Living Mission: The Vision and Voices of New Friars Edited by Scott A Bessenecker

I went to a conservative evangelical seminary where the Scriptures are taught faithfully. However, I still remember the shock I experienced when during one Church History Class we were told that the ministers who most often went into the slums of cities were Catholic priests. They were the ones who went to the poorest of the poor and sickest of the sick and ministered. Protestants liked to have congregations who were able to hear and appreciate the preached word. Protestant’s tended to minister in the middle class areas. Preaching is good and right. But we need to also be the hands of Christ, and this is why I come away from readings books like Living mission: The Vision and Voices of New Friars wrestling with a whole host of emotions including admiration, excitement, shame and conviction.

The New Monasticism movement is about reaching out with both the gospel and the love of Christ through physical presence and real practical help, in other words, mission. Do not misunderstand – this is not unthinking social action. The various authors in this book are clearly deep thinkers of scripture – people who have meditated on the word of God; have heard the call of God; and have acted, giving their lives completely to the service of Jesus – giving up all else to follow him. We say that we live in a Global society – this is a book about Global mission which begins right on our door steps.

These are not super-christians, or super-humans but each of the authors are on the front line and the cutting edge of mission, passionate and committed. It’s not glamorous and exotic; it’s serious, hard, powerful and Kingdom centered.

My hope is that you will read this book. You will probably feel uncomfortable with some of this book, but then you will also be challenged – challenged to re-think what mission is. Which is a good thing.

Highly Recommended.

A Good Death

I have found it to be a privilege to be with someone who dies well. Death is hidden from us in our society. And even as a priest I do not always get to the hospital or hospice in time for someone to die – we invariably arrive just after someone has died. Yesterday I received a call from a parishioner whose mother was dying. I jumped in the car and got to the hospice just as the mother was dying. We prayed, asking Jesus to receive her as she breathed her last breath. She died so peacefully as Jesus came to take her spirit to be with him. I thought how incredible it was that I was there as Jesus took Nellie to be with him. She now knows the truth. All the struggles and doubts and questions are all gone. She is with her Lord and knows the wonderful truth that heaven is real.