April 21, 2007

Mission and Culture

We had a wonderful two-day workshop on Mission and Culture with Fr. Tony Gittins this weekend. What a presentation! This evening I thought I would just share some of my learnings...

If mission is what God does for a living, then I can't say that I have the mission, or my community has the mission, or the church has the mission, but rather that the mission has me, my community, or the church. This mission is both an exhaling in creation and an inhaling gathering all back to God; "God's goodness hitting the fan." Yet, God is so big, the mission is so huge that we can't possibly understand. So, God sent Jesus to do some "Good-news-ing" (yes, a verb), a.k.a. evangelizing. Jesus is the incarnation of the mission in our terms. We then are called to discipleship...to look to Jesus...who brought the mission. It's an up and down the ladder kind of thing.

Because we are human, we can live the mission only through our culture. T.S. Eliot said that "In a world of fugitives the person taking the opposite direction will appear to be running away." Mission calls us to go in the opposite direction, but we are not running, we go with direction and purpose. As with most things in nature, mission takes us through a continuous cycle, a great adventure, of passing over and coming back. We begin in our homeland where our culture and identity are instilled. We move to a wonderland where we are outsiders, where things are done differently, someone else's homeland. We learn new ways of being. And then back to our homeland. However, we are changed and our homeland is changed so it is no longer homeland but newfoundland. And the cycle continues.

Consecrated religious are called to be open to this continual passing over and coming back, committed to intentional intercultural community, moving across boundaries, and to do so all in a spirit of religious adventure. Sounds good to me.

That barely hits the tip of the iceberg of information, but it's a taste at least.

It's been a long week in many ways, one that I'm not entirely sorry to see come to an end. Yet, as always so much to be grateful for. The weather being one such point of gratitude. I hope it holds out through tomorrow night. The Dominicans are having the ICN over for barbeque at their house. Should be fun.

Continued Easter blessings.



  1. How timely is your description of MISSION as we move on in our journey called Chapter! May each of us be open to being changed a bit more throughout the coming weekend!

    Pat M

  2. Thanks Sarah for the gentle reminder. This is really wonderful 'stuff'. I even made a copy so I can 'chew' on it a little more. I am grateful to you.