In many ways, the Game of Thrones books and TV series are the Lord of the Rings for a new, emerging generation. In Westeros, the world of the series, the characters primarily believe in one God depicted as seven different, unique characters. The author was almost certainly influenced by our own Christian understanding of the Trinity. Each of these seven personas is interesting in itself, but the one which has most captured my imagination recently is the Stranger.
In the world of ...
Happy Easter from The Lab!
The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die…What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God's future. These activities are not simply ways of ...
There are many different metaphors or images to describe the Mission of God throughout the bible and Christian tradition.
Here are just ten of them which you may or may not have encountered before:
The Latin root of the word mission (“missio”) literally means sending, originating with Jesus' command to his disciples to “Go!”.
In Luke's gospel, Jesus sends out the twelve and then the seventy-two to “proclaim the Kingdom of God”. The proclamation metaphor is central to the traditional Reformed/Protestant understanding ...
We've collected together all of our Taylor Tuesdays posts into a free e-book.
The downloadable PDF features all 12 Taylor Tuesdays reflections, each featuring:
A quote on mission from J.V. Taylor's Go-Between God
Some commentary and reflections
Questions for you to ponder which connect Taylor's thoughts with your own mission context
The PDF is ideal to use in your own personal quiet time or as a group study.
Download it here.
What part should intercessory prayer play in mission?
When thinking about prayer, Taylor wants us to understand that it should not be a separate discipline which sits on its own. For him, intercession and action melt into and overlap one another. The act of 'keeping others in mind' before God should naturally lead to engaging in acts of love and service towards them.
This idea of Taylor's is very similar to the monastic idea of 'contemplative activism' - that prayer and action should ...
What role should the gifts of the spirit play in mission?
If mission is ultimately the activity of the Holy Spirit, then it makes sense the the spiritual gifts described by Paul are given with the purpose of enabling God's Mission. For many of us, we are more aware of some of these Gifts of the Spirit than others, depending on our theological background.
For some we are least comfortable with the gifts which could be categorised 'supernatural', holding the view that God ...
How important is listening to sharing faith?
Although J.V. Taylor is mainly describing inter-faith dialogue in this quote, his sentiments could easily apply to any situation in which we find ourselves with an opportunity to share our faith with others. So much of our time, when we think and talk about evangelism, is taken up by discussing what we should share. Followers of Jesus can spend hours and hours talking about how to present our faith relevant and attractive to others.
Taylor wants to suggest ...
How does social change happen?
Over the last couple of weeks, Russell Brand's edition of New Statesman, and his interview with Jeremy Paxman, have been garnering a lot of interest and attention. In the interview, Paxman seemed to be mainly concerned with Brand's refusal to vote, and whether this is really an effective way to bring about change.
For a long time there have been discussions among pioneers about whether change comes from inside or outside of structures. This could apply to both ...
What are the similarities between Taylor's 'little congregations' and fresh expressions of church ?
Writing in 1972, Taylor sees the ultimate fruit of the house-church movement of his time being found in the birth of many diverse 'little congregations'. It's remarkable to see the similarities between Taylor's vision and the many fresh expressions of church which are being birthed as new congregations across the UK and further afield.
Taylor makes three important observations about these little congregations:
They will all be different. Some will be ...
How can we create fertile soil for the seed of Christ to grow?
For J.V. Taylor, joining in with God's Mission is about humility and sacrifice. For the Spirit to be fully able to work through our encounters with others, we must be willing to let our guard down. This means that we need to come to the end of ourselves, or to put it another way: we need to get out of God's way and let the Spirit get to work.
This is ...