Monday, March 22, 2010

What Kind of God?

Missio Dei is a Latin phrase that simply means "the mission of God." Many today have recognized that mission is not the mission of the church or even specific churches but it is actually God's mission in the world. Alan Roxburgh and I write about this in our book, but we are not the first emphasize this. Theologians like Karl Barth and Lesslie Newbigin wrote about this decades ago.

Recently I've been wrestling again with questions about the nature of God and how I envision God. It suddenly hit me a few days ago that the kind of God often talked about in churches is not the kind of God that has much love for the world. This God (or god) emphasizes rules, control and is really very concerned about how much glory we give him. I've seen so many people in churches who carry the weight of trying to get things right that they posses very little joy, only trickle of hope and even less love. The God they envision is not the beautiful God of accepting, forgiving and restoring love but one who is angry, frustrated, and punitive.

So to think about such churches being missional is less than thrilling. Honestly, who can fall in love with a God who demands our obedience? Who can join in freely with a God who strikes fear who threats of punishment?

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