My good friend and collegue JR Rozko recently wrote an article for Mere Mission called Missional Home Makers.
In it he discusses the importance of turning our homes into centers for missional activity in our neighborhoods and activities. Instead of focusing all our attention on the inward care of the family, we need to turn our attention outward into the community. One way to do this is to have a spouse at home. He says,
Having a spouse or parent who stays at home is a tremendous opportunity to cultivate relationships with and be a blessing to neighbors. To be a missional home maker, in my opinion, would mean looking to share time, resources, and stories with those we live near. It would mean concerning yourself as much with others in your community as your own family. It would mean opening your home (clean or not!) to others for the sake of building relationships and cultivating an environment of familiarity and comfortability.
This is similar to what we call the church to do, don’t focus so much on the inner workings of the church that the mission of God gets lost in the shuffle. In fact, it is the very act of participating with God in mission that keeps things moving in the right direction.
Emily and I have similar conversations often. We’ve wondered about the possibilities of both having 3/4 time jobs so we can both be home more, and what it looks like to live in and serve our neighborhoods. Examples of this aren’t readily available probably because of the pull from our culture to always be working, earning money and serving ourselves.
We’ve always been committed to living in rough neighborhoods as a way to be light in those communities, but we’ve rarely done much in the way of living missional in those places. We want to have a home that is not only a safe space for our family but also for others in need. We know that kind of living requires serious silence, prayer, hard-work and preparedness, and that the only way to do this is to be strategically located and ready at any moment. It’s hard to be in that position constantly, but I can’t help but think that the Gospel’s call to be ready at all times challenges the way I prioritize things.
JR’s article is one prod in the right direction and I hope it is questions like these that continue to challenge our status quo.
Technorati Tags: JR Rozko, missio dei, mission, missional living
2 responses to “Making Our Homes Centers of Missional Activity”
A very thoughtful post Wess. It reminds me of the encouragement in BYM’s Advices & Queries #26 which asks Friends:
“Do you recognise the needs and gifts of each member of your family and household, not forgetting your own? Try to make your home a place of loving friendship and enjoyment, where all who live or visit may find the peace and refreshment of God’s presence.”
Equally, I can’t help but be reminded of a Philip Larkin poem, which I feel inspires us to strive to ensure that a home is never “bereft of anyone to please”, and our attempts at building our homes and community can ultimately be nothing more (or less) than “a joyous shot at how things ought to be” as Larkin puts it so beautifully:
“Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft
And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.”
“Home Is So Sad”, by Philip Larkin
Although I find the use of the terminology ‘homes as centres of missional activity’ a little bit too formalised and academic for my taste, I can appreciate exactly where you’re coming from and what you’re saying! Your point about the pull from our culture to always be working, earning money and serving ourselves, I feel also extends and permeates into how we behave towards ‘strangers’ – our neighbours. In the anonymity of our increasingly ‘sub-urban’ western culture, that emphasises self-centredness, individualism, and ambivalence towards our neighbours, as almost a virtue, I wonder how can we begin to overcome this? Making eye-contact with people and smiling reassuredly is something I try to do! Perhaps, by being the first to take that leap and extend the hand of friendship – by “making love the first motion” (one of Woolman’s phrases that’s in my mind a great deal right now) – incredibly simple, but amazingly effective!
Hey, I hope you don’t mind me chipping in these points!
Hey Simon, thanks for chipping in. I really like the advice and query on that – do you have those all memorized or something?!
“I feel also extends and permeates into how we behave towards strangers – our neighbours. In the anonymity of our increasingly sub-urban western culture, that emphasises self-centredness, individualism, and ambivalence towards our neighbours, as almost a virtue, I wonder how can we begin to overcome this?”
I found to be right on! So much of our world aims at pulling us away from others, and pushing towards ourselves. I really like the Woolman quote and think it is a good step in the right direction. I think another can be fasting from things. I’ve been fasting from my blog on tuesdays and trying to make that a day of spending more time with others. It’s been a big help.