I belive in encouraging the contextual practice of mission in various places around the world. I believe that there is something to be said for local people understanding the questions of the local context. I believe also however, that in many places around the world those who have been sent out from their local contexts have a very different view on them (the contexts) as they do life from the outside looking in. Problems in one place have a very different twist than in another. People in different places have different solutions to the same conflicts. Working together or alone may be favored in one place and thought weak in another. And yet, the new perspective can not be changed. This isn’t some higher view or even some better view, but is definitely a different view.
So what must one do? An aversion to colonial methodology would keep one from wanting to impose “new knowledge” or “new understanding” on any culture, and yet, when those discovered things are proven to be freeing and liberating, one wants to share the good news of them! But what of the clash? What of the mixed messages?
Recently I’ve come to see that in the West, its not so much about the baby and bath water being thrown out as it is a process of allowing the experiences of the global church abroad to give shape to the practice of mission locally. Maybe for me this is different than for others; however, I am learning that I must encourage the healthy practice of mission in various contexts using various languages and various tools provided in sucha way that very simply, the good kingdom of God is established! It is in the establishing that the real diversity comes out. In the practice of a glocally-minded missionary communities willing to be shaped by the free market of Christ-birthed ideas and experiences. These are not the ideas and expereinces that are laid out in some sort of a “super highway towards building a better church”, but rather in the real “back road” lives of real people trying to love others in the Spirit of Christ.
This is the great challenge of Christianity today: not to build bigger churches filled with more people, but to connect real people with a real creator who love them and is calling them towards participation in planting the good seeds of the good creation they have alsways longed to be a part of. In these spaces, Christ is made known and lives are healed, loved, transformed, and given a purpose greater than what they can do or hope to be!!