with pioneer students who train with us at CMS we have observed an experience of theological homelessness. it was cathy ross who came up with this term and i have found it really helpful. it's probably true of any good education process that you need to let go of some of your old certainties and ways of understanding to be open to new vistas. this can be challenging for students because it can feel like the rug is pulled from under their feet but getting lost is an important practise in mission. with phones now it's much harder than it used to be to wander off the familiar path into the unknown and genuinely get lost. a key challenge in crossing borders in mission is to find ways of being, speaking and acting that make sense in that context and not in the one you have come from. that generally involves shutting up and listening and observing and finding people who become guides and friends in the new space otherwise the faith simply sounds like it's from somewhere else, i.e. it's foreign. that's why letting go is so important. students then begin to discover new conversation partners and find new language and new ways home in mission theology, hopefully that arise out of the communities they are pioneering in and with.
anyway all that is to say that cathy and i have published an article on it - theological homelessness:getting lost to find a new way home which involves some research with students and their experience. we actually wrote it a while back so i am glad it has finally come to see the light of day. we introduce what i think is a helpful and probably important idea of undefended theology - this is lifted from simon walker's term of undefended leadership. so much of the church's posture is defended around right ways of doing things, right belief, right theology (and right always seems to mean our way of doing things!). so how can we be much more undefended so that our take on things is open to be in conversation and share the wisdom from being round the table with other theologies and takes.
let me know what you think...
this is in the latest issue of anvil journal which has got some fantastic articles in it which nearly all came out of a gathering, the hui, we had with others last summer engaged in mission education geared towards the practice of mission and pioneering. i really love how anvil journal has turned out. it's a good issue that cathy has edited!