve gatherings that provide a space and opportunity to consider together God’s work in various theological traditions as gifts to the wider Body of Christ. The first of these gatherings, focused on the Radical Reformation/Anabaptist tradition, is planned for September 19-20 in Carlisle, PA. Other gatherings focused on the Wesleyan/Holiness, Reformed, Pentecostal, and other theological traditions are also in the works.
At the same time, we want to use this blog as a space to facilitate online conversation around these ideas and issues – hopefully embodying (as much as an online forum allows) the sort of unity within diversity that can meaningfully contribute to the furtherance of God’s mission.
Call for Submissions
Therefore, over the next three months we are inviting written reflections around the theme of “Why Unity Within Diversity is Vital to the Future of the Church in God’s Mission.” Here’s how we intend to frame each monthly conversation around that theme…
August: The Biblical and Historical Basis For Christian Unity
September: Restoring Unity In The Church Today
October: The Missional-Ecumenical Movement [1. We have borrowed this outline from the book Your Church is Too Small by John Armstrong. Look for some posts by him in the coming months!]
We’ll say more about the September and October themes down the line. For now, here’s where we’re heading in August…
Christian unity isn’t merely a nice idea or a contemporary need; it is something that is fundamental to the character of the Church’s life and witness – something that God desires for the whole created order! Across Old and New Testaments, God’s desire and work for unity within diversity is communicated in myriad ways. More, Christian history is chock full of stories regarding the successes and failures of unity within diversity.
In the month of August then, we invite the submission of articles that speak to the biblical and historical basis for Christian unity. Some questions that might inform these articles are:
- How is unity within diversity addressed in Scripture?
- How has it been approached historically, whether helpful or not?
- Reflecting biblically and/or historically, what perspective(s) of unity within diversity can you offer based on your own theological, racial, or ethnic background?
- And many others…
If you would like to submit an article for consideration, here’s the process:
- Read the Once & Future Mission post to get the overall idea of this Series
- Download and read over the Missio Alliance Writing Framework as an aid in writing
- Draft a post of ~600-1,200 words and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Be sure to include a brief (<100 words) bio including any social networking links and your picture
We look forward to this extended conversation on unity within diversity and pray that it contributes to God’s work among the Church in the world!
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.