Porterbrook Cincinnati Blog

Porterbrook | Missional Community Life (Units 7-9)

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Hey gang. We're into the last week of reading for the Spring 2012 Trimester of Porterbrook. You're in the home stretch, so press on and finish well.

As a reminder, don't forget to work on the written Assignment (found on page 4). Make sure and bring a hard copy to hand in when we meet May 30/31. Just one page (or two if you're feeling particularly verbose).

But let's open a thread here for discussion on the final chapters in this section. Unit 7 discussed the "Missional Stewardship of Time," challening us to re-evaluate or busyness in light of missional priorities. As a matter for discussion/application: What needs to change in your life in order for you to be a better steward of your time in light of your calling to living missionally?

Unit 8 discusses "Missional Stewardship of Money." My experience in the church suggests that the only thing that offends people more than the Bible's views on sex is the Bible's view of money. There's plenty in here to challenge all of us. Were any of the diagnostic questions (p.69-71) helpful to you?

Unit 9 wraps things up by discussion "Missional Grace." It's a lot easier to talk about missional communities than to see one play out. Be thinking about how you can help New City (and your community group) become a more passionate, loving, humble, and cross-centered community?

Get the discussion started below. Unit 9 also referenced 3 videos. I've embedded them below. Feel free to comment on them as well. 

4 Comments

Courtney: I know exactly what you mean. I remember one time in Seminary, sitting in a coffee shop, studying for a final exam. The person a table over started a conversation about what I was reading. It was clear they wanted to talk about spiritual things, but I remember kind of blowing them off (because I was on a schedule, darnit! I had to study!). How silly is that? Studying about how to communicate the gospel to people precluded me from being open to an opportunity to share the gospel with someone. Stewardship of time FAIL right there!

Jerry: Good point on the continual need for training. However, I think the point is, once you're a Christian you are a witness for Christ by definition. Taking a test and receiving a passing score doesn't admit you to the world as a missionary. You are a missionary by virtue of being a member of the church - a community of "sent people." But we also are life-long learners, so we ought to get training and re-training as we go. Thus, the point of Porterbrook and other things like it.

PORTERBrOOK FINAL EXAM

As soon to be Porterbrook grads, we are now ready to sally forth to establish missionary outposts in this 21st century world. And because we know our stuff, we are more likely to affect the world than be affected by it. Therefore, prepare short essay answers to the following:

1) We have many "Christian" scholars of the Bart Erhman/Elaine Pagels variety who dispute that we even have an authoritative canon of scripture in our Bible. Why aren’t we studying the Gospels of Thomas, Judas, Mary, etc., they say. And all these gospels were just the works of some dead white males writing down their ideas about a god being. Our rebuttal is….?

2) We live in a culture of "great" religions such as Buddhism and Islam. No longer is Christianity unchallenged in the marketplace of ideas. Present the main points of agreement & disagreement between them & us.

3) The general population believes in a universalist comic book version of Hinduism. All will be saved after we toil up the mountain of salvation by different paths. One path is as good as another. Our answer is....?

4) The non and anti Christian's knowledge of the history of Christianity generally stops at “What about the Crusades?”. Our rebuttal on this point would be....? And in general, we would argue that Christianity over 2000 years has been a net plus because.....?

Assuming you have a passing score, procede out the door & engage the world as Christian missionaries.

Responding to Josh's question regarding Unit 7 and what needs to change in my life to be a better steward of time in light of my calling to live missionally would be my heart. It's too easy to get into a "me" mindset and block the world out of your daily routine. Without even being aware of it, I have my days blocked out with "me" time, "church" time, "work" time, etc. To be willing to be open to God's schedule for me and what He wants for me that day instead of already scheduling myself in so tightly that I fool myself into thinking that I can't have a missional mindset. I can ignore His calling to change my priorities for the day.

Regarding chapter 8 on the Missional Stewardship of $, one should probably start with the end in mind. Specifically, your shroud will have no pockets, as the Spanish put it. And if you die without a will leaving at least some to the church, your next of kin will get it all. And you know what they are like. If you believe God helped you at any point to accumulate the $, who deserves it when you are gone?

The next end in mind is the end of the month when the bills have to be paid while we're still above the ground. See page 69. Why do you have all those bills? If you can't pay God 10% off the top as a 21st century American, something is very wrong. We should reevaluate in light of what the rest of the people in the world today and in past centuries regarded as necessaary.

And as to us old folks with not much income, look to our Muslim brethren and their zakat or charitable giving. That based on net worth, not income. Let's not pretend we don't know what's squirreled away in our 401K's.

And speaking of the Muslims, they regard this charity as an obligation. Likewise, we should just do it. It's not all that important if it gives you a warm fuzzy.

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