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What Kind of God?

How does a missional mindset or perspective impact the way we read Scripture?

How does the Bible speak to and through a missional disciple?

And seriously, what kind of God is God?

A missional reading of Scripture is pivotal to helping the church find its way back to its true vocation and to helping newly forming missional communities follow the triune God revealed in Jesus. To the extent that the church is absorbed with itself and its own comfort and agendas, it has forsaken the God revealed in Jesus, whom we claim to follow. The mission of God will lead us to confront the injustices in our society, shed light on the lies we tell ourselves, and name the sickness in our midst.

Reading the Bible with (and as) a missional church means we approach the Bible with the assumption that God is actually up to something in this world, that we are all called to play an active role in that something, and that the Bible is the story of that something.

What kind of God is God? We invite you to read with us, and see for yourself.

Excerpt from What Kind of God?:

Returning Home

“This is what the Lord says: Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.”[1]

Fifty years had passed since King Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem, leveled Solomon’s Temple, and carried many of the Israelites into exile in Babylon. Those who returned decades later discovered the once great city of Jerusalem in ruins.

Though this was the first time many of the exiles had seen their homeland, every one of them knew the stories. They had heard of the enormous and seemingly impenetrable city walls. They knew of the broad gates that had granted safe passage to the common folk and priests of Israel as well as to foreign kings, queens, and dignitaries who traveled tremendous distances to see this great marvel for themselves.

Even those born in Babylon carried memories of how the incomparable Solomon’s Temple had stood on the hill overlooking the city. Each could recite stories of singing the Psalms of Ascent as family members made the trip together up the mountain to the temple.

Men, women, and children alike knew the dread of seeing enemy soldiers camped outside the gates; the panic of seeing the enemies storm through those gates. They felt the terror of watching as friends and family fell to the sword.

They carried the permanent mental image of smoke rising in the distance as thousands of captives made their way into exile.

As one who was coming home, it didn’t matter if you had ever physically stood in the city, because you had been there countless times in the memories passed on by your community. And you had likely joined your people as they sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept for what was lost.

Now, after a lifetime of waiting, you were walking on the same ground where David and Solomon had walked—maybe even the very spot where their feet once stood. You saw landmarks you immediately recognized from the stories. You felt you could almost reach out and touch the sense of rightness and belonging in the air. You were finally home.

And yet.

The walls, the city, the temple . . . all gone. You were back, but you were not. You may have returned, but it was all still just a memory. You were standing in Jerusalem, but the Jerusalem you dreamed of was no more.

The process of rebuilding would involve much more than raising walls, for the buildings were not the only things lying in ruins. The social and political structures had to be reestablished. Would the faith and covenant identity of the people be reaffirmed? Redefined? Replaced altogether?

Rebuilding Jerusalem required an answer to the deceptively elusive question, “Who are we?”  

[1] Isa 56:1 (NIV).

 

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