Ian Mobsby highlighted for me a recent talk by soon to retire (from his current role) Archbishop Rowan Williams: Following the Missionary Spirit, delivered on Nov. 22nd 2012 in London @ the Fresh Expressions “Day Conference”.
You’ll find the video and audio here. Additionally, you’ll find other video and audio from the day, plus a small selection of video clips of people acknowledging with gratitude Williams’ championing of “Fresh Expressions”.
“…There's an image that John Calvin used in the Reformation period that I like very much where he says that looking around you see 'stray and tattered vestiges whereby you may see that here lie churches half buried'. It's a picture of churches with their spires just poking out above the levels of drifting sand and Calvin says 'it's there but you need a great deal of wind to blow away the sand and reveal what's really there'. Churches half buried that need the wind of the Spirit to be revealed for what they really are.
So, missional opportunity... let's go right back to the beginnings of Christian mission; let's go back to the mission of God in Jesus Christ on earth. What's going on? What's happening there? Why is it and how is it that people respond to Jesus Christ?
I believe really passionately that what the gospel shows us is Jesus connecting again and again with people who don't think they belong. The gospels are deeply, profoundly, about belonging. People sometimes draw that contrast, don't they, between belonging and believing and I think it's helpful in some ways but I don't want to overdo it. Nonetheless, reading the stories in the gospel, I think the message that comes through most clearly is that Jesus speaks to, reaches out to people who don't think they belong. They're not part of the chosen people or they are part of the chosen people and things have gone badly wrong and they no longer feel welcome…”
- Rowan Williams.