Rethinking Mission in the Postcolony: Salvation, Society and Subversion

Book, 2011, 293 pp
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Much of the history of mission has been interlaced with imperial structures. Often the colonial and economic impulses of the colonial powers overshadow some of the counterimperial tendencies of biblical texts and ecclesial communities. Evangelical missionary theologies have led to cultural genocide. These missionary practices have been heavily critiqued in the last few decades. Christian progressives have been in the forefront of the critique of mission, but have often responded in ways that reject the mission of the word, instead highlighting a mission focused on developmental concerns that obscures the Christian content but continues to push Western capitalist structures into developing postcolonial societies. Instead, this book proposes an integration of gospel and culture. It aims to steer a third course towards an integration of the knowledges and treasures, the losses and laments of Christianities forged in colonizing and colonized societies. It proposes that these Christianities are more alike than different, and in need of each other for reconciliation of communities facing the ecological and economic collapse at the limits of what the planet can carry.

It could be the biggest question facing the Church today - What is the role of mission, if any? Some equate mission with colonialism. Others think the church's very existence is dependent on mission. Grau enters these disputed territories with critical care, grappling seriously with the concerns of "the colonies," conservative Christians (both Settler and Indigenous), and post-colonial practitioners. She'll leave you with a lot of questions, an admission that Christian mission is terribly ambiguous, yet also some real possibilities towards discovering a mission that relinquishes certainty and celebrates, with confidence, life beyond the Church (i.e., "Who is not against us is for us" Mark 9:40).

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