On Sunday we had another Mosaic book club where we are going through The Forgotten Ways. This is the second time I have been through the book. This time fleshing out the ideas of the book is a lot less esoteric. I see that the Mosaic Community has the potential to challenge and change Wellington. We are desiring to learn and put in the hard. This is actually the book that led me into thinking about joining Mosaic when I read it. I was reading it and I was going through the desire for Movement. That was my theme word at the time, and I needed to move forward and to flesh out what God had layed on my heart at that time.
So I’ve digressed, why have I called this blog enfleshing the gospel. We went through a discussion on the chapter the “missional-incarnational impulse.” If anyone knows me you will realise that I believe contextualisation is a highly important concept to me. Many times I have summed this up in the idea of “relevance.” That as Christians we need to be relevant to the culture that we live in, we have to speak the language and follow embed into the culture. The problem with the concept of “relevance” is its limitation – which I struggle with. If we are to be relevant, we can quickly fall to the woes of syncretism, becoming watered down and P.C, losing our impulse and our message. Rather than being relevant, we are to enflesh to gospel.
Enfleshment is a different idea. The heart of this is enfleshing the key message of the Gospels. Enfleshment means that we live out a life that shows the key values and moral framework. For this to happen though we must know what our key values are, otherwise if we don’t, they will sure shaped by the world around us (trust me I know this all too well.) So, one of the key things for Mosaic to do is to find out what its key values are and what its DNA is. Luckily, as being part of a bigger movement we have been helped up big time. As a community, we are to be a community of faith, known by love and we are to be a voice of home in the world. These core values go to the heart of what we intend to be. A community of Christ followers transforming the world around us by living out the Jesus story in the way we act and lives. To do this we need to know our saviour, we need to know the gospels. Not intellectually knowing Jesus, but intimately knowing Jesus. Constantly being transformed by Jesus we are continually sent into the world. As one missional movement tells us, we are living out Acts 29 today.
We have to remember our DNA. The heart of the Christian DNA is the story of Jesus and the gospels. If we forget this, we will lose our heart.
So what does enfleshment mean for us as Christians. We it means that we are to be incarnational. Living out Christ in the World. As Christians we believe that God became human and lived amongst us. He came in on our turf and lived amonst us to bring salvation and to radically identify with us. Hirsh says in his book “The Incarnation not only qualifies God’s acts in the worlds, but must also qualify ours If God’s central way of reaching the world was to incarnate himself in Jesus, the our way of reaching the world should likewise be incarnational. To act incrationally therefore will mean in part that our mission to those outside the faith we will need to exercise affinity with those we are attempting to reach. At the very least it will mean moving into common geography/space and so set up an abiding presence amongth the group. But the basic motive of incarnational ministry is also revelatory – that they may come to know God through Jesus. (authors emphasis).
There are four Ps that some up incarnational lifestyle; they are Presence, proximity, powerlessness and proclamation.
Presence: Presence meanings to out a normal human life and living a profoundly disturbingly normal way. But engaging in mission through normality. As the Vineyard forefather John Wimber says, we are to be “Naturally Supernatural.” We are to be in relationship, relationship is the key means to transfer the message of the gospel and engage in mission. Our lives embody and enflesh the message and we naturally tell a story to the people around us of redemption, hope and restoration. We tell people through the way we live that they have worth and that God loves them and wants to spend time with them.
Proximity: As Christians we are to mix with every level of society. Jesus engaged with every level of society and found disciples at every level of society. As people we are not only present, but we are genuinely available. We need to from genuine relationships, be part of the activities that others are involved in, have lunch with people, engage in intentional relationship.
Powerlessness: This means that we are not imperialistic. We take on a shape of humility in the world. We have to be willing to form relationships with people who are completely antagonistic to what we hold on to and be willing to truly love through it all, as Jesus did. I think as I continue to read the gospels I really realise just how far Jesus would go to love his enemies and also to try to rescue even those who did not accept his message. It is totally revolutionary. Jesus humbly came as a servant to all, to seek and save the lost.
Proclamation: We can never forget the message of the gospel and realise that is what we have been put here for. We are called to share the gospel in real ways. We are called to live out the gospel minute by minute, day by day.
We are figuring out what this means for our community, actually we will always be re-evaluating this and finding out what it means to live out the gospel in our context.