Book Review: Missional Preaching (part 2)

This post is part 2 of a two part review of Al Tizon’s book entitled Missional Preaching. You can read part 1 here.

As I covered in the first post, Missional Preaching is divided into two parts, with part one discussing the essentials of Missional Preaching and the second detailing the goals. While each chapter really merits its own attention, two chapters in particular gripped me. In his chapter entitled ‘Preaching for Inculturation’ Tizon writes,

The proclivity of U.S. Christians to create their own subculture within the larger culture-ie., interacting primarily with one another, making friends primarily among themselves, patronizing only Christian businesses, listening to only Christian music and developing their own ‘Christian-ese’ is its own North American vision of the ‘mission compound.

Tizon uses the word “inculturation”, originally used by Catholic missiologists, to describe the combination of enculturation with incarnation and its impact on how it is we go about this life. The chapter goes on to detail the characteristics of the Inculturated life, namely;

  1. Real Relationships with Real People
  2. Cultural and Political Participation
  3. Knowledge of Community History
  4. Vulnerability
  5. Identification with the Poor and Marginalized
  6. Love for Culture

In this way, ‘Missional Preaching’ reads much more like a handbook on Missional engagement than an homiletical text, and for that I am incredibly great-full.

Similarly, his chapter on ‘Preaching the Scandal of Jesus’ did not disappoint. Acknowledging the tension that exists when we seek to engage graciously with those outside faith while at the same time remaining faithful to the Gospel, Tizon writes;

True ecumenism acknowledges and appreciates the rich diversity of the world’s religions but encourages people of different faiths to be who they are so that genuine dialogue can occur. Far from avoiding differences that may offend, true ecumenism cultivates a sacred space where people of different faiths can intensely, passionately, and respectfully listen to and share their heartfelt convictions with one another. In this light, Christians should bring to the ecumenical round table nothing less than the beliefs and practices of authentic biblical Christianity.

In the conclusion the writer finally comes clean by confessing, “in truth I set forth to write nothing less than a theology of mission, but one with preachers in mind…[for] the study of mission must not be relegated to seminary halls and libraries alone. It must ultimately grab hold of pastors in the trenches who in turn inspire the people of God under their care to engage the world in mission.”

To this end, Tizon has succeeded, by providing a work that is simultaneously educational, engaging and practical. If you are looking for a work that will help you begin or continue to think about how to shape your people in missional thinking and practice, through the work of preaching, do yourself a favor and pick this up!

“God does not call us to a life of self imposed misery and asceticism, any more than He calls us to a life of more successful scrambling. We are called to a life that is much more festive, celebrative and satisfying than anything the rat race can offer. God calls us to a good life that elevates relationships, celebration, worship, family, community and service above the values of acquisition, individualism and materialism.” Tom Sine

In the Chapter entitled ‘Preaching for whole life Stewardship’ in Missional Preaching, by Al Tizon

— The Good Life

Crafting Good Questions

One of the things I most enjoy, and sadly seem to run out of time for, is blog reading. Among many of the benefits of the internet is the opportunity to learn from and engage with many others, across several disciplines, for the purpose of mutual edification, promoting of understanding and sheer fun. Regardless of whether or not I happen to agree with everything I encounter, I seldom leave something I have read without a better understanding of whatever the topic in question is. An essential element in cultivating understanding is a desire to see the author prove his/her point in a conversation even if there is disagreement.

In this post from one of my favorite sites, The Art of Manliness, guest author Tony Valdes writes the third and final post in a series on active listening. Focusing mainly on the art of crafting good questions, Valdes gives us a series of templates to use in seeking better and cordial understanding in conversation. In an evangelical culture that sadly tends towards looking for ways to disagree rather than finding common ground, words like the following are refreshing and needed.

The importance of respectfulness and tact in our responses cannot be overstated, regardless of whether we are asking questions, agreeing, disagreeing, or qualifying.  As gentlemen, we need not stoop to rude or abrasive responses.  Even the best listening can be nullified and the interaction ruined by boorish behavior.

Read the whole thing here.

Book Review: Missional Preaching (part 1)

This post is part 1 of a two part review of Al Tizon’s book entitled Missional Preaching.

Being someone who cares deeply, not only for the Missional conversation, but also for the necessity of Biblical preaching, I was uniquely interested when my good friend and mentor Brad Brisco asked me to read and respond to a new book by Al Tizon entitled “Missional Preaching”. However, I must admit at first glance the idea of a whole work on Missional Preaching was initially a non-starter.

We don’t have to look very far in the current Christian publishing landscape to see examples of authors or publishing houses slapping the term “missional” on a book or curicculum in some surreptitious hope of selling more copies, without fully understanding, or having much care for, the nuance and weight the term carries.  While the term, missional happens, for some, to be nothing more than the latest buzz word, for Tizon it is clearly much more!

Missional Preaching is divided into two parts with the first discussing in great detail the Essentials of Missional Preaching and the second, the goals of Missional Preaching. If one was looking for nothing more than a good primer on the missional conversation they couldn’t do much better than the introduction and first chapter of the book. Just a taste…

To be Missional means to join God’s mission to transform the world, as the church strives in the Spirit to be authentically relational, intellectually and theologically grounded, culturally and socioeconomically diverse and radically committed to both God and neighbor, especially the poor

The Essentials of Part 1 are devoted to, Missio Dei, Kingdom Hermeneutics, and Worship; Each highlighting how it is the Missionary Nature of God informs and under-girds all we do and preach.

In the next post I hope to elaborate more on some of the themes mentioned above as well as provide some overview of Part 2 of Tizon’s great work.

In short, if you are who cares deeply for the missional conversation and Biblical preaching and have pondered at the interplay between the two, you cannot do better than Tizon’s work

Regular Hospitality

My good friend and mentor Brad Brisco, along with his wife Mischelle and their two boys have spent the last year providing foster care in our community. During that time they have housed over 40 different kids and in this post he shares a little bit about what he and his family have experienced and learned. Just a taste…

I can’t fully articulate how we have been blessed over the past year. That is the funny thing about biblical hospitality, just when you think it is about welcoming the stranger, for their benefit, you realize that it is you who is being blessed by the presence of the “stranger.”

My first reaction when reading Brad’s account is how absolutely radical this is! Yet upon further review, Hospitality of this kind should be the most normal action of the follower of Jesus. Instead of this hospitality being radical for us, it should be regular.

As Jessica and I consider adoption in the future as part of God’s plan for our family, I encourage you to join me in prayerfully considering how God is calling you to look after the orphans and widows in your community.

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

You know those soft, fluffy, frosted, delicious sugar cookies sold in grocery store bakeries? Well now you can make them at home. These are so good… And with 3 sticks of butter in just the cookie part.. How could they not be? Another plus, these are super easy to whip up! I even tried substituting the flour with a gluten free flour blend ( and a little xantham gum) and they were pretty tasty too.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs.. Annie’s Eats

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
Yield: about 2 dozen large cookies

Ingredients:
For the cookies:
4½ cups all-purpose flour
4½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting:
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7-8 tbsp. milk (plus more, as needed)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

DIRECTIONS
To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk together to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop a scant quarter cup of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2-3 inches apart. Bake about 10-12 minutes or just until set. (Do not overbake! The edges should be no more than very lightly browned if at all.) Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To frost the cookies, place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired. Use an offset spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies. (If the frosting begins to thicken as you decorate, just continue to whisk in small amounts of milk to keep it workable.) Top with sprinkles if desired. Store in an airtight container.

Side Walk Chalk Paint!

Here’s a fun easy idea to try with your kids this spring!  I like to use a cupcake tin.  It works perfect so you can have several colors in easy spot.  Simply add a couple tablespoons of cornstarch to the tin, add water and stir.  The consistency will be kind of weird at first but keep stirring and it will turn smooth.  Add a couple drops of food color, stir, and you have paint!  We have already done this several times.  Gracie loves it.  She also loves taking a spray bottle and trying to wash away her pictures once she is done.  Give it a try!

 

 

 

One Project Closer

One of my new favorite places on the web is One Project Closer. At the site you will find a wealth of information, including how to guides with pictures, for a variety of home improvement projects.

This Post shows how to paint and hang peg board in your garage or shop. Simple project yes, but the reminder and step by step is incredibly helpful. Below is picture of their finished project. Enjoy!

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