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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Missional or Phoggial?*

When I first came across the word "missional," I thought they were meaning to say "missiological." Soon, I realized that the word did not exist except in the minds of those who created it and used it. Now is all over the blogosphere and the buzz word of the "progressive" churches today. I went over to Wikipedia and a found a definition posted, yet it concluded with the following line: Due to the young nature of the missional and emergent movement, specific “missional living” practices vary greatly between churches. While going through many of my grandfather's sermons this week, I came across one which was titled "Satan's Advice to Preachers." Some of the points in the outline included: * The devil believes in short sermons. * Your sermon will have greater impact the more poems and stories you tell than Biblical references you use. * Eliminate as many references to Jesus Christ as possible. * Stop preaching about the reality of hell. He goes on to say that some think that the traditional preacher who preached about the cross, about the blood of Christ, or the damnable state of unregenerate man is out of date for modern times. He said that this type of a preacher was guilty of "old phoggiism." He was too traditional, too orthodox, too fundamental. He needed to be up with the times and include more science, speculation, and skepticism in the message. So I decided to join in the "Let's-make-up-a-cool-new-word" call my ministry paradigm as "phoggial." Being an "old phoggy" was a negative trait attributed to the person who I assume was not progressive or emergent enough. They haven't deciphered the new religious code and lingo and haven't developed "that look" that corresponds to the person who has embraced the latest theological trend. Contrary to this, it is the belief that ancients paths are the places where we should walk. Orthodox teaching and church history should be integral in our understanding of contemporary issues today. And they believe that the best and most healthy form of church is that which is in grounded in the faith that has "once and for all" been handed down to the saints. Now I don't expect anyone to ascribe to their blog or their belief system the title "phoggial." Yet I can't help but think that the Church and the blogosphere could use a healthy dose of phoggiism. My grandfather encountered some would-be progressive folks of his day and embraced the labels which were dubiously attached to him. He believed in hell, and so do I; he knew that sinners needed the truths of the gospel preached to them even if it doesn't feel good or attracts a crowd; he was right when he said that people don't want the Bible in their sermons anymore. Now I can't say that I am either for or against being "missional" because I don't think you could get a clear-cut definition from the people who profess it (at least not consistently). Maybe I haven't been around long enough--or maybe I am just too phoggial. Don't get me wrong. I love people who are mission-minded. I love missions. I have devoted my life to studying missiology and missiological trends. But I am leery of new ideas and terminology that becomes so subjective and trendy that were I to subscribe to them with a sense of wholesale endorsement, I would be stereotyped into a category of such abstraction that, who I am really becomes whatever anyone perceives me to be. Consequently, I prefer to bow out of the contemporary craze for the newest, freshest innovative way of defining the emerging titularity of progressive Christian trends. Being phoggial is good enough for me.

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