Mission Can Be an Expression of Peoples Liberation Assignment

Mission Can Be an Expression of Peoples Liberation Assignment Words: 4014

This essay will examine how Mission can be an expression of peoples Liberation with a focus on Poverty and Mission. A definition of terms will be given and Pooch’s article Mission as Liberation will be considered. A theological interpretation will be given by considering Jesus Chrism’s mission towards the poor. I argue on the premise of reconstruction theology highlighting education as empowerment to overcoming poverty and an effective tool for mission. 1. ZAMBIA CONTEXT I serve as minister in charge of two congregations SST Philips and Calvary in Kamala a densely populated compound of Lusaka.

In January 2009, the communicant membership were over 2000 and 800 respectively. Most of the members are unemployed due to redundancies and no employment opportunities. They belong to the many Zambia living below the poverty datum line who fail to access basic needs. Among the most vulnerable are women and children who form the majority of church membership. The church, in its aim to alleviate poverty through mission; is involved in social Justice actions like HIVE/AIDS and Social Service projects. Flooding , HIVE/AIDS, Malaria, poor education and cholera are among the community’s highest challenges.

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The question then would be what is mission and how did mission begin? 2. DEFINITION AND GENESIS OF MISSION Considering the population in Kamala, how would the church do mission that could offer liberation to unemployed people? WSDL Christian mission be an expression of people’s liberation? Busch states that Mission, as a concept has undergone changes in definitions among Christians in the way it is used. It is broadened to refer to sending of missionaries to various places and countries. This also includes the activities or work missionaries engage in, in a geographical area where the action is taking place.

It can be an organization or agency spearheading the sending of missionaries or the support rendered to a younger congregation; by an older congregation. At other times it can even be any specialized service with an aim of deepening the Christian faith. Busch citing Mјleer further proposes mission as a theological concept is understood to be proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and bringing people to faith. It is the expansion or growing of God’s reign; the heathens, pagans or unbelievers experiencing conversion and establishment of new churches.

In his study Busch states that Mission, therefore is underscored by four elements. A sender, a person sent by the sender, people or recipients of one sent and an assignment or task to be performed. Busch observes that the terminology implies a sender has authority to perform the task of sending. Among Christians, God has authority to send people to fulfill the purpose; it is the people that make up church. The church then also has a share in the authority of sending people into mission. However Kirk observed that the concept of mission and missionary give a negative image.

History reveals an alliance between the altar and the throne citing the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores in 16th century grabbing lands and hurries snatching converts. Mission to be relevant must be what Busch defines as a movement from God to the world; the church is an instrument for that mission. A brief discussion on the sender may be of benefit as Christian mission is linked to God. 3. THEOLOGICAL CONCEPT OF MISSION A. MISSION DIE Cognizant that Christian mission recognizes God’s participation as sender, I briefly articulate the process.

Busch asserts that the term Mission Die, is attributed to Karl Harvesting a German musicologist. He coined the phrase; in responding to Karl Berth’s emphasis on action Die (Latin for “the action of God”). Mission is an attribute f God and not Just an activity of the church. God is a missionary God therefore it’s not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world, but it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father including the church. The Dictionary of Mission of Theology suggests Mission Die is based on the sending of one divine person by another in the Doctrine of the Trinity.

The idea of missionary formation and practice is related to church’s participation (missions ecclesiae) in activity of divine sending into the world. The mission die is God’s activity and embraces both the church and the world. In this the church may be privileged to participate as an instrument for that mission. Busch states to participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is a fountain of sending love. In which ways can the church participate in God’s mission? B.

MISSION MOTIFS Recognizing Mission Die creates opportunity for missions ecclesiae (missionary activities of the church); some scholars have identified five motifs to form a theological framework for mission: Mission recognized as the Mission Die because God is the source of mission, the agenda, nature and purpose belong to God as Jesus the Embodiment based on the Old Testament notion, Jesus is God’s creator. Redemptive strategy the coming messiah; as prophesied by Isaiah 1 1:1-9 and continuity is found in the Synoptic gospels. Holy Spirit is central to mission as the Spirit is the primary agent of mission of the messiah.

Missionary obedience was seen as an act of submission to the Holy Spirits leadership. Church is an instrument for sending the “called out” and fulfilling God’s purpose to bring blessing to the nations. Jesus Christ modeled all meaner to embody the life of God. Church as a new immunity is characterized by shalom, passion and extends life to all races class, sex and nationality. The church draws on Chrism’s model for ministry or mission. Cultures reflect the context and meaner that people hear the Good News in their own locality and language for it to be relevant to them.

Kirk proposes mission as the way of Jesus Christ, which cannot be separated from doing God’s will and following Jesus Mission Die as Mission Christi. God’s mission is rooted or based on concrete practice it must be encountered and lived out in daily life. Both Busch and Kirk see mission as an expression of deep commitment to the Ruth, a message interpreted as News. Mission embedded in Acts 1:8 is what the church has been mandated to do beginning in the locality one is found. It no longer carries the connotation of going to far-flung places to Christianize the pagans or heathens.

Christian mission to be meaningful must recognize the challenges experienced by those it serves. 4. DEFINITION OF POVERTY Christian mission in Kamala could be carried out through education provision, disease and poverty alleviation. Four approaches to the definition and measurement of poverty have been developed. Poverty is defined in terms of income, capability, social exclusion and participatory approaches. A common method of defining poverty is the income method which defines it in relation to shortfall in consumption. It uses a given threshold in terms of US dollars that is required for a decent standard of living.

It defines poverty in terms of a shortfall in consumption. In her study Chubbier asserts that according to the World Bank, those below the “one-dollar-a-day” are extremely poor (cannot afford to have adequate food) and “two-dollars-a-day” per person are moderately poor. In a research the CZ Health Department states “Poverty bevels in Zambia have remained high, 2002; the overall poverty incidence was estimated at 67%. ” The capability approach pioneered by Mammary Seen suggests that poverty is the deprivation of basic capabilities rather than the merely lowness of incomes”.

He further suggests that the expansion of human capabilities should be employed to determine human well-being. The social exclusion concept refers to a process through which people are excluded from full participation in the society to which they belong. The final approach developed by Robert Chambers gained widespread use in the poverty debates within the World Bank. It is an approach favored by the European Union as well. The World Bank characterizes this way of understanding poverty as Vivaciousness and powerlessness.

This refers to the inability of people to influence processes and development programmer to impact positively on their actual life situation. Poverty is also often defined as lack of basic life essentials like food, shelter, clothing, adequate clean water and sanitation, access to medical care and education. Poverty is linked to poor people who according to Hugo Kramer are normalized; lack active and passive participation in society. He emphasizes that marginality comprises all spheres of life resulting in a subhuman condition. Racism is identified as a form of poverty inflicted on people.

For the CZ and Kamala inadequate education would be identified as poverty. Recognizing Gut©Rorer’s expression of the right of the poor to think out their own faith as liberation, Busch postulates that salvation, fellowship and solidarity are metaphorical speech. He observed that poor were put at the centre of musicological reflection at Melbourne they became the dominions hermeneutic category. Affirmation of the poor became the musicological principle par excellence. Kirk expresses poverty as death caused by hunger, sickness or oppressive methods implemented by the privileged.

He further identifies physical death, cultural death and any other circumstance of destructive oppression that gives unity and strength to the dispossessed of the world. The poor are deprived of quality goods and services such as basic objects that sustain life like adequate nourishment, housing, clothing and health care. They are seen as objects of serious discrimination because they are deprived access to decision making processes, when it comes to Justice they have no guaranteed redress and face intimidation.

Over the years, we have been flooded with definitions, statistics and pictures of poverty around the world. Increasingly, poverty has assumed an African face with sub-Sahara Africa being cited for extreme impoverishment. Highest among the poor are the women as poverty has been feminizes because the majority are affected as a result widowhood compounded with property grabbing, lack of education. The HIVE/AIDS pandemic cannot be ignored neither can children nor young people, the differently abele and the minority racial or religious groups.

For some, having poor people in the society has come to be dewed as a norm rather than an exception. After all, the bible says “the poor we will always have”! However, the question is who are these poor and what can the church doing in response to poverty as mission for it to be liberation? 5. GOD’S PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR THE POOR The phrase “preferential option for the poor” was coined by Pueblo who saw preference as denying all inclusiveness as though God would be interested only in the poor. The word option and not optional is used to consider the poor as being first.

God’s attention focuses on them and the church has no choice but to demonstrate solidarity with the poor. It has been noted that modern capitalism makes the rich Christians to interpret biblical sayings on poverty in figurative language or symbols. For example “blessed are the poor in spirit” the poor are recognized as the ones whose dependence is totally upon God. The rich could also be poor as they arrogate promises to themselves. Molten in Kim in explaining the Korean Mining theology links Jesus to the gospel of the poor (schools) which recognizes the native popular and resistance traditions.

He cites Marks narratives where Jesus is with the crowds, many, the people to imply schools as the main reason or his coming or ministry. These poor gather around and follow Jesus and the crowd has sinners who are excluded from Jewish society, the impoverished country people of the land with no property. John:12 shows people that are not in an economical status to keep the law of Israel and this created space for the Pharisees to look at them as mass perditions(multitude of the lost). On the other hand Kirk presents Jesus as willing to associate with outsiders those who social conditions excluded.

He identifies the lepers, diseased people, sinners, prostitutes, debtors, collaborators with Rome and bonded labors. In the gospel the poor had no financial and family resources so society saw them as deviants. He demonstrates the acceptance by a merciful God and forgiveness of sins by quoting Isaiah 25:6-8 and Luke 13:29 that reveal celebrating the feast of the messianic time. Jesus teaches people the Gospel of the Kingdom, the messianic beatitudes, discipleship ethics on the Sermon on the Mount.

He came on a mission on behalf of the poor and the love for the many, nameless crowds the people the family. God’s people of God’s kingdom are called and chosen they experienced healing miracles and had table-fellowship and empowered o be disciples of the cross as Christ shed his blood for them to bring salvation or emancipation. It ties up with the concept of biblical Justice which brings harmony to community: the Jubilee, release or liberation. Exodus 21:2-6, Leviticus 25:8, 13, 39-41 and Deuteron 15:1-18. The church in its mission is challenged to preach a cosmic justice. . MISSION AS EXPRESSION OF PEOPLE’S LIBERATION The concept of liberation is linked to Jubilee affirming this Busch states liberation as “an attempt to evade cry, a metaphorical speech of “salvation, liberation, fellowship and solidarity. The conceptualization of Christianity set its focus on exploring the nature of liberation theology thus bringing a paradigm shift. Theology of Liberation is a multifaceted phenomenon which has manifested itself as Black, Hispanic/ Meridian of USA, Latin American Theology, Feminist and South African Black Theology.

His view is embedded on the recognition of Guttering who saw liberation as an expression of the right of the poor to think out their own faith. Kirk defines liberation as Justice, where identity with the poor is established: the poor come as a result of macro and micro development projects. He links Justice to God who is Justice and all actions are consistent with God’s nature or attributes. Justice is known as God’s acts of deliverance through laws and the kind of relationship with humanity. Cheerier observes that liberation is concerned with salvation as it analyses the lived experience of people.

Liberation seeks to uncover the forces of oppression, struggle, violence and power bringing a need for change. Biblically liberation portrays God’s mighty acts of freeing the chosen race from various oppressions as reflected in the exodus. The Israelites encountered liberation from exploitation, oppression and experience the ushering in of a new covenant relationship.. Judging from Busch, Kirk and Cheerier they seem to agree that liberation is a quest for Justice. Liberation in that light becomes an expression of people as they seek to challenge oppressive structures and establish social change.

Raja The social change concept is understood as an alteration in the social structure of a group or society. It will affect change in the nature, social institutions, social behavior or social relationships of a society. A change like this is considered as development. 7. THE CONCEPT OF DEVELOPMENT The dictionary of mission theology defines development as a human endeavourer with the purpose of personal, communal, national or international transformation of social ethics. According to Fickler writing about Christian commitment in relation to International development describes the process of liberation.

He expresses liberation from hunger, poverty, disease, unjust economic structures, violation of human rights and power structures which deny people access to resources needed for life. In his view development aims at Justice and the improvement of living conditions which contribute to peace. This is built on the premise of historiography’s Idea for Progress” a theory advancing technology, science and social organization. The assumption is that human improvement is a condition that makes people happier in relation to the quality of life.

International development is undersigned by three theories of Modernization, Dependency (dependencies) and World Systems. Mammary Seen the Nobel Prize winner for economics, going beyond the income threshold has widened the scope by defining “development,” using the capability and functioning approach. He says they are central to development as freedom meaner assessing or evaluating human progress in terms of freedom. Seen has added the whole question of Justice by stressing the need for freedoms and entitlements.

Five freedoms are identified in his study as freedom of economic opportunity, political freedom, social facilities, and transparencies guaranteed (law/business) and protective security (against crime and aggression). They sound like rephrased United Nations Millennium Development Goals or amplified Mascots hierarchy of Needs. Similarly, the United Nations Development Programmer (UNDO) Human Development Index measures development in terms of knowledge – education, life expectancy – health and a decent standard of living – income.

Seen and Mound’s formulation of development reminds Christians, that poverty is also a moral problem and therefore each one of us has a moral obligation to respect and defend the dignity of every human being. When this is done it can be referred to as mission humanities 8. MISSION HUMANITIES Mission Humanities (mission of humanity) is built on the notion of “Responsibility, Solidarity and Mutuality’: an act of responsibility, going forth of human in response to the other humans, Earth and Earth community. Thingamajig defines mission as a relative term, with the connotation of a matrix of human relationships that are a manual affair.

Humans exist in a missionary mode and strive to be responsible over self, accountable and have reflective consciousness. On Solidarity Thingamajig observes that Nibbler’s identification of social solidarity was connected to a continued discourse. It implies that as humans interact they continue to form a society. Responsibility is recognized as ideological in character, as the implication wants to take responsibility for others by doing something for them. From human experience it can be affirmed that tragedy has arisen when humans seek to take responsibility over others.

Thingamajig postulates that “Through the ages we have seen individuals, groups, nations arrogating themselves responsibility for the destiny of their neighbors”. The outcome has been a relationship between oppressors and oppressed economically, politically, culturally or socially. In my view this can be recognized in the western concept of mission as the western church went out to evangelize the pagans and heathens and transmitted Western ethos of life and worship as Christianity. Christian mission gave rise to a Dependency syndrome, where development is seen as partnership: yet the powers are colonially inclined.

Busch emphasizes this “for the West, development meant modernization: development aid and skills moved from Western donors to recipients who had not even been consulted”. For example ICC heavily depends on Donor funding for its health and education programs, which does not provide space for the church to work outside the budget. If it does that the donor considers it as misappropriation of donor funding. In Christian mission the act of responsibility is done in the mode of solidarity and will involve more being-with-news. In liberation is the notion of solidarity where humans in their relationships recognize respect for each person.

Intermingled into the relationship, are structural relations giving rise to a willingness to work with and alongside the other. Solidarity, presumes distinction: a renouncing of all interference in one another projects. It demands accountability and causes one to be vulnerable and results in creative tension. This vulnerability opens one to change which must be welcomed as critique and alteration of reality. Solidarity is also interconnectedness of human life and an understanding of issues. Cohesiveness needs to exist among communities of struggle resulting in mutuality.

Mission Humanities, has a notion of utility distinguishing mission as universal and it is humanity mission to accomplish responsibility and solidarity. Mutuality becomes imperative in mission establishing a relationship based on mutuality as it destroys the notion of missioners and missioner or missionary. History of slavery bears witness to that and Busch identified the church’s link to the Spanish conquistadors. Mission Humanities as a paradigm shift challenges the church to do mission focused on humans and not ecclesia or denominations.

A focus on humans will rule out segregation, normalization and none will be in the periphery. It promotes liberation as a concept of self-development and progress of a community embedded on the concept of Mission as Reconstruction. 9. MISSION AS RECONSTRUCTION: THE WAY FORWARD The missionary mandate of Christ makes the church have mission at the heart of its life. Church was commissioned to make disciples of all nations, to teach and Baptist. Kirk asserts that it “church bears witness, having been called to the risky task of being the living interpretation of God’s kingdom. He states the church is an advocate, emissary, in the work of reconciliation, peace and Justice. It was also commanded to follow the teachings of love for neighbor including compassion for the needy and giving to poor. The church’s commitment to the poor is recognized as restoration of dignity and total wellbeing that assists to meet the basic human need. Mural suggests that the church needs to balance its service provision, proclamation of the prophetic word with commitment to Justice, peace and reconciliation.

Another scholar Unmerged emphasizes that the church offers moral guidance and provides identity, acceptance and religiosity to uprooted communities. It is recognized for its initiative in education and medical provisions which Mural expresses as welfare provision, emergency relief and pastoral care. These are commendable yet the argument I have is that church like Nags is becoming a catalyst to poverty and not liberation. In its quest for emancipation of the poor it creates a dependency syndrome in the recipients and this must be challenged.

Access to knowledge and information are vital to development, and Community Development seeks to empower individuals and groups by providing skills needed to affect change. Take for example The ICC Health Department has a vision in its strategic plan mission tenement “To provide cost effective quality health services as close to the family as possible in order to ensure equity of access in health delivery and contribute to the human and socio-economic development of nation” In the quest for mission the church has an WIDTHS Policy which mandates every congregation to set up an HIVE/AIDS and Social Services committee.

Its aim is to provide awareness and mitigation in congregations. The church depends heavily on donor funding for these programs and has no project for self-sustenance. How can it speak of liberation Justice when it is dependent on donors? Workshops and seminars re provided as tools of empowerment yet all too often the results are not long- lasting. The focus is on assassinations and awareness; self-sustenance skills are neglected. The strategic plan reveals that the HIVE prevalence is 16% high among people aged sixteen to forty-nine highest among the vulnerable are women.

Most women are uneducated, unemployed and have families to care. How do they do this when all they receive are hand-outs of clothes and basic food once in three months? This gives rise to poverty and creates other preventable diseases. Congregations were directed to observe an HIVE/AIDS Sunday in every three months for purposes of insemination these have turned into fundraising and clothes distribution times. Other social needs like water and sanitation and education are neglected at the expense of HIVE/AIDS programs.

The church is likened to Nags who appear to be involved in the work because of monetary gains. Liberation can only be fully recognized if the church invested in the human resource at grass root level to combat and spear head the HIVE/AIDS programs. Social workers or community development officers who will assist congregation to fulfill its missionary mandate are a necessity in the congregations if the vision is to be achieved.

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