Vol 2:8 Living Theologically, Living Missionally

Something else I do besides pastoring a congregation and teaching adjunctly in seminaries is that I am involved in community organizing around food justice issues. Specifically I am part of an initiative, that I was involved in starting about 2 years ago, known as Ten Thousand Gardens (www.lovingneighbor.org) which seeks to get more fresh produce into the food pantries of our communities here in Lake County, IL, in order to increase the wellness of those who cannot easily afford a healthier diet.

The reason I bring this up is to point out a discussion I was involved in this week, where I was talking with a farm manager, who also happens to be going to seminary, about developing a partnership between churches, farms, and food pantries for the sake of providing food for those who are poor – feeding those who are the least of these (cf. Matthew 25). In diagramming the partnership we were thinking about developing we realized that our conversation was infused with theological language – in fact we could not help but speak about such a partnership theologically, because we believe deeply that God notices those who are poor, those who are marginalized and disenfranchised by our current economic structures.

As we drew a circle around the three interacting circles, of a local farming community, a group of 2-3 churches, and two food pantries, we realized we were also thinking missionally. Such a partnership is not something we are desiring to be involved in merely for the sake of mutual relationships, but rather we began seeing it as something the Spirit of God is creating in order for us to participate in what touches the heart of God. Our partnering, perhaps even a kind of koinonia, if you will, is for the sake of participating together in mission, in partnership with God and God’s mission of restoring humanity and creation. We are coming together ultimately for God’s purposes.

This reminded me of the purpose of my living as a disciple of Jesus Christ – I cannot help but think of all that I am involved in through a theological and missional lens, because as a disciple of Jesus Christ I cannot divide my life into different compartments – and whether it seems that some of the things I am involved in are more sacred and others more secular, they indeed are all theological, all missional because it is the call upon my life to follow after Christ and to be sent by Christ in the power of the Spirit to participate with God in God’s mission in making all things new. Though I may not speak theologically or missionally in the many contexts I find myself in as I am involved in community organizing around food justice issues – I know that I am driven to be missional in whatever contexts the Spirit of God is leading me into.

May you also see all of what you are engaged in day to day through theological and missional lenses.

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