So here I am merrily reflecting on these things...how we share the gospel by action and proclamation and God has the two diverge.
...wondering about passages like Milbank's in GSMisc 956 Sharing the Gospel of Salvation
The task of Christians is not to persuade others of the truth of the gospel story through propositional argument (which, he claims, always carries undertones of violence) but to “out narrate” other, rival and less attractive narratives. Christians must so live out their faith, in communities which embody the gospel (especially in practices of worship) that others are attracted by the sublime beauty of God reflected in the Church. Conversion, he suggests, is a matter of “taste” – but in a much more profound sense than that expression is usually used.
Generous Love speaks helpfully of ‘embassy’ and ‘hospitality’ as two ‘heart’ movements of the mission of God: embassy, as the necessary consequence of the outward moving nature of the love of God expressed most fully in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and in the work of the Holy Spirit; and hospitality as the welcome and openness that is at the heart of the God who is love. Both these movements should be observable in the life of Christian communities as they relate to those amongst whom they live, not as means to an end, but as a natural outworking of lives oriented to the gospel.
Missio Dei – the outward movement of the God who is love towards the creation that is the focus of that love. From this understanding of the nature of love and truth in Trinitarian relationship comes an approach to mission that gives the Church a central role but one which is subordinate to the overarching and prior mission of God.
Sharing the gospel is always done in the context of the lives of other people who are created in the image of God. There is always a context of place and time, of relationship, of history and of mutual knowledge or ignorance. Without a whole hearted attempt to enter into such contexts, the risks of the gospel being misunderstood, unappreciated or rejected outright are greatly increased. ‘Guarding the treasure that has been entrusted to us’ is not a responsibility to be taken lightly and for the treasure to be appreciated and desired requires as much understanding of situation as can be achieved.
Last night for our homeless audit of the city streets, we assist a girl who is in serious difficulties. Confidentiality requires little detail but I hasten to add that I had never anticipated that I would be sharing the gospel message with someone in rather broken but seemingly effective sign language.
This week Jesus' mandate to give away your coat kept cropping up and it would seem he was preparing me for the loss of mine last night. Hopefully her hospital bed was warmer because of my jacket.
So with the awesome privilege it was to serve this stranger with whom I felt so deeply connected, I learn that there are opportunities for both these things to happen with the prompting of the Holy Spirit - by word and action - where word is action and action is Word!