So I do read the comments here, even if I don't always respond to them. And if there are good and interesting questions I do try to answer them. (Gervase, I am not ignoring your question about doctrine; I have half an answer in my head, and I'll post it in a bit, but it's a good and interesting question so I want to spend some more time thinking about it.)
The missionary life is, let's face it, luxurious, unreal and a little bit scary. Now I don't doubt that for some missionaries, the word “luxurious” may raise a few hackles. I know many of my brothers and sisters out there are having a really hard time. But at the same time, I imagine that most of them still have the freedom to decide their own schedules, to determine their own workload, and to prioritize spending time with people - rather than having to get up and do whatever someone else tells them, which is most of how their friends back home live.
I was asked recently by the editor of our in-house magazine to come up with something controversial for him to print. Well, he didn’t use those exact words, but the implication was very much there. And he pointed out a phrase I used a while back about church planting, and wondered if I could expand upon it. Here we go. Read more about Plantatio ecclesiae
As a mission, we at WEC say that we go “where the need is”. Not where it's easy, or where it's personally convenient, but where the need is. And, well, I could be cynical but for the most part we do that pretty well. I keep forgetting how well we do it.
I'm a visionary, big-picture kind of bloke. I like knowing where we're going and not caring about the details. In that sense, the missionary job is ideal for me - there's a very definite big picture. I know what mission in the large looks like: we want to see everyone in Japan given the opportunity to know about Jesus.
I've heard many reasons why our work might not be effective: a “resistant” culture, inappropriate contextualisation, spiritual oppression… You can add some of your own, I'm sure.
Damn, I missed it again! Yesterday was the feast day of St Nikolai Kasatkin, Enlightener of Japan, one of the most important unsung figures of Japanese missiology.
Here is a parable.
A church pastor declares to his friend, a mission society leader, that the idea of “mission societies” is obstructive and non-Biblical. Always poaching our best people! Churches should be sending missionaries out directly!
While I'm in the business of publishing articles…