Engaging the World On Its Terms


I recall an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. (How about that season premiere on grief?) Meredith was “fine.” Now really she was not “fine.” But when asked how she was doing, she said, “fine.” So often did Meredith say “fine” that it no longer meant anything.

We face the danger of important words no longer meaning anything. Ed Stetzer recently pointed out how this has happened to the term “missional” and the consequences of truncating the global mission of God to the mission of God right around me. It is both/and. Hard to hear from a tribe that is always asking its people to be either/or. The comment stream on that post was so effusive of Ed’s discerning words it seemed inappropriate to ask a question or press him at the point of how language used in the post continues to foster an either/or when he is arguing for both/and. Language is such a game. Wittgenstein anyone?

Contextualization is another word suffering a la missional. The difference between contextualization and missional  is that conceptually some very big names don’t like it, don’t get it, or don’t want it. So while it suffers the same fate as missional, it does so for different reasons. The problem may lie in the various nuances. What magisterial body gets to tell us all just what or how contextualization should or must be done? Most are self-appointed at best. Problem is we do it everyday. We have very few who help us interpret our own moves in a way we see this going on in our own decisions.

Sour? Not at all. My friends at The Upstream Collective offer American pastors Jetset Vision Tours. Rather than a trip for the “jet set,” these trips are for jetting around, taking in an alternative culture, and doing so in such a compact fashion you feel like you are “jetting around.” The opportunity helps both shrink the world and enlarge the world.

When you realize how quickly you can be in Taiwan, for example, the earth does not seem nearly as big as we think. When we experience other cultures we quickly realize the world takes on an expansiveness beyond my city street, rural routue, or highway intersection. We AmericaWest Christians need a good does. We pastors need just such an experience. Travel outside your own hovel and you will unearth other hovels challenging your ideology, theology, and missiology. Don’t think so? Give it a whirl.

Ed promises one last Taiwan post. Look for it. In the meantime, follow this link and watch the videos and get a “virtual” taste of what life is like beyond the scope of your village, town, or city. You may also want to consider the account offered by Larry and Caleb over at The Upstream Collective Blog.

When it comes time to look at your next trip, you might consider London and Paris next year. Think it is just a tourist trip? Think again. Put on your walking shoes, open up your heart, expose your mind and after your Jetset venture you will not be the same.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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