Monday, June 02, 2008

Missional Man

I heard the Eurythmics "Missionary Man" on the radio today at the grocery store. I didn't care much for the song "back in the day," but it is certainly a catchy tune even 22 years later.

The word "missional" is not only being worn out faster than Lindsey Lohan's sense of self-respect by the latest round of church faddists and "experts" - it's being wielded as a club by starry-eyed church officials (neo-numerologists?) in the LCMS who have been seduced by the empty promises of church marketers. Their targets are traditionalists who continue to believe in such quaint ("maintenance") practices as preaching from a pulpit, wearing vestments, and conducting a respectful transcultural Divine Service centered on Christ and not on ourselves.

This whole "missional" phenomenon comes as a package with a full repertoire of jargon and argot that calls to mind the maxim "if you can't dazzle them with brilliance..."

While a lot of its adherents mean well, the bait-and-switch premise is right out of the Screwtape Letters. And following Luther's dictum: "laugh at the devil and he will flee from you," there are few more worthy recipients of parody than those who seek to "make over" our pure holy mother the Church in a trashy, tawdry, lowbrow image, pressuring her to look, dress, and act 2,000 years younger than her actual age, robbing her of her dignity and, worst of all, bringing shame upon her Bridegroom.

Well, anyway, while Annie Lenox was singing the original lyrics, my twisted brain was composing a timely alternative. So here goes...

Missional Man
by the Eucharistics

Well, I went to traditional churches
And they taught about original sin.
The preachers preached from a pulpit
And they sang old fashioned hymns.
They absolved and they exhorted
The old Adam within.

My mother told me good
My mother told me strong.
She said be true to the faith
And you can't go wrong.
But there's just one thing
The "experts" don't understand:
We are truly authentic,
But what a mess is the "missional" man!

What a mess is the "missional" man!
What a mess is the "missional" man!

Well the "missional" man
He reads all the trendy books.
The key to his preaching
Is to have the right look.
He's got fuzz on his chin,
He's got some hair on his lip.
He's got a Britney Spears mike
And just the hint of a lisp.
He's got one "amazing!" wife,
Two point five "amazing!" kids.
He drinks his Starbucks in cardboard
With "amazing!" plastic lids.
He's got a schtick you just gotta see to believe.

(chorus repeats)


Thursday's Child said...

My home church has a middle service during the Sunday School hour that takes place in the fellowship hall complete with band. I do like the music, mainly because the musicians are friends of mine and they do a great job. But the pastor doesn't wear his robes and uses Power Point.

When we were home last summer we went to that one because that's the service my parents went to, but I did make it to a "regular" service once and it finally felt like I was in a real church service.

For a couple of years before we moved overseas they've been cutting verses out of hymns and timing his sermons to make sure the services end right on time. That's fine for the early service when Sunday School and the late service have to follow and start on time, but why not be a bit lax with the 2nd service? Because people have places to go and things to do on Sunday other than worship. It's so sad. Imagine my delight that the vicar's sermons here are skirt length...long enough to cover the topic, but short enough to be interesting. The way they should be.

Pastor Wolfmueller said...

I just read a great article on this "Missional" nonsense by Pastor Brian Kachelmeier titled "Becoming the Unchurch for the Sake of the Unchurched". You can find it on his website here: