Crying out for Unconventional Conversation

Something Andrew said has got me asking, how do we get the virally-minded Missionals, the macho-charismatic Calvinists, the anarcho-hippie Anabaptists and the pomo-philosophising Emergents talking to one another about mission again? I miss the interplay.

Yeah, sure, we disagree on some things. But we all agree the ancient distinction between overseas mission and local church has collapsed / is collapsing, we all agree we should be focussing on Jesus in the midst of this, isn’t there a whole lot of stuff we could still work through together?

Even where we disagree on things, can’t we see that iron sharpens iron and if we debate with respect there is much to be learned from the experience and the engagement? Jesus was a guy who walked all over boundaries. Why shouldn’t we?

13 thoughts on “Crying out for Unconventional Conversation

  1. Steve, no problem with reposting elsewhere and no I’d don’t mind including others in the list. I considered mentioning non-Protestant traditions and only hesitated for the sake of focus.
    You know, it’s like western mission / emerging church conversation started out with a lot of people naively pretending that differences didn’t matter, then we discovered they did and the conversation died, but what we need now is a third wave realisation that what we have in common matters more than the differences so we still have a lot to talk to one another about.
    Yes, social networking has contributed to the conversation bleed off but I don’t think we can put it down entirely to that. Why? Because I don’t see much missional conversation happening on Twitter or Facebook even amongst the supposedly leading voices. I agree that the conversation has been diluted by the influx of non-niche, trivia-loaded microblogging, so that the signal to noise ratio has dropped drastically. But we all have filters should we choose to use them. No, there is a motivation issue here too. We are not prioritizing the conversation, we’re allowing ourselves to be distracted by the noise, we’ve allowed out data bubbles to develop an inwardly reflecting surface.


  2. RD Melbourne’s weather has already come to us today in Sydney.
    I also suspect an over-emphasis on book-writing by the leaders of the emergent church movement has diluted an important part of innovative missional momentum – that of gathering together, brainstorming new ideas and subjecting those to critique by their peers, sowing and building relationship beyond our comfoirt zones, project developing etc.


  3. Part of the problem is being seduced by the wrong medium. You can’t have a discussion on Twitter. But many people try. At one time people used to live-blog at conferences, which was of some use to people who weren’t there, but live Twittering mainly produces garbage, because it’s all out of context and doesn’t mean a thing.
    Facebook is fine for keeping in touch with people, but it doesn’t lend itself to discussions. They might be OK when they are happening, but then it is lost and you can’t find it again. And everyone wants to start their own group, page or whatever, so the whole thing is dissipated. You’d like to get the opinions of A, B and C, and their opinions of each others opinions, but A is in one Facebook Group, B is in another, while C lurks in Google+.
    There are some things for which blogging is better, and old-fashioned mailing lists better still. But people are too busy Twittering inanities at each other to take part in them.


  4. Steve, I agree totally. In fact I have a post coming up on “what blogs are still good at”. I think a lot of the people who used to be in the missional conversation have been distracted by the instantaneous chatter and incessant demands of microblogging platforms like Twitter and Facebook and no longer take the time for the focused engagement and reflection demanded by longer form blog posts and web articles.


  5. Wasn’t me who blogged at 2:08. Must be another Andrew.
    Agree with Steve and Matt that Twitter and FB are okay for one-liners and are full of the “inane”. Not much substance there.
    Worthwhile blogging takes hard work, and actually utilises the cognitive processes of the brain to do it well.
    Can’t say I observe a lot of that in FB and Twitter.


  6. Yeah, I agree with Matt, Steve, and Andrew Park, my husband, on this one. Dilution and dissipation of all the good brain-storming happens a lot these days.
    However, Andrew and I are still maintaining the vulnerable hope that something of substance can occur about this important missional matter… and we are making ourselves available to be involved in both the theopraxy and the orthopraxy of such an exploration 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s