the latest issue of anvil journal (which is free online) is on faultlines in mission reflections on race and colonialism - sctroll to the bottom of the page to download the complete issue. in the wake of george floyd's murder as with other areas of society it seemed a good chance to shine a light on the area of mission and ponder it's history and practices and the degree to which they are framed and shaped by empire and colonialism. it's guest edited by harvey kwiyani, lusa nsenga-ngoy, and shemil matthew - huge thanks to them! it's powerful and hard hitting. there's a lot to digest.
i read harvey and lusa's articles at breakfast today. harvey says that mission as we think of it today is a european construct out of an era of empire and colonialism so it's logic and imagination are tied in to narratives of superiority. for example he says
In a nutshell then, the very concept of mission as we understand it today has racism and white supremacy in its DNA.
i love mission as a way of framing so this is a jolt but as paul thaxter reflects in his afterword i am definitely guilty of telling inspiring stories of those who have done mission on the inside of cultures well and resisted empire but i am sure that in doing so i have been blinder to and not told other equally true and real stories. i was wrestling with this issue in my visit to new zealand. harvey recounts the story of mission in malawi as one example. his article begs the question of what mission might look like after george floyd. this piece reminded me that i have not yet written the last blog post in the series of reflections on mission after my visit to new zealand which is due to be on post colonial mission and whether such a thing is possible... i'll get back to it before long - life took over!
lusa's article is wonderful. he explores how imagining a different kind of world and future is essential for there to be change. it's actually a piece that would have been perfect for the book future present. he suggest that imagination is a tool for resistance and has powered radical changes in history. our imagination is easily colonised by the iconography of the world around us but needs freeing and maybe it is artists and prophets and dreamers of a better world who will interrupt our imagining to reframe it. afrofuturism is just such a kind of imagining - think black panther for example.
i have plenty more articles to read...
do download it (or read it online). and we hope it sparks conversation, reflection, awareness, new imaginings of what world and future is possible for the church, christianity and mission and what changes might be required as steps towards that new world..