Friday, May 31, 2013

every day's a mission trip

Tonight we started a new thing, which I'm calling "TOP"--Thursdays on the Patio. Whoever wants to comes to a local restaurant/brewery and sits on the patio talking about theology stuff for an hour. There's a TOPic for each week. Today's was "Faith Outside the Box."

We talked a little about the boxes we put ourselves in and those we think the culture puts us in, as Christians. "Christians should..." be loving, radical, less narrow-minded, relax. Then we talked about how dangerous it can be to put God in a box--ever read that story in 2 Samuel 6? It's something else. Someone who tries to control God gets zapped, literally. oops. Note to self: attempting to control God is dangerous. Too dangerous. Don't do it.

But then...if God is love, awesome, big, good...if Jesus is loving, radical, healer, revealer-of-God...and if the church is the Body of Christ...why aren't we out loving, healing, being radical revealers of God?

short answer: cuz it's hard.
slightly longer answer: because people are a little afraid of Christians--there's so much baggage and expectation and small-box-ness about the word or the idea, that if we say we're Christians or we go to church, people back away a little. We're all tired of having to say "but not that kind of Christian."

really long answer: because we're so busy trying to think the right things that we forget who we're called to BE. we've gotten so confused with the word "church" thinking it's a place we go, we've forgotten how to be the church. we've become so caught up in the stuff we're supposed to do, we don't have time to wonder about God's purpose.

In other words: we've got our hands squarely on the God-box, holding it steady, and we've ceased to expect to get zapped because the God inside is so small and easily contained, manageable.

So what if we could imagine that God is the one with the mission, not us? It's not something we SHOULD DO, but something God IS DOING. Then every day is a choice to join in the mission.

Mission is another one of those loaded words. We think of it as synonymous with serving/helping. So to join God in the mission must mean doing more things. We got into a brief discussion about the word Missionary and how much baggage that has too (see this blog for more on that!). But really, it means BEING with God, paying attention to God's purpose and God's presence.

Reggie McNeal talks about how when we're on a mission trip, we approach every day as if it's loaded with opportunity, with Spirit, with promise. We're looking for where God is acting and how we can be a part of that. Whether or not we actually accomplish anything on the mission trip, we were with God. Maybe we jumped rope with kindergarteners all day, or maybe we built a house, or maybe we ate lunch with people who are alone most days, or maybe we cleaned a park, but whatever it was, we were on the lookout.

What if every day was like that? At my office, I'm on a mission trip. On the freeway: mission trip. At the grocery store, on the playground, walking downtown, on the train, at the coffee shop: mission trip. We're the deployed staff of God, constantly working out God's purpose: the kingdom on earth.

We'd certainly be outside the box!


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