We have been playing with the metaphor Here be dragons as a way to describe what we are up to and where we are with Church on the edge. On old maps there is that space simply described as Here be dragons. We are committed to going to a new place with young people and have been off the map for a while now.
We simply do not buy into the language of whos in and whos out, dualism, etc, We recognise the curtain has been torn, the kingdom is now and not yet, the earth and everything it is the lords, follow missio dei and refuse to see mission as a bridge into church but simply collapse the bridge.
We described our approach to being and growing church in this new land to a young person and here is what Sam (18yrs) came up with what do you think? (click it to enlarge)
StreetSpace going to a new place with young people
We build on the idea that we tack (like a ship sailing into the wind) with young people on a journey to become fully human and in the process we discover what it means to be fully human and what it is to be/grow church. In the process I think I have learnt that actually the dragons aren’t that scarey anyway.
This is probably one of my favorite quotes about Flow and its possible application to mission.
Action and awareness are merged.
I have been pursuing a growing missional spirituality for a number of years and I think there is weak understanding of incarnational youth work. I would want to argue that relational ministry (that is simply about spending time with young people, without intentionality and development) is the misinterpretation of incarnational ministry and often used as an excuse for lazy youth work. Youth ministry Christiology is too often explored from a ecclessiological paradigm rather than a kingdom theology, which can reinforce a lazy relational approach, that ultimately is about getting young people into church, rather than a kingdom/incarnational approach that is about journey, change and new ways of being and seeing the world and ourselves. My experience of G-d moving is within a relational/community aspect and happens in a fundamentally incarnational context, where the curtain is torn, the now and not yet kingdom is the reality of the every day. I would want to argue that we need to embrace this incarnatonal paradigm and seek to operate in it where Action and Awareness are merged. So we can be open to what G-d is doing in us, around us, with us and others beyond our current frameworks.
So following on from the last post the next point Csikszentmihalyi makes is:
There is a balance between challenges and skills. If the challenge is too difficult we get frustrated; if it is too easy, we get bored. Flow occurs when we reach an optimum balance between our abilities and the task in hand, keeping us alert, focused and effective.
I love the adventure of following the Missio Dei, so although Csikszentmihalyi is relating to sports, the connections are not so hard to make. God works at the right pace for us and knows what She is doing with the young people or community we serve. Working on the edge with young people can be frustrating but usually this stems from me pushing too hard, or not being alert to what the Holy Spirit is doing. I may have some abilities in story telling but t is my alertness to the Holy Spirit that means I focus on the right stories with the creative edge that make them effective.
Flow was term we developed around God and Skating a few years ago. Check out the stories here
It is also used by Csikszentmihalyi in sport and he identifies several characteristics that I think are pertinent to emerging theology and mission. So over the next few posts I hope to take each characteristic and unpack a few thoughts in the light of the journey Flow has taken me on in the last few years.
There are clear goals every step of the way. Knowing what you are trying to achieve gives your actions a sense of purpose and meaning.
We use the word coined the word intentionality back in 2004 and it is used a lot around mission now to hold the desire to aim for something in what we do. However we are values informed rather than being goal centred and act out of sense of purpose and meaning. In StreetSpace we have nine stages that help us measure where we are and where we need to go, but it is about small steps that are rooted and linked to the culture/group we are in.
A lot of what I see around emerging church is great about it responds to the community needs but can still lack intentionality. Critical questions about why are we here and what are seeking to achieve are key and need to asked in a balanced way. But these questions need to be within a context of kingdom hope (which is values informed, and relational), and recognizing the need to become more powerless rather than a business driven ethos.
Holding the tension between setting goals and triple listening (to yourself, to your community, to God) is key.