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Missionalia (Online) vol.43 no.3 Pretoria  2015 



Together towards life - Sailing with pirates



Nelus Niemandt1




In this research, the 2013 mission affirmation of the World Council of Churches' (WCC), Together towards life - Mission and evangelism in changing landscapes (TTL), is evaluated through a rather unique hermeneutical lens by interpreting and assessing the ecumenical discourse in the light of the book by Kester Brewin, Mutiny, Why we love pirates and how they can save us (2012), and by integrating these insights.
The research acknowledges the emphasis on life-affirming mission in TTL, and the approach that a theological bridge is established between the Christian faith, secular worldviews, indigenous religions, and wisdom traditions, because the gospel is good news for all of creation. The following questions are investigated in the light of this: How can the idea of life be reconciled with the mission of God? What is the content and scope of "life" and what is "life" all about? The focus is on the economic-political- social consequences of adapting "life" as a theological point of departure. The research integrates a re-evaluation of piracy, as unpacked by Brewin, with the missional endeavour of discernment and the discovery of what "fullness of life" can mean in our day and times. It discusses piracy and mission as: resistance against the idolatry in the free-market economy; the restoration of the commons and koinonia in places where relationships flourish; living in the margins; and economic and ecological liberation in the Kingdom as a place of freedom.

Keywords: Life in fullness; mission from the margins; piracy; defending the commons; economic freedom



1. The issue

What is life all about? What is life in fullness, as referred to by the World Council of Churches' (WCC) in the new mission affirmation, Together towards life - Mission and evangelism in changing landscapes (TTL)? When one evaluates TTL, the focus on the relationship with creation and life in all its fullness is very clear. This intention of the document is already made clear in the introduction of the theme (ed. Keum 2013:4): "We believe in the Triune God who is the creator, redeemer, and sustainer of all life. God created the whole oikoumene in God's image and constantly works in the world to affirm and safeguard life." This is also emphasised in the very next statement: "God invites us into the life-giving mission of the Triune God and empowers us to bear witness to the vision of abundant life for all in the new heaven and earth". Later on it says that "the church is commissioned to celebrate life, and to resist and transform all life-destroying forces" (ed. Keum 2013:4). "The mission of the church is to prepare the banquet and to invite all people to the feast of life" (ed. Keum 2013:37 - own emphasis).

The 2013 General Assembly of the WCC received another policy document - The Church (TC). This document also refers to this aspect of mission: "The Church, as the body of Christ, acts by the power of the Holy Spirit, to continue this life-giving mission in prophetic and compassionate ministry and so participates in God's work of healing a broken world" (WCC 2013:8). The church has a life-giving mission through the life-giving power of God (WCC 2013:17- own emphasis).

Noordt (2013:194) is correct in his observation that "the emphasis on life-affirming mission is of crucial significance for TTL". The mission statement claims that the Spirit of God is at work where life is affirmed and blossoms. As such the affirmation of life is a criterion to be able to distinguish between the spirits of this world and the Spirit of God, serving as an instrument to observe where God's Spirit is at work. The affirmation thereby also establishes a theological bridge between the Christian faith, secular worldviews, indigenous religions, and wisdom traditions -for, because the gospel is good news for all of creation, it is vital to recognize God's mission in a cosmic sense, and to affirm all life, the whole oikoumene, as being interconnected in God's web of life (ed. Keum 2013:5).

In this research, the following questions will be investigated:

The hermeneutical key, namely that the Spirit is at work where life is affirmed and blossoms, begs the question of how the idea of life is reconciled with the mission of God? What is the content and scope of "life" and what is "life" all about? Due to the wide scope and multitude of ideas involved in the concept of life, the focus will be on the economic-political- social consequences of adapting "life" as a theological point of departure.

These questions will be explored through a rather unique hermeneutical lens by interpreting and assesing the ecumenical discourse (TTL) in the light of the book by Kester Brewin, Mutiny, Why we love pirates and how they can save us (2012), and by integrating these insights.


2. Life in the Triune God

In answering the first question, the strong connection between life in its fullness and life in the Triune God, as found in TTL, must be acknowledged. TTL recognises the interrelatedness between the life brought about by the Spirit of mission, aptly called the "breath of life" (ed. Keum 2013:7), and life in the Triune God. "Creation's life and God's life are entwined" (ed. Keum 2013:9). Coorilos (2014:40), in his evaluation of TTL, states that mission is essentially an affirmation of Trinitarian life. It affirms that the Triune God is the God of life, and that we are called to participate in the life-affirming mission of the Holy Trinity, itself the source and fountain of mission (Coorilos 2014:40).

God's mission is cosmic. This results in an understanding of mission where creation cannot be seen as a mere object of human concern, but as an active agent of God's mission that channels divine grace and blessing (Coorilos 2014:41). This can be understood as a nuanced type of pan-en-theism. This term is used with reference to Moltmann (1994:34), where he argues that, to experience God in all things "...presupposes that there is a transcendence which is immanent in things and which can be inductively discovered. It is the infinite in the finite, the eternal in the temporal, and the enduring in the transitory". Perhaps Buitendag (2014:2) summarises it best when he says that God is in the world, and the world is in God, but God is still much more than the world.

This paradox is clear in TTL. One the one hand, the focus on life in the Triune God is evident. On the other hand, TTL recognises the importance of life created by the Trinity. This is a conscious move beyond a human-centred approach, to an understanding of mission as an expression of reconciled relationship with all created life. TTL expresses this with the statement that the church's participation in mission, our being in creation, and our practice of the life of the Spirit need to be woven together, for they are mutually transformative (ed. Keum 2013:10). Coorilos (2014:42) labels TTL as a creation-centred missiology. Missio Dei begins with creation, and all life was given by God and has intrinsic worth. Created humanity is part of a larger web of life. All of life can only come to fullness in relation to the Triune God.

Coorilos recognises the polarity in TTL, and sees it as in line with the Biblical vision of a constant movement, back and forth, between the poles of history and creation. He summarises: "Mission, therefore, is to turn to God in creation" (Coorilos 2014:43).


3. Mission, discernment and life as hermenéutica! keys

TTL is explicit in its explanation of presenting the concept of life as a hermeneutical key in the process of discernment. This must be seen against the conviction that discernment is seen as the first step in mission. Kim (2009:34) argues that discernment is the first step in mission. She argues that the criterion of Christian discernment is the fact that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and that the Spirit is present, not only where there is explicit Christian confession, but where there is the likeness of Christ. This likeness may be in character, characteristics, or the presence of the fruit of the Spirit.

In TTL, the idea of the fullness of life becomes the criterion for discernment in mission. In the concluding affirmations, one of the very first affirmations is: "We affirm that the purpose of God's mission is fullness of life (Jn 10:10) and this is the criterion for discernment in mission" (ed. Keum 2013:37). The affirmation elaborates on what is implied in the concept of "fullness of life", and even a brief overview illustrates the economic-political- social consequences of adapting "life" as a theological point of departure:

  • Fullness of life is found where oppressed peoples are liberated.

  • Fullness of life is visible in the healing and reconciliation of broken communities.

  • It can be seen in the restoration of the whole of creation. Mission is not about the expansion of the church, but the church bearing witness to God's gift of salvation to the whole world.

  • Life, as health and healing, is found in community when all the parts of our individual and corporate lives, including those of the marginalized, are brought together in love in such a way that wholeness and the interest of the commons may be evident.2

  • The affirmation recognises that life-affirming spirits present in different cultures must be appreciated, but does not elaborate on the breadth and scope of "life affirming spirits present in different cultures".

  • The recognition of the fullness of life as a hermeneutical key also entails the confrontation of "evil spirits", wherever "forces of death and negation of life are experienced".

  • Bevans (2014:196) is correct when he identifies the uncompromising condemnation of the "market ideology" of capitalism as a very important focus of TTL, and as a power that opposes the fullness of life. "Market ideology is spreading the propaganda that the global market will save the world through unlimited growth. This myth is a threat not only to economic life but also to the spiritual life of people, and not only to humanity but also to the whole of creation" (ed. Keum 2013:6).


4. A novel perspective on life

The work of Kester Brewin, Mutiny, Why we love pirates and how they can save us (2012), helps to bring a novel perspective on the core issue of what being "together towards life" can mean in our changing contexts. In this research, the broad concept of piracy, as unpacked by Brewin, is used as a hermeneutical lens in the missional endeavour of discernment and the discovery of what "fullness of life" can mean in our day and times. Brewin is an attractive conversation partner because he is a voice from the margins. He is not a formally trained theologian, but a maths teacher, freelance writer, and broadcaster living in London.3 The book has been characterised by Perriman (2012) as a "stimulating, disorienting, rabble-rousing read".

Mutiny has also been described as "a historical, sociological, and cultural exploration of piracy as a classic mode of reaction against oppression" (Perriman 2012). Although his description of 17th century piracy is open for critique, Brewin paints the story of piracy from the Roman era, through to the 17th century sailors who mutinied against their over-bearing masters, to the Somali fishermen whose livelihood has been taken from them by fleets of European trawlers and the toxic waste dumped by multinationals. He surprises his readers with the innovative reference to the pirate printer Henry Hill, as well as to pirate radio stations. He talks about revolts against the enclosure of common land and the Arab Spring, and recalls romantic pirates in narratives such as Peter Pan and Star Wars (Luke Skywalker).

Brewin has a novel take on the social and theological implications of piracy, and states that piracy happens when economies and cultures - and even religions - get "blocked" and oppressive; when ordinary people are denied access to the "commons" that should be theirs by natural right. Pirates rose against inequitable monopolies and the violent systems of oppression, and did so to free the flow of goods and information for the benefit of the poor" (Brewin 2012:loc.543-544). Because history is written by the powerful, pirates have been vilified and "their resistance branded as common thievery and thuggery". In his book on pirates, Innes (1966:5) says "A pirate is a thief, always, and usually a murderer as well". The powerful painted them as the "enemies of all mankind" (Brewin 2012:loc.243). According to Brewin, this is why pirates and piracy are so relevant in our changing contexts. He says: "We are all pirates now because, in these times of increasing corporate greed, cultural privatisation, and financial oppression the fight that was once theirs has now become ours" (Brewin 2012:loc.131).

It is obvious that Brewin paints a very romantic picture of pirates, as countless authors, filmmakers, and producers have done over the years. Piracy certainly does have a dark side that cannot be ignored, and that raises countless moral and ethical issues - issues Brewin recognises. He seems to push his readers (intentionally) over the border when he describes pirates as misrepresented heroes (or rather anti-heroes), who have done unspeakable things on behalf of the collective - for the sake of the down-trodden and the poor. Perriman (2012) is thus correct when he critiques Brewin for his description of pirates as "...high-minded utopians, abolitionists, egalitarians, libertarians, just employers, defenders of the down-trodden, anti-capitalist protesters, fun-loving adventurers, and cultural heretics". And yet, this might precisely be the kind of lens that can provide innovate answers to the question of a relevant meaning where life in its fullness is concerned.


5. Exploration - Sailing with pirates

So let's hoist the sails, raise the "Jolly Rodger", and embark on a journey to discover life in our changing landscapes.

5.1 The ultimate marginalised

Pirates were (and still are) the ultimate marginalised. Innes (1966:8) says: "Western civilisation began in the Mediterranean basin and piracy began there too". He finds the origin of piracy in the times of the Egyptian kind Ramses III (ibid :8). The Roman Empire saw pirates as a threat to the values and principles that underpinned their empire, and called pirates hostis humanisgeneris - the "enemies of all mankind" (Brewin 2012:loc.243). Brewin (2012:loc.419) states: "Pirates were hated vitriolically because they stood as powerful symbols of the rejection of the status quo". What made pirates so frightening to the powerful is precisely their lack of orthodoxy, their total lack of class and their lack of education (Brewin 2012:loc.821).

Not only were pirates the ultimate marginalised - they also exemplified care for the marginalised. In one of the pirate codes there was even special provision for those injured on duty - an early example of disability compensation. Pirates were compensated for injuries from the common purse. This stands in stark contrast to the merchant navies that treated injured sailors with contempt, and frequently tried to get rid of those injured on duty. Pirate ships allowed those with disabilities to continue their work, and treated them as part and parcel of the everyday crew.

Piracy was thus an act of emancipation, of stepping out from under oppression, siding with the marginalised, and empowering the injured and disabled (for a more in depth discussion of empowering of injured and disabled, see Pattison (2013), Reynolds (2008), and Yong (2011)).

5.2 Defenders of the commons

Brewin uses the idea of the "commons" to describe the interests of the community, and the use of resources for the sake of the common good. When we use what we own, the idea of the commons demands that we are obliged to think about our neighbours, because we share life with these others. The commons is the space where life is shared with the lives of others - "the theatre in which the life of the community was played out" (Brewin 2012:loc.715). It is an issue of radical sharing, and of using the free flow of information and goods for the common good. The problem is that the "commons" is constantly under threat.

This is where pirates sail into the picture. Pirates see where access to a commons has been blocked, and they work to unblock it. They fight to restore some parity and defend the commons. Brewin (2012:loc.770-771) states: "This, then, is what we can take 'pirate' to mean: one who emerges to defend the commons wherever homes, cultures or economies become 'blocked' by the rich". Pirates can be understood in terms of a critique against individualism. We live in a privatised culture where people privatise everything for private use. Pirates break the chains of privatisation, in an effort to restore the commons. Brewin (2012:loc.1024) protests the fact that we are living in a world more enclosed than ever before, sharing a commons more reduced than ever before: "Our land, our work, our leisure, our culture, our sports, our music, our stories, our beliefs, our ideas - all of them have suffered blockage and private enclosure". Wingrove et al (2011:274) showed that a generation of younger people who have grown up with the internet and expectations for open access to all kinds of information and media may never support laws that restrict this open exchange.

Modern day pirates work to restore the commons. We find this in music production and copying (pirates giving the music of the people back to the people) (Wingrove et al 2011:261-276), in the way software is pirated when the pricing mechanism becomes blocked and excludes the common man, and in the way in which spies become heroes because they break down the secret bonds of governments spying on their own people and enclosing the commons. Yar (2005:691) supports this more social constructionist understanding of piracy and says piracy draws attention to the impact of dominant economic and political interests upon the ways in which cultural goods can be legitimately enjoyed:

The expansion of proprietary copyrights, and the criminalization of their violation, is part of a larger 'game' in which struggles to dominate the uses of information are being played out within the new 'knowledge economy'. (Yar 2005:691)

The unique lens of piracy allows new insight in the importance of the "commons" and the challenge to turn the agenda away from purely private gain to public benefit through virtuous acts of piracy.

5.3 Economic freedom fighters

Pirates were united in their struggle against forces that enslaved them in the service of various empires that used human beings "like disposable cogs in a machine" (Brewin 2012:loc.464). Pirates emerge whenever economies become blocked and systems are in trouble, where trading structures are unjust. Brewin describes the history of piracy and how 17th and 18th century sailors were forced to work on merchant or naval vessels, in many cases against their will with pitiful pay and rotten rations. It was a system where enormous wealth was hoarded by the owners of the merchant ships and the superior officers, but very little of this was shared with, or flowed through to, those who's labour and effort made the wealth possible. Pirates rose up in mutiny, in order to escape the conditions under which they had been forced to live (Brewin 2012:loc.310, 317). Pirates were not hated because they stole. Everyone stole. Whole countries were pirating the ships of other countries, and all colonial powers stole from those they subjugated. Pirates were hated because they stole from the king. Brewin (2012:loc.365) argues: "they were simply trying to restore the idea that their labour ought to earn them a fair share of any profits that that labour created". Pirate ships routinely worked on democratic principles, with elections of officers, and booty shared equitably between all those on board (see Innes 1966:86). A certain Captain Roberts even compiled a code which his crew had to sign up to (Innes 1966:85-86). This code gave crew members an equal vote in affairs, and a guaranteed a fair distribution of booty, even to the extent that special provision was made for "every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service" (Brewin 2012:loc.328) - a disability pension!

Brewin discusses other forms of "piracy", such as the efforts to circumvent unfair copyright laws by the "pirate printer" Henry Hill, pirate radio stations before the liberalisation of airwaves, pirate music reproduction, and software piracy. These are all diverse pirate protest, where pirates rise up against inequitable monopolies and do so in order to free the flow of goods and information for the benefit of the common person (Brewin 2012:loc.543). Brewin is very critical of the current expression of the free-market ideology, and pleads:

With consumer capitalism reaching ever further to enclose the material, cultural and relational commons our forebears took for granted, we need pirates more than ever to raise their swords and beat down the bankers and merchants who, with our tacit approval, have separated us from our own labour... (Brewin 2012:loc. 1743)

5.4 Summary

Pirates fight for the common good and an equitable share of labour. Modern-day pirates believe knowledge and information must be free for the benefit of all. Innovators and artists, creators of knowledge and joy, should share in the fruits of their ideas and work. They support fair pay for fair labour - private compensation followed by public benefit. Once a reasonable return has been made, all ought to share in the benefit or beauty of what has been produced.


6. Integration - discovering life in fullness

Brewin's arguments can give a novel and creative insight into what life-giving mission might be in our consumerist culture, and can assist in directing us towards a life-giving journey that restores (unblocks) the relationship with the self, with other people, and with God. Brewin ask relevant questions, such as: "what would it mean to play pirate with the life that I have in the culture I am a part of, among the community I live in and within the power structures and working practices that I am embedded in?" (Brewin 2012:loc.2283).

6.1 Economic life in fullness

Missiologists and theologians are challenged by TTL, and for that matter by another important ecumenical declaration, the Accra Confession (2004), to sail with pirates towards a new economic dispensation.

The consumerist culture stands in stark contrast to life in the benevolent Trinity. Coorilos (2014:40) argues that Trinitarian life, or the fullness of life, is in clear contradiction with "luxurious life", which is being privatised and enjoyed by an elite minority, often at the expense of the vast majority. The Accra Confession (2007:para.6) states: "The root causes of massive threats to life are above all the product of an unjust economic system defended and protected by political and military might". The confession relates this directly to the development of "neo-liberal economic globalization" (2007:para.9). This echoes Brewin's (2012:loc.1742) critique of "consumer capitalism". TTL relates "goodness of life" to Trinitarian life and the Trinitarian economy, which fosters sharing, justice, and fairness: i.e. fullness of life for al. This stands in opposition to the greedy quest for accumulating wealth, possessions, armaments, and hegemonic power, in order to exercise mastery over others.

Coorilos (2014:40) starts with the Trinity, and argues that the acts of the Triune God are characterised by an egalitarian, interdependent, communitarian, and inclusive way of operation. He laments the fact that economic globalisation today "has effectively supplanted the God of life with its own 'ungod' of Mammon - the god of free market capitalism that propagates a 'soteriology' of 'saving' the world through creation of undue wealth and prosperity". TTL offers a counter-cultural missiology, countering this idolatrous vision and denouncing the economy of greed in a world of free-market economy. TTL (ed. Keum 2013:39) summarises the mission affirmation with the following statement on economy: "We affirm that the economy of God is based on the values of love and justice for all and that transformative mission resists idolatry in the free-market economy". Bevans (2014:196) agrees that this is an uncompromising condemnation of the "market ideology" of capitalism, the economy of exchange where reciprocity regulates interactions in a community (Reynolds 2008:56).

Pirates represent the type of counter-cultural missiology that Coorilos (2014:40) identifies in the new mission statement in TTL. In his book, The Complex Christ - Signs of Emergence in the Urban Church, Brewin (2013:loc.1670) proposes the rediscovery of the transaction of gifts as response to his critique of consumerism. He (2013:loc.1756) says: "Our view of creation as a commodity to be exchanged and profited from has impoverished the earth and poisoned it". We teeter at the edge of environmental disaster because of our failure to see creation as a gift. This gift reminds us of generosity and the transaction of gifts. There are two possible models of exchange: One is marker exchange, where goods or currency are exchanged. The other is by gifting, for which no money or goods are reciprocated immediately. In gifting, there is a constant movement from body to body, a "momentum as the gift is passed from hand to hand" (Brewin 2013:loc.1681). Where gifts are exchanged, there is always the potentiality for relationship. Therefore, our practises in church ought to function as a gift, and not as a commodity.4

6.2 Commons and Koinonia

Life in its fullness is life in the Trinity, and thus life in communion with the Triune God and all of God's creation. TTL states: "It is therefore vital to recognize God's mission in a cosmic sense and to affirm all life, the whole oikoumene, as being interconnected in God's web of life" (ed. Keum 2013:5). One of the most important ways to participate in God's mission is the life of faith in community, for the sake of the other and creation at large. TTL (ed. Keum 2013:21) argues that communion (koinonia) with the Triune God opens our hearts and lives to our brothers and sisters in the same movement of sharing God's love. When one reads TTL, it is clear that life, as health and healing, is found in community when all the parts of our individual and corporate lives, including those of the marginalised, are brought together in love in such a way that wholeness and the interest of the commons may be evident. Kemper (2014:190) also appreciates the emphasis on community as an ingredient in health and wholeness. This community of love is also a community of hope: "The missionary God who sent the Son to the world calls all God's people (Jn 20:21), and empowers them to be a community of hope" (ed. Keum 2013:4). Accra (2007:para.30) also connects justice in economy and creation with the church community - "We believe that God calls men, women and children from every place together, rich and poor, to uphold the unity of the church and its mission so that the reconciliation to which Christ calls can become visible".

Brewin's "commons" resonates with the idea of the community and unity within the church, and with the oikoumene. Brewin makes a passionate plea for the restoration of the commons. He states that the commons is the true substance of humanity, which is "the physical, ethical, spiritual and sociological gravity that draws us away from individualism and selfishness, from the endless pursuit of profits and the tireless denigration of the marginalised into community and mutual dependency" (Brewin 2012:loc.2570). The church must be a key place where such a commons functions, a "community where gifts can be exchanged" and where relationships can flourish (Brewin 2013:loc.1863).

6.3 Life and living in the margins

Bevans (2014:196) emphasises one of the defining characteristics of TTL, namely its strong conviction that mission is no longer from the affluent centre to the poor or pagan periphery, but rather is done from the margins by the marginalised. TTL (ed. Keum 2013:15) says:

People on the margins have agency, and can often see what, from the centre, is out of view. People on the margins, living in vulnerable positions, often know what exclusionary forces are threatening their survival and can best discern the urgency of their struggles; people in positions of privilege have much to learn from the daily struggles of people living in marginal conditions.

Kemper (2014:189) calls this development of the concept of mission from the margins the most significant part of the WCC's new statement. He sounds a word of warning:

Yet it is important that we not romanticize those who witness from the margins -many of them remain unacceptably poor and oppressed even while being vibrant participants in the missio Dei" (Kemper 2014:190).

The practical guide to TTL contains a number of practical guidelines. In one of these guidelines, the following is posed: "Given that we ourselves are guests in God's kingdom, how may we be welcoming and hospitable toward those from whom we have been separated and alienated but who are also responding to the invitation of God?" (ed. Keum 2013:71)

Brewin describes pirates as marginalised people looking for a new community where they can share in the spoils of their exploits and the good life. Pirates were trying to restore the idea that their labour ought to earn them a fair share of any profits that that labour created (Brewin 2012:loc.365). Life in its fullness is where a new community emerges, a community where all of God's people share in the life and gifts of the community, a community able to discern the valuable contribution of those from the margins. We need a vigorous inclusion of differences (Reynolds 2008:46).

6.4 Life and liberation

TTL affirmed that the fullness of life is found where oppressed peoples are liberated. It can be seen in the restoration of the whole of creation. Mission is not about the expansion of the church, but the church bearing witness to God's gift of salvation to the whole world. Brewin (2012:loc.470) describes Libertatia - the real or imagined pirate colony - where the marginalised were united in one thing: their struggle against forces that had enslaved them in the service of an Empire, but also a place where pirates could form a community from all layers of society.

TTL talks about the Kingdom of God in contrast to the economic and ecological injustice of the "global market" (ed. Keum 2013:6). The church is a gift of God to the world, for its transformation towards the kingdom of God (ed. Keum 2013:7). This Kingdom is a place of freedom, where life is celebrated by the restored community. The Spirit of mission is present as Life-giver, the One who sustains and empowers life and renews the whole of creation.


7. Conclusion

From the above it becomes clear that sailing with pirates, ancient and modern-day alike, with TTL providing the co-ordinates on the map, traversing the storms of the global market economy, can perhaps bring us closer to Libertatia - the Kingdom of the Triune God, and to life in all its possible fullness. Joubert's challenge seems so relevant:

"Fluid leaders know the difference between being the captains of ineffective church boats stranded in the religious harbours of safety and irrelevance, or an adventurous life in the kingdom of God which entails constantly embracing the storms of flexibility, rapid change, adaptability, uncertainty, renewal and innovation. Leaders on the open seas of the kingdom are vulnerable, since they know that the future of their ministry or church is inherently unknowable. On the other hand, the beauty and certainty of God's new future joyfully pulls them forward and keeps them in their flow states. They are able to constantly regroup, modify, adapt, think on their feet and deal with ambiguity." (Joubert 2013:130)



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1 Prof Nelus Niemandt is the Head of the Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, Univ. of Pretoria. He can be contacted at
2 TTL states (Keum 2013:20): "When all the parts of our individual and corporate lives that have been left out are included, and wherever the neglected or marginalized are brought together in love, such that wholeness is experienced, we may discern signs of God's reign on earth".
3 His books include: After Magic: Moves Beyond Super-Nature from Batman to Shakespeare (2013); Other: Embracing Difference in a Fractured World (2010); Signs of Emergence: A Vision for Church That Is Always Organic/Networked/Decentralized/Bottom-Up/Communal/Flexible/Always Evolving (2004); The Complex Christ. Signs of Emergence (2004).
4 Brewin (2013:loc.1721) mentions worship as an example. Worship must not be judged by what people get out of it, but what people can give.

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