All a-twitter

NOVEMBER 2008: LETTER

Dear Editors:

Thank you for the powerful and evocative article on “Tradition” by Daniel Meeter in the October issue ofPerspectives. It’s an example of what makes Perspectives one of my few “must-read” journals.

It is interesting that the Reformed Church in America is all a-twitter with another jargon word: “missional.” My denomination, the Mennonite Church, has been on this same word-infatuation trip for several years, although we seldom hear this particular term anymore, since it is characterized more by novelty than by linguistic import or behavioural implications.

“Missional” means “transient, transparent and transformational.” Isn’t that what “church” also means? What exactly does “missional” add to a working concept of “church”? Does “missional” mean more than “faithful”? In the literature and earnest denominational pronouncements on and over the term, I have yet to see what the word does for the everyday life of the baptized believer that simpler and already understood terms don’t do equally well. It’s a nice piece of jargon for gracing posters and banners, but it presents the temptation to think that having a new word and repeating it often enough will somehow effect change. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” I think someone once said.

Sincerely,
Vern Ratzlaff
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan