Missiologist Andrew Kirk implores us to listen to two voices when reading Scripture, the voice of God (Scripture) and the voice (the cry) of the people. This process helps us to combine the central message of Scripture with the, “Reality of every situation into which the message and life of Christ comes” (2000, 14). Like a tapestry, when mission, justice and development are weaved together, a beautiful image of wholeness and flourishing comes forth from what some view as a useless rag. Isn’t that what God has done with all of us?
The complexities of hurt and suffering around our world today require that we develop responses that are multifaceted. So often in missions we have leaned upon singular reactions, when what is needed is a fuller, broader approach to bringing the restoration that is needed.
As René Padilla once put it, our missional approach should include a, “Transformational development [that] goes beyond felt needs to shalom, beyond charity to justice, beyond technology and money to the empowerment of people, especially the poor.”
The NATS that I wrote about in part 1 in that suburb of Cochabamba get it. They understand the need to stand up for the vulnerable. The day we marched I learned a very valuable lesson from them. God’s mission includes confronting injustices and working for conditions that allow for human flourishing in every new context.
Boff, Leonardo, and Clodovis Boff. Introducing Liberation Theology. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1990.
Bosch, David. Witness to the World: The Christian Mission in Theological Perspective London: Marshall, Morgan, & Scott, 1980.
Burch, Greg W. Community Children: A Minsitry of Hope and Restoration for the Street Dwelling Child. Colombia: Latin America Mission, 2005.
Christian, Jayakumar. God of the Empty-Handed: Poverty, Power and the Kingdom of God. Monrovia, CA: MARC, 1999.
Kirk, Andrew. What Is Mission? Theological Explorations. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000.
Linthicum, Robert Empowering the Poor. Monrovia, CA: MARC, 1991.