Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Welcome to the new weblog from the Mission Theological Advisory Group (MTAG), the people who brought you The Search for Faith and the Mission of the Church (1997) and Presence and Prophecy (2002).
MTAG is what it says on the can: it's a group (made up of nominees from different churches in Britain and Ireland), it is concerned with mission theology (how the church thinks about its vocation in terms of basic and critical categories of faith), and it is advisory (to the Archbishop's Council of the Church of England, and to the Churches' Commission on Mission of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland).
In those terms the Mission Theological Advisory Group is an 'official' group, approved of by one major denomination and by one of the recognised ecumenical instruments in these islands. The people who make it up are not 'church delegates', however. They are persons chosen for their creativity and expertise. Nor does MTAG claim to speak on behalf of the Christian denominations: its role is to offer imaginative ideas and possibilities for re-engaging Christian witness and service as a resource for the churches.
Part of the aim of this weblog is to make MTAG 'appropriately visible'. Let's unpack that a bit.
Much of what we get up to is 'among ourselves' - meetings, email, reading, consultancy, phone calls... the usual stuff of conferring. Then, from time to time, we surface and offer a big book to an excited public. Yup, you've checked the links and figured that.
The trouble is, much of the most exciting stuff doesn't get into the books (we don't want them to be that long), or it gets lost in the immediacy of the moment. So guess what? We thought that a weblog would be a way of letting more people in on the act as things develop.
This fits with our general direction - and with the current strand of work (looking at spirituality in general culture and how that relates to the task of commeding the Gospel in a sceptical and diverse environment). Indeed our current plan isn't to publish another big book, but a number of smaller, pratical resources.
But hang on, what about this 'appropriate' thing? Well, unlike some theological commissions, MTAG likes to let its hair down; to be a bit spontaneous. On the other hand, we take the task we have been given and our accountability to our sponsors (who have granted us a freedom to explore) very seriously. So there are limits to be observed: copyright, confidentialities, and so on.
Overall we hope that this weblog can be daring. We want to share the excitement of the journey of faith we are on. We believe that Christian life is stimulating and creative. But we need to stress that what we are offering here is 'in formation', not finished.
This means that the opinions and ideas shared here belong to those who wrote them - but they are not necessarily the opinion or conviction of MTAG as a whole, of the Church of England, or of the CTBI Churches' Commission on Mission or any of its member bodies.
If you find things in this log which stimulate and encourage you we will be pleased. Tell us so. If you find stuff that annoys or exasperates you, tell us that too. We'll include comments or responses when we can.
We think that this openness (not without its risks, you'll appreciate) is a good way of doing mission theology. We hope you agree.
For further information, please see the sidebar links.
Comment on this post: Mission Theological Advisory Group