Day: October 10, 2011

why mission should be more like South Park

This morning I listened to the fascinating address given by Ben Myers to the 29th Synod of the Queensland Uniting Church. You can find the audio here (it’s the link to the Norman and Mary Millar lecture).

Myers began by considering the cosmic significance of Christ’s resurrection. Then he moved — via Bonhoeffer — to describe the church’s mission in aesthetic (rather than political) terms.

His thought travelled in a similar orbit to Scot McKnight’s recent formulation:

The church is a movie trailer for the kingdom of God. The church is to be a “thin place” where God is breaking through. That is, God’s mission is to make the church a thin place, a movie trailer, of what God is doing in this world.

I found it quite compelling. Although, I’d love to hear more about working out the details in practice.

At one point, Myers memorably spoke of the church’s task as “ambushing our world with transfiguration”.

And that made me think of South Park.

Apparently, there’s a new documentary about the process of making the irreverent cartoon.

It’s called 6 Days to Air — and that pretty much sums up how South Park manages to stay up to date with current events. The ‘thrown-together’-ness of South Park is its genius.

A carefully planned and deliberate approach to mission definitely has its place. It can keep us faithful and stop us being merely reactive. But it can also make us sluggish.

So while it’s not always ‘transfiguration’ the makers of South Park ambush us with from week to week, I suspect we could learn a things or two from them about the advantages of a more ‘thrown-together’ strategy.