Discerning Mission

Earthly death = living proclamation?

by Christie Hallenbeck

“Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” The late Steve Jobs’s foreshadowing thoughts now permeate mainstream conversations of death.

So let’s enter the conversation.

In light of public shock over the death of this modern symbol of immortality, it is a missional conversation. With one of the top 10 movies in the United States following a twenty-something

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Nobel Peace Prize awarded

Praise God for the amazing hope, courage and activism of the three women who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today. I hope that the awarding of the prize brings hope to their movement, and encouragement to women working for peace all over the world. The three women are Leymah Gbowee, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Tawakul Karman. Here's a video interview with one of them, Leymah Gbowee, who is a Liberian Lutheran activist:


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Discerning mission: The Holy Spirit's new challenge and opportunity

By Gary Simpson

In his August 5, 2011, letter to the rostered lay leaders and pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson highlighted the calling "to discern together" what the ELCA's 2011 LIFT Report (Living Into the Future Together) confesses is our "missionary God." It's no accident that the Holy Spirit's renewed call to apostolic mission meets congregations and leaders straining to get a handle on discernment.

The turn to discernment lies in a newly emerging

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Listening, leadership, ethnography

Dori Baker reflects on the benefits of an "ethnography of hope" at the Alban blog. She quotes Thomas E. Frank, a seasoned observer of church life, noting that he "writes about turning to ethnographic practices of listening as a way to escape what he perceived to be market-driven perspectives prevalent in church-improvement literature. He found most of that writing to be largely prescriptive, tending to depict a congregation 'as a franchise in a service industry, completely missing the remarkable imaginative

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The political novelty of God

I can't resist this quote from John Howard Yoder, which is cited in David Fitch's blog on mission and ecclesiology:

The political novelty that God brings into the world is a community of those who serve instead of ruling, who suffer instead of inflicting suffering, whose fellowship crosses social lines instead of reinforcing them. The new Christian community in which the walls are broken down not by human idealism or democratic legalism but by the work of Christ is not only a vehicle of the gospel

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