Darren Cronshaw & Rosemary Dewerse
Mission from, in and with the Margins of our Diverse World
The book itself
In October 2014 the Australian Association of Mission Studies gathered for its triennial conference in Adelaide. Two of Tony Gittin’s keynote addresses are reproduced here, with his permission. They consider the first two elements of the conference theme: theme, “Margins” and “Mission.” “Standing Fast and Breaking Through: Challenges and Possibilities for Marginal Ministry” discusses a number of understandings and types of marginality before critically reflecting on the problems but more particularly the possibilities margins and marginal people offer to mission. Tony points out that Jesus himself was marginal by choice and by example and his second chapter explores this in more depth. In “Finding the Centre at the Margins: Renewing the Call to Mission” Tony describes the distinctions created within human societies across two intersecting axes, “insider”/”outsider” and “participant”/”non-participant,” producing four quadrants representing possible social and cultural locations. He indicates which one Jesus occupied and argues that participants in mission today should operate from that same space. Beyond these two chapters papers from the conference have been selected to complete this book, which honours the person who was Ross Langmead. Between them they model, display and discuss diversity, mindful of the margins and of mission. The voices include women and men, older and younger, people from across the theological spectrum and Christian traditions, people with greatly varying personal experience and cultural perspectives, and people based in Australia, New Zealand and Cambodia. As a framework for the rest of the book we are drawing from a 2009 paper Ross himself delivered at a conference of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Mission Studies in 2009.14 In it he considered the changing landscape of mission since the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, highlighting a number of points of continuity and discontinuity with the world of the early 20th century. He went on to speak of five areas challenging effective contextual mission in the Australian context in particular: indigenous reconciliation; a multicultural vision; mission in a post-Christian society; engaging the postmodern mind; and the Asian horizon.
In these pages you will find exceptionally rich and deep thinking about the profoundly important concept of mission on, to, from and with the margins of society. As disciples of the God who chose, and still chooses, to live among the lowly, the displaced and the excluded, it is in the margins we must contemplate, find discernment, show hospitality and build the kingdom. These writings both inspire and challenge, and they form a fitting tribute to Ross Langmead, who always sought justice and completeness, and who thought and taught, loved and lived so well.
Rev Tim Costello, Chief Executive Officer, World Vision Australia
We are Pilgrims is a superb collection of essays and reflections gathered in honour of Ross Langmead—and it does him proud. It’s a remarkable collection, reflecting the wide interests and skills of the man himself. There are scholarly explorations of our diverse, multicultural and supposedly secular age, analysing the implications and challenges for Christian mission today. There are richly personal stories of marginalisation and the discovery of faith and hope amidst suffering and alienation.
The experience of indigenous and immigrant Australians is given richly personal space and honour, alongside the issues of church life and the questions of faith in a ‘post-Christian’ society. For all the breadth and immensity of these issues, however, the essays are short and eminently readable—an important element making this book widely accessible, another Ross Langmead skill! Colleagues and former students alike have joined here to honour Ross and to press forward with his invitation to live and serve as pilgrims on mission. Congratulations to Darren Cronshaw and Rosemary Dewerse on this excellent contribution.
Rev Dr Frank Rees, Principal, Whitley College
The framework for this book was developed by Ross Langmead himself in 2009 and is as appropriate now as it was then. The book considers five areas of challenge for contextual mission to be effective: indigenous reconciliation; a multicultural vision; mission in a post-Christian society; engaging the postmodern mind; and the Asian horizon. While these are worked out in the Australian context, the book has a wider appeal as these are common issues for the mission agenda in our world today. The essays offer deep theological reflection along with stories and case studies to engage and challenge the reader to work for justice and reconciliation, practise hospitality and, above all, to effect real human flourishing.
Dr Cathy Ross, General Secretary of International Association for Mission Studies and Tutor in Contextual Theologies at Ripon College Cuddesdon and CMS
Editors: Darren Cronshaw & Rosemary Dewerse
ISBN: 9780994202345 (Paperback)