Christopher J. H. Wright began this series of Global Conversation essays with an exposition of the Lausanne Movement's driving definition: "Evangelization requires the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world." What does that gospel look like when it invades the margins of the world, sectors where our more traditional churches don't often go? To catch glimpses of that gospel in action and to understand the biblical themes that can animate ministry at the margins, we turn to Joel Van Dyke and Kris Rocke of the Center for Transforming Mission in Tacoma, Washington.

The psalmist asks, "How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?" (Ps. 137:4). It's a beautiful question springing from the heart of a poet struggling creatively to live out in a strange land (Babylon) what he knows to be true in another, more familiar context (Jerusalem). English poet e. e. cummings once wrote that the beautiful answer is always preceded by the more beautiful question, and in this psalm we discover a beautiful question. It has given theological roots to missional communities of grassroots leaders in six countries throughout Latin America (as well as in urban centers in the Caribbean, Kenya, and North America) under the banner of the Center for Transforming Mission (CTM).

We are learning how to read the Bible not to or even for those we serve, but with those we serve—those who have been wrongly labeled the least, last, and lost. Sustaining this approach is the belief that grace is like water: it flows downhill and pools up in the lowest places. We are learning to see God's grace pooling up in places of extreme poverty and violence.

The core theological values of CTM are formed by the incarnational mission of ...

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Asking the Beautiful Question
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April 2010

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