Thursday, March 8, 2012

Worth Reading: Articles by Ben Langford and Spencer Bogle on Missional Theology

Two friends and mentors of mine each have an article in the latest issue of the journal Missio Dei, the theme of which is "Short-Term Missions." Both of them served on the same mission team for six years in Uganda (where I interned in the summer of 2006), and thus write from first-hand experience.

The first article is by Ben Langford, who is Director of the Center for Global Missions at Oklahoma Christian University. The piece is titled "The Art of the Weak: From a Theology of the Cross to Missional Praxis." Here is the abstract:
The terms missions and strategy have gone hand in hand in Western missiology. The words at times are used synonymously, for who can imagine a successful mission without some sort of strategy for how to go about accomplishing it? Unfortunately, the pragmatism of strategy has often superseded theological reflection on the mission of God and its embodiment in the world. The term strategy assumes a locus of control that centralizes power within the self and then moves outward. Theological reflection on the task of mission must take seriously not only the message’s content but also its embodiment. A theology of the cross, in particular, stands as a critique of tendencies towards western notions of strategy and offers a more biblically-informed counter-proposal for mission praxis.
You can read the whole thing here.

The second article is by Spencer Bogle, a second-year PhD student in Systematic Theology at SMU. His piece is titled "The Possibility of Missional Theology: Finding Ourselves in a Globalized World." Here is the abstract:
Missional theology in North America has a rich and complex history of addressing both historical and contextual ecclesiological issues in a globalized world. The present essay contends that elements within postcolonial theory and theology contribute to the working definitions of the “historical” and “contextual,” that function within missional theology. These needed voices from the margins illuminate challenging alternative considerations of Christology, Pneumatology, and Ecclesiology from below. This ultimately enables a fuller understanding of identity and relationship as churches around the globe share seats around the Eucharist table.
You can read the whole thing here.

Here's to substantive scholarship coming from theologians in churches of Christ, as well as to theology done in and for the church in service to the mission of God in the world. Amen and amen.

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