7th February 2018

Missional Cartography

For some time, I've been meaning to update the SatNav in my car. Recently, a trip to the North East of Scotland became more of an adventure than I would have preferred because of the outdated information currently on the device. Fortunately I had a companion on the road who provided amusement and a non anxious presence! Sat Navs are only as good as the latest update.
With the addition of another 25 congregations, including Barry lw Carnoustie, on the journey that is Path of Renewal, it has been affirming to review what has already been learned in the process. It feels like we are beginning in quite a different place from where we set out with 40 congregations 2 years ago, bearing out our assertion that we would learn with and from those involved and reshape the process as we went. But, while we can point to some markers along the way, charting changes and discoveries, even pinpointing growth, Path of Renewal remains a work in progress. And, I suspect, that as soon as we tried to draw up some kind of blueprint, the contours would prove fairly elusive, being so dependant on context and lived -out experience, on the groundwork being done and the pilgrims we encounter on the way. The tools we are using are simply clues along the road to discernment of the purposes of God and pointers to the change of mindset it takes to recognise God at work in ever new ways.
There are some fascinating facts about cartography in a Wikipedia article, many of which highlight how much the culture of those who produce maps affects how they draw and what information they include or deem important. The article also highlights how ever changing technology affects the drawing of maps, still subject to the bias of the cartographer.
Just as the skills of cartography are always changing and evolving, dependant on context and culture, subject to information being sought or questions being asked, so, when we seek to join with God in mission, a prerequisite is being light on our feet, with the ability to change and adapt at the drop of a hat. And there's a requirement to keep getting the latest updates by staying close to the map maker. That's a tough call for individuals, but there is also something renewing about living on the edge that makes it worthwhile and that lends every experience - even those experiments that don't quite turn out as we'd hoped - with a sense of adventure and learning. Giving thanks for all who are on this particular journey bringing humour and calm when the maps are out of date.

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