The Urbana (traditional) missions conference starts tomorrow in St. Louis, but several months ago, Dave Zimmerman, editor at InterVarsity Press, wrote an excellent article reflecting on calling and the interesting turn of a phrase from an Urbana promo video.
The phrase in question was, “I came to get my foot out the door.” Where you would normally expect to hear “get my foot in the door,” the attendee from the 2009 Urbana conference turns it on its head. It’s not about getting in the door, it’s about getting out the door.
This is what Dave calls a “missional malaprop,” and I love how he launches from this point into a meditation on vocation:
“Our vocation, when viewed from the perspective of the sacrificial mission of God that culminates in Christ’s atoning work from the cross but extends to even today in the ongoing work of God’s people in the church, isn’t so much a matter of arriving — of getting your foot in the door and gobbling up stock options or padding your 401k — but of going. God sent Abraham from the land he knew to a land he did not yet know; God sent David from the work of a shepherd, which he knew, to the work of a king, which he could not have imagined for himself. God sent Esther, an orphaned child of a marginalized and despised ethnic minority, to become a queen and deliver her people from genocide. God sent his Son to the earth and ultimately to the cross; God sent his Son’s followers from a cramped and secret upper room to the streets of Jerusalem, and Judea, and the ends of the earth. The last thing God has in mind for us, it seems, is to arrive. …
“It’s an absolutely counter-intuitive call, this vocation of a disciple that God has in mind for each of us. Each of us hears it and enacts it differently, and I suppose each of us corrupts it and compromises it in our own unique ways. But maybe part of the reason the Western church seems so adrift sometimes is because God has charted a course for us, and we keep trying to get our feet safely indoors.”
Will you be following the “action” at Urbana 2012 #U12 #Urbana12?