Sunday, April 11, 2010

3 thoughts on mission and everyday life

1. What if you started praying at work? I do not mean either privately in a no-one-notices kind of way (though that is a good thing), and I do not mean in an ostentatious way that draws attention to itself. I mean what if you regularly prayed throughout the day, in a way that was clear about what you were doing, but didn't seek to draw attention to it. When you came in to start the day, you might sit at a desk and pray for a minute or two. After lunch you might read a psalm and pray for a moment. Before heading into court, you might excuse yourself for a moment to pray.

A simple, deliberate practice like this would both help to sanctify, and thus integrate, work life as Christian life, while at the same time publicise (as opposed to privatise) religion back into the public sphere.

As for the challenge that may come in a secularised society, if political correctness can give space and time for a Muslim to pray 5 times a day, then 1 Thess 5:17 is your verse: a Christian's life should be regularly and continually marked by prayer.

2. Treating secular societies as 'hostile' in a way analogous to closed-access countries.

Australia is not that bad, as I compare it to impressions of the UK for instance, and in the USA religion is still a public conversation topic, but post-Christian socities often evidence a hostility for Christianity that manifests in political liberalism, PC, and aggressive secularism. We might gain a lot if we began to see our own socities as hostile to Christianity, and shape some of our missional practices accordingly.

3. Re-orient our christian lives and fellowship around mission foci, not geographical beds.

One of the things I have learnt, or re-learnt, from being a full-time student, is that the dynamic of working a full day plus commuting changes one's lifestyle dramatically. When I say full-time student, I mean that I go in to the office at 8am, and leave about 4:45. Unlike most workers, I have lots of freedom to schedule my own day, but nonetheless it's a full day. It's also 1.5 hrs commuting either side of that. I imagine for many workers, their days are much longer, their work much more demanding, and consuming.

So when I come home each day, I'm pretty tired. Secondly, the geographical focus of most of my life is not where my home is. Urban life is not, typically, centered around one's place of sleep, especially for the commuter. So there are weaknesses in the parish model.

What if we organised whom we fellowshipped with based on (a) where we worked (both geographically and industry-wise), (b) who we wanted to reach? Smaller groups, mission focused, and that was 'church'. In a sense, this is coming back to the Total Church model, but it's coming back at it from a different angle. I tend to read Total Church as someone with a church-ministry-minister mindset and ask, "how do we make church more like that?", but if we are prepared to ditch some fundamental structures of parishes, buildings, ministers, etc., and ask what it might look like to lead tentmaking missionary lives in our host culture, we get there in a different way.

1 comment:

Mike W said...

yikes, how would i justify my job then ; )