At some point, I need to make a collection of My Favorite Metaphors. Here's one that will surely make the list.
When Lewis and Clark set off in 1804 to explore the Louisiana Purchase and seek out the
Northwest Passage, I expect each of them had a sizeable library in their homes. I envision whole rooms of wonderful books on Art, Literature, Science, Philosophy, History and so on; books that they valued highly, and yet chose not to take along. For a settled life in Civilization, all those books were a great asset, but for a journey across the wilderness those same books would be a liability. For mobility and exploration, it’s important to travel light.
The “missional Church,” like those explorers, possesses a vast and wonderful library of theology, practices, liturgies, hymns, traditions, stories and so on. For a settled Church in a civilized Christendom, that depth and breadth is a wonderful gift to enjoy. But for a Church on the move into uncharted territories, the “library” is too much to carry. The missional Church needs a field guide for this venture, a “Boy Scout Manual” that can fit in a back pocket. The lighter it is, the less it will slow you down. But it needs to cover the basics: food, shelter, safety, and navigation. Thus the theme of minimalism.