He works in mysterious ways, as usual…
We found this book (to your right) abandoned and sitting in a parking lot nearly in perfectly good condition. It’s called, “Footprints of God: A Narrative Theology of Mission” by Charles Van Engen, Nancy Thomas, Robert Gallagher. At first, we really didn’t think much of it, but something spiritual immediately came over us and made us want to pick it up. As if we were drawn to the book and it was out of our control to refuse. So, needless to say nervously, that’s what we did.
John 15:16— “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”
We continued on throughout the evening not really thinking much of it, until we woke up the following Sunday to grab something out of the car (which was the next day)… and there it was, sitting on the passenger side, staring us down like lunch. So we walked into the driveway towards the front door clutching the book our my hands, as if it was the last book that we would ever get to read. While staring and daydreaming at the new plants that we had just planted a week ago on the front porch of our home, it was fitting for us to sit and explore the new discovery.
Getting Into It.
Come to find out, this book left in the parking lot to be eventually either blown away by the wind or torn to shreds by a vehicle, was actually pretty engaging. Of course, God was the topic, but from the perspective of a person on a spiritual mission to put their calling into practice. Very briefly and passively we read. Simply looking to grasp the concept.
Eventually, we did and begin very intimately sharing scattered thoughts with each other. Then, we wanted to write about what we were learning to make it more of a every day learning experience for our relationship. So here we are, with this “no longer abandoned book” that God would not allow us to resist, including it in the “Amadi Chronicles”.
Matthew 28: 19-28—“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
First Reading: Thesis of Introduction
Chapter 1— Mission of, in and on the Way: “It is that biblical theology of mission (1) must be centered in Jesus Christ—mission of the Way; (2) happens among the peoples and cultures of our world—mission in the way; and (3) moves forward over time in the faith-pilgrimage of God’s people, as they anticipate Christ’s present and coming kingdom—mission on the way.” This paragraph laid down the foundation not only for the first chapter, but for us, the principles that we needed to keep in mind and learn, in order to move forward to the next chapter—throughout the entire book.
Theology Needs Missiology
Theology of mission was established as a discipline in 1961 by Gerald Anderson with the publication of The Theology of the Christian Mission according to author Charles Van Engen. “Our mission is none other, neither more nor less, than participation in Jesus’ mission. To say it negatively, when it is not Christ’s mission, it may be colonial expansion, church extension, proselytism or social services—but it is not mission. Our mission is biblical mission only when it is centered in Jesus Christ. Our mission if of the Way.”
Acts 20:24—“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
Again,“of the Way” is emphasized in the above paragraph by Engen and he further solidifies his message by explaining the difference between man’s mission and God’s mission in this passage. This is very intriguing because it lead us to think very deeply about our own personal deeds in life. Are we serving man even if it appears to be righteous according to the biblical scripture or are we sincerely just serving the Lord? It was a moment where we questioned any “good deed(s)” that we were doing on a daily basis and if it was simply out of love/respect for the Higher Power. Without mission, theological education is merely a form of education that can be transferred into a profession, but not a way of serving God.