Missional Spirituality (Review)

Missional is a buzzword in the North American Church.  It’s a buzzword with a lot of ambiguity.  What does it mean to be missional?  What is a missional church?  What is a missional follower of Jesus?  These are all questions that church leaders are asking.  And there are many resources that are trying to provide some clarity to these questions.

Missional Spirituality (Paperback, Kindle) by Roger Helland and Leonard Hjalmarson is one of these many books.  Unlike many of the other texts that I’ve been reading on the subject.  Missional Spirituality builds its foundation on Jesus response to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?”  Jesus’ reply to this question is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.”

From this response Helland and Hjalmarson begin to investigate what it means to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  They focus on practices that help believers grow in their love for the Lord in all four of these arenas.  This is important as it helps people build faith and knowledge about God and move them into living the mission of God.  The authors then go into examining what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.

Missional Spirituality is by no means a ground breaking revolutionary text on what the church should be doing to be more “missional”.  However, it is a helpful text for church leaders and non-church leaders to begin to figure out what it means to live in God’s mission of grace and saving the world.

What happens to us when we hear?

I am learning Biblical Hebrew, one of the key texts in all of scripture is Deuteronomy 6:4, also known as the Shema.  Here is the text:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one

The word “hear” is shema.  It’s a verse that observant jews would recite throughout their life.  It is a reminder of who their God is, and it goes on to talk about how God’s people are to follow after God with all their heart, mind and strength.

I have been spending a good amount of time learning this verse in Hebrew.  If you would like to hear what it sounds like you can click here.

This morning I was listening to an old episode of the Radiolab podcast.  They were talking about how they work with sound to tell stories (download it here).  Radiolab does interviews with experts and they create really deep auditory experiences.  This is one of my favorite podcasts.  You can hear all of them at Radiolab.org.

This statement really struck me, “Sound is touch at a distance.”

Sound is really made up of waves that travel through the air and they travel through our ear canals and touch the tiny little bones and hairs in our ears and our brains somehow translate all of that into something that we can understand.

If sound is just touch at a distance, what happens to us when we hear, shema, the words of God.  God’s words are more than a word on a page.  When we hear them outloud, we are touched by the words of God.

We make contact with God, through his word when he hear it.

And when we pray, God hears us.  Do our prayers then touch God?

So take the time to hear the words of God

Shema Israel, adonai elohenu, adonai echad.

Hear O Israel, The LORD our God, The LORD is one!