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Missional Conversations – A Dialogue between Theory and Praxis in World Mission 

Collection of thoughtful essays representing some current thinking and practice on a range of important missional topics


Missional ConversationsMissional Conversations – A Dialogue between Theory and Praxis in World Mission
Edited by Cathy Ross & Colin Smith
SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334057062
Reviewed by: Stuart Murray Williams

In recent writings ‘mission as conversation’ has become increasingly popular as a way of understanding the stance, tone, attitude and approach of those engaged in various forms of missional activity. This collection of essays embraces this understanding and adopts it as a format for exploring a range of contemporary missional issues, contexts, challenges and responses. On each topic two contributors offer essays that separately and together reflect on theological, cultural and practical aspects of their subject, engaging in dialogue with each other and interweaving theology and experience.

The mission contexts the book addresses are the environment, migration, interfaith issues, economic disparity and urbanization. Contemporary expressions of mission it explores are community, new forms of church, southern mission movements and innovation. The concluding chapter is presented as a conversation on the intersection of mission and imagination. It is followed by an epilogue that offers various resources for developing and sustaining a missional spirituality.

As usual in a collection of essays by various writers, some contributions resonate more strongly with a reviewer than others. While this collection is not ground-breaking, it does represent some current thinking and practice on a range of important missional topics. It is certainly encouraging to encounter the range of topics under discussion, not least in the chapters on migration, economic and interfaith issues. Perhaps a surprising omission is a chapter on evangelism. Previously evangelism may have dominated some discussions of mission, but there are signs that this aspect of Missio Dei is becoming marginal. It would be helpful to understand why this is and how evangelism can be re-envisioned in theory and practice.

The mix of theory and experience generally works well, and the editors have managed to draw together a good range of authors – women and men, experienced and those who are less experienced, of different ethnicities and from different contexts. Although not all are Anglicans, most are and several, including the editors, are connected with CMS.

The essays are thoughtful and well researched but also accessible to non-specialists, readable and mostly engaging. They will hopefully invite readers into their conversations and spur them to explore further these and other missional topics.

Stuart Murray Williams is one of the coordinators of Urban Expression and director of the Centre for Anabaptist Studies at Bristol Baptist College 

Baptist Times, 26/04/2019
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