I’m in the middle of teaching Thesis Design for the Doctoral program in Missional Leadership at Northern Seminary. I’m the director of this program. This is the capstone course of the program which moves the student into thesis-research writing stage – the final stage of the program. Here we do ethnography in the ministry field which forms the context for theological reflection. The context is opened by listening, observing, field notes, charting the stories. And yet we bring theology to the context. Just as the context is opened by listening, the tradition/Scripture/theology is also opened up in dialogue with the context. We begin to see, understand and indeed eventually reveal the context through what we have been “sent” with into the context: the gospel. This creates the social dynamic of witness, the church, the Kingdom taking on flesh. This is the opening of the future to God’s work, His Kingdom. This becomes chapter 5 of the thesis. This I take it is the task of all mission work. Here’s the opening diagram of the class. We start a new cohort in Summer 2015. If you’re interested, here’s more information here. I’m busy teaching this class and then off to CBOQ General Assembly in Toronto. My tweeting, facebooking and blogging will be less in the week ahead.
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.