Most evangelism assumes that, somewhere along the line, we must lever in ‘the word of God’ as if there is some core verbal message that must be ‘got across; – creating a posture where we are telling them the solution to their life – with little or no intention of listening ‘genuinely’ to the other person.
Real mission is surely a deep challenge to the cheap ways we sometimes try to ‘offer’ the gospel to the world.
The truth seems to be that mission is inextricably bound up in the undefended life that is always open to that which is outside.
The undefended life is, by its nature, never closed off.
As we become more undefended we find ourselves being drawn outside our familiar, comfortable places, to unfamiliar hinterlands or alien territories.
Life will always be lived on the threshold.
We will both know and not know.
Life here is experienced in tension; we are both held, known, secured, yet at the same time, we are vulnerable, pressing into the unknown, listening to the voice of God amidst the lost, dark places of the world.
We are never fully accepted or welcomed, for our posture in the world resists being drawn into the ‘club’ – the secure, intimate self-referential community of those who all believe the same thing, do the same thing, and see the world in the same way.
The follower of God is always, in some form, an outsider.
They unsettle the settled and yet, at the same time settle the unsettled.
They are a disruptive presence, cutting across the stories the world tells itself, and yet at the same time, offering a kind of story which fulfils all others.
As C S Lewis put it, “God gives us many resting places on the way home, but none are so comfortable that we mistake them for home itself”.