This article reframes missional interpretation with questions about God’s identity and the nature of Scripture. The author examines the relationship between God’s holiness and the nature of Scripture as texts that correspond to God’s reality. On this basis, the author makes a case for communal reading practices that reflect the implications of God’s relationship to the text.
No one questions whether Scripture should be a primary source for the development of a missional imagination. In contrast to this consensus, a lively conversation is currently underway concerning how Scripture should be read or used in relation to Christian mission. Do hermeneutical approaches related to historical-critical readings of Scripture adequately nourish a missional imagination in Christian communities? Is the missio Dei a legitimate organizing impulse or theme in Scripture, or is it an intrusive overlay, shoe-horning Scripture into the service of a narrow range of ecclesial interests? Questions like these have become more intense as missiology increasingly has become a theological endeavor, as demonstrated notably in the missional church conversation. As a theological endeavor, the question of missional interpretation rises to the top of missiology’s concerns.
It is my contention that anything that passes for a missional hermeneutic should focus on the use of the text in communities pursuing the questions, “To what is God calling us?” and “With whom are we to share in God’s mission?” These questions are properly framed when hermeneutics is defined less around the relationship between reader and text, and more around the relationship between God and text. The biblical testimonies concerning the identity of God and the actual phenomenon of Scripture must be brought into meaningful relationship with each other. In other words, “Who is God?” and “How can this particular collection of texts correspond to God’s identity?” are the orienting questions that frame a missional hermeneutic.
A Detour on the way to a Missional Reading of Scripture
Something strange happened on the way to understanding the Bible as God’s word. It happened primarily when certain ideas about God became logically prior to the accounts of God we find in the Bible. In particular, I have in mind what Stanley Grenz terms onto-theology. As Grenz tells the tale, Greek conceptions of being (ontos) and related notions of deity (theos) increasingly came to inform Christian understandings of God. Put simply, God was taken a priori to be simple, unchanging, and existing outside of time. The irony is that over time ontos became more prominent than theos so that accounts of being no longer required an accompanying account of God. The story of being, divorced from theology, became a reductionist definition of life in terms of rationality and causation or of rational subjects and knowable objects. Theology, to play in the world created in the image of this ontos, found itself defending the faith on terms inimical to the view of God imagined in Scripture.1
Why is this story important to an article on missional interpretation? Simply put, understandings of Scripture and its interpretation came increasingly to be calibrated to notions of God as simple, unchanging, and eternal. In other words, if God is understood in these ways, then a collection of texts representing God must be the same. This can certainly be seen in the views of the Bible held by more conservative theologians who take great pains to defend the Bible in relation to terms like inerrancy or infallibility. The Bible loses divine authority if it does not speak with one voice in ways that transcend the contingencies of culture. The Bible has to be simple and unchanging to be God-breathed.
Though more liberal theologians avoided the traps of inerrancy, biblical scholars in particular justified their craft in relation to the standards of academic institutions committed to scientific rationality. The Bible became an object subjected to critical scrutiny. Its meaning resided in its production, not in its use, as seen, for example, in the quest for authorial intention. The meaning of Scripture for today could only be determined once the original meaning or message of the text had been wrested from its pages by use of a set of critical methodologies. To this way of viewing the interpretative enterprise, the “reader as subject” is active while the “text as object” (or message) is passive, yielding its treasures to the critical scrutiny of reading methodologies.
More importantly, the question of God was pushed to a secondary position. How might God be active in relation to a text? How is God implicated in the process of reading? Is God only involved as the “author” of a message, which must be coaxed from the text through the asking of the proper questions? When we have divined the original message, have we then wrung all the “God” out of the text? Often, these theological considerations are secondary matters for the church, separated from the tasks related to the academic study of the Bible (a set of tasks taught to seminarians, it should be pointed out).
The recent call for a “missional hermeneutic” is both symptomatic of the story sketched above, and an effort to justify itself in relation to other “critical” approaches.2 In other words, the missional identity of the church evidently is not sufficiently nourished by the critical approaches located in other readings of Scripture. Therefore, the way forward is to learn to ask a different set of critical questions that might wrest the missional impulse from the pages of Scripture.3
I would like to propose a different way forward that begins with a theological consideration of the phenomenon of Scripture. I want to begin with notions of God other than those found in Grenz’s description of onto-theology and ask how the phenomenon of Scripture corresponds to these understandings of God. Futhermore, I want to ask how a text functions and, therefore, how a text might serve the intentions of God in the world. I am proposing a hermeneutical shift that does not begin with the relationship of the reader and the text but instead with the relationship between God and the biblical texts as we find them.4
Before I move to a proposal, however, I want to say a few good words about critical approaches that have come to represent biblical scholarship in the past few centuries. What we have learned in the last 200 years about the Bible and the world of the Bible is extraordinary, and we owe a great debt to those who spent their lives in these pursuits. I am not proposing that this work has been fruitless or should cease. My life has been powerfully and spiritually transformed by the works of biblical scholars like Walter Brueggemann, Richard Hays, Luke Timothy Johnson, and others. In fact, as I will propose below, their work, just as it is, is vital for anything that might pass as a missional hermeneutic.
A Holy God and a Living Word
How is our view of the text changed if we begin with the notion that God is holy, rather than beginning with notions of God as simple, unchanging, and eternal? By God’s holiness, I mean principally God’s otherness as revealed in the stories and testimonies of Scripture.5 God is not like us. God’s ways are not our ways. And connected to this otherness are limits to our knowledge of God. God exceeds any understandings we might have of God. Consequently, any attempts to settle our understanding of God are idolatrous. Given this starting place, what kind of text, or set of texts, correspond to this reality? Such texts would have to keep the question of God alive.
Certain texts are designed to settle things, to yield one and only one meaning. Take a stop sign, for instance. It is always the same shape, the same color, the same font and font size. It can’t be subject to multiple interpretations. We do not want anyone rolling up to a stop sign and being confused about its meaning. A stop sign forecloses multiple meanings.
Very few biblical texts are like this, and, taken as a whole, biblical texts are more likely to disclose meanings—sometimes new meanings. The range of meanings produced by the biblical texts are not infinite. The Bible is not a Rorschach test, carrying only the meanings supplied by the reader. Texts have a certain stubbornness, using some words and not others, telling some stories and not others. Still, some texts have the power to continue to produce meaning. This is particularly true of poetic and narrative texts, which the Bible features prominently. Perhaps, no one has helped us understand this “generative” capacity of poetry and narrative more than Paul Ricoeur.
For Ricoeur, narratives and metaphors (poetic speech) are not simply more aesthetically pleasing ways of saying something. In fact, just the opposite is the case. Both create meaning otherwise unavailable through what Ricoeur refers to as a “semantic impertinence”—a striking use of language beyond conventional usage. In the case of metaphor this is done through combining both “similarity and dissimilarity,” and in the case of narrative through “concordance and discordance.” Any good narrative, in other words, requires a tension that gets worked out in a plot. This tensive character keeps the structures related to meaning or interpretation open. While these figures cannot be exhausted, they still produce understanding.6 These texts are living. They do work. And because they continue to produce meaning, they protect the notion of a holy God who evades our simple formulations.
So, now we have a holy God and a living text, and these features should determine how the text performs among us. It would be a violation of both a holy God and a living text to treat the text as a lifeless object, or simply as a container for meanings that we can excise through the surgical use of critical approaches. Missional hermeneutics, or biblical hermeneutics in general, should proceed on the notion that these living texts generate meanings. It is not just that we read these texts. It is possible that these active texts can read us and re-describe our worlds.7
Before talking about the use of a living text, it is worth noting another feature of the biblical testimonies that correspond to notions of God’s holiness. The biblical testimonies are diverse. They do not all say the same thing, even about the identity of God. This diversity is a problem if your view of God only allows things that are simple and timeless to represent God. But if you begin with a holy God who resists being reduced to our ideas, then diversity is a necessary feature of Scripture as a living word.8 Walter Brueggemann, for instance, suggests that it is precisely the disputed nature of Israel’s traditions through testimony and counter-testimony that gives the Old Testament its vitality.9 This matches James Sanders’ observation that Scripture’s diversity functions as a corrective to idolatry. Any attempts to make a “project” out of one perspective in Scripture is soon met with a challenging voice from within Scripture itself.10 So, diversity is not simply a problem to be explained or avoided, but a necessary feature of any set of texts that would represent a God who is greater than our understanding. This, in turn, requires that interpretation be seen as a discursive, or dialogical, endeavor.
Biblical diversity is in part the product of faithful communities reflecting on the presence of God in a variety of circumstances. In turn, this means that these circumstances are not just cultural trappings to be shed for the sake of timeless truths. Rather, these circumstances are necessary aspects of the spectrum that comprises the biblical testimonies about God. This is a vital insight for mission. Context is not simply a place where we dump truths abstracted from other contexts. Rather, context bears the potentiality of bringing deeper and richer theological understanding, and, in turn, broadening our understanding of what God is doing in the world.11 The word of God does not come to us in abstract form, or in a set of general truths, but precisely in relation to the circumstances of God’s people in the world. God’s people, therefore, are always listening for God’s word for “us,” not just discovering what God’s word meant to a historical “them.” In fact, as Sanders points out, it is precisely the ability of certain texts to speak beyond their original context—that is, their demonstrated usefulness in informing faithful communities in subsequent and changing circumstances—that gives them authority.12 The notion of a living word, therefore, includes the specificity of actual communities of faith.
By examining the relationship between a holy God and a living word, we have uncovered aspects necessary to the faithful use of Scripture among the people of God. Any use must honor its generative, or active, capacity. It must honor Scripture’s own commitment to a plurality of voices, and a priority to reading in and across interpretative communities. Knowing God as holy is dependent on an attendant ability to honor other voices as well. Finally, a use of Scripture that does not take the particularities of a community’s location seriously as the occasion for a word of God to be received fails to honor its living voice.13
The Performance of Scripture in Communities of Understanding
Interpretation should not be the exclusive purview of a solitary, expert interpreter working critical methodologies in the “clean room” of the academy (or the minister’s office). The point of interpretation is not simply to uncover the “message” of a text, but to discern God’s identity and the particular shape of the call of God on our life together. Scripture should perform in the context of a community.
Put another way, when Scripture is put between people, it is less likely to be viewed as an object to be scrutinized, and more likely to be perceived as a lively voice producing meaning in the context of people’s lives. Take, as an example, the reading practice advocated by Church Innovations in their process for congregations seeking missional innovation.14 “Dwelling in the Word” involves the following process: a text is read in the presence of all, usually the same text over a period of weeks or months. A moment of silence is observed to deepen the listening. Listeners are then instructed to find a “reasonably friendly looking stranger” and “to listen them into free speech.” Often, these pairs are encouraged to share a place in the text that grabbed their attention or captivated their imagination. After sharing in pairs, broader sharing takes place in the whole group. Each is to share, not what they noticed, but what they heard from their “reasonably friendly looking stranger.”
Notice what commitments are in place in this practice. First, the text is assumed to be both living and authoritative. The text is other than us. It has specificity. It says some things, and not others. It has the place of first voice in the gathered community, an emphasis underscored by the silence observed after the initial reading of the text. It is the text that creates the space for listening.
Ricoeur highlights this “space creating” aspect of a text. Once discourse is encoded, or becomes a text, it possesses a certain autonomy from both author and reader. In this way, a text creates a distance, or space, between users. Yet, a text also invites participation, or a drawing near. The text unfolds a world before us in which we participate in making meaning. A text, in its use, maintains both distance and proximity. Distance, in particular, creates room for something to happen in the space in-between.15 In this way, I would propose, Scripture “between us” leaves greater room for discernment of the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Second, alterity is emphasized in the instruction to find a “reasonably friendly looking stranger.” The partner in Dwelling in the Word, though she might actually be known to the one with whom she is paired, is described as irreducibly other—as a stranger. The other is not to be confused with one just like me. The possibility of a true hearing of the text is enhanced by the presence of the other. It is precisely the diversity of voices that is valued in the process of attending to this common text. This is underscored by the value of sharing not what was said, but what was heard. “Dwellers” are always being addressed in this process, by the voice of the text and by the voice of the other.
Third, the specificity of the lives of the readers are not bracketed in favor of some timeless message that comes prior to the understanding of the reader. Rather, all of the lives gathered are potential places for the word on the page to become a word in the life of the community. In fact, over time, the details of the life of the other produce new and fresh readings of the text.
A frequent complaint of this kind of performance of the text is that participants are simply pooling ignorance, or that we have exchanged the value of objectivity delivered by critical methods for subjectivity whereby the text can mean nearly anything. I will allow that this is possible, and poor readings are sometimes the result. Not all readings of the text are created equal. Some are better than others. And to this end, critical readings are often a key to better readings when they shed insight on historical meanings not readily available to the contemporary reader. A practice like Dwelling in the Word should not be the only reading practice of a community.
I want to uphold the importance of readings that come from deep knowledge of the “world behind the text.” In fact, I would assign its value precisely at the level of alterity. It’s not that historical-critical method can deliver the one intended meaning of the text (just compare commentaries), but that it reminds us that people other than us produced and first read these texts. As Brueggemann points out, it is the strangeness of the text that allows God to remain a stranger, the Holy One, who encounters and disrupts the worlds that we have conceived.16 These critical readings keep us from assuming too much closeness between our assumptions and the text.
But I would also argue against seeing Dwelling in the Word as a pooling of ignorance. First, these readings are happening among people who are performing the Christian life. To the extent that their lives are being lived on the “same plane” as the text, this gives them insight. Second, reading in community tends to produce better readings over time. Idiosyncratic readings are brought to the surface and usually give way to larger, consensus readings.17
The fact that both critical readings and communal readings produce “better” readings over time indicates a possible interdependence. Let me be clear, the standard for “better” is that a community is enabled to hear God’s voice in a world of competing voices with increasing clarity, not simply to identify the original meaning of the text. Sometimes this happens through critical approaches that interrupt our assumptions, and sometimes this happens when the text passes through the lives of others. Both are needed and serve a healthy ecology of the Word when each keeps meaning an ongoing enterprise subject to discernment.
“Dwelling in the Word” is offered only as an example of a performance of Scripture that brings values related to a holy God and a living word together. This practice underscores in particular the values of otherness, community, and context. These emphases are increasingly being proposed as a necessary feature of a missional hermeneutic. Two papers given at the missional hermeneutics session of the SBL 2013 Annual Meeting argued for approaches featuring the reception of the text among and between diverse readers. Hunsberger, for instance, calls for readings of Scripture that are set in the lively environs of congregations. “The work that is required,” he suggests, “must involve close companionship with local missional communities who are reading and learning to read texts, in, with, and for their contexts and their missional callings.”18 John Franke, pursuing the implications of a social view of the Trinity, sees otherness at the heart of any endeavor that represents God in the world, including the use of Scripture.19
Along these lines, Michael Barram proposes questions that encourage communities to locate themselves as readers in relation to a larger world. For example, when reading a text a missional community should be asking, “How does our reading of a given text demonstrate humility—recognizing that we see and understand only in part?” Or, “In what ways does this text proclaim good news to the poor and release to the captives, and how might our own social locations make it difficult to hear that news as good?” Barram’s questions serve to de-center the reader through a critical self-awareness so that the perspectives of others might come into view.20
Even one step beyond these proposals, John Ogren encourages new church developers to read texts together with those that will soon be their partners in the mission of God in that particular location, even if these readers are not yet Christian. The hope here is that these reading “communities” can help church developers understand their participation in God’s mission more clearly in relation to their neighbors.21
So, several are proposing uses of Scripture that stress the importance of alterity, community, and context as being central to missional hermeneutics. What these approaches share is a focus on the use of Scripture within missional communities, rather than on the production of Scripture. These approaches, also, better model a view of Scripture as a living word in the service of a holy God. This represents a shift in how biblical hermeneutics has traditionally been conceived, and hopefully a productive way forward for communities finding their calling within the missio Dei.
Dr. Mark Love is Director of the Resource Center for Missional Leadership, Dean of the School of Theology and Ministry, and Associate Professor of Theology at Rochester College. Mark served congregations in Texas and Oregon full-time for 17 years before finding his place in the academy. In addition to teaching courses in evangelism, missional ecclesiology, and congregational transformation, Mark works extensively with congregations pursuing missional innovation.
Brownson, James V. Speaking the Truth in Love: New Testament Resources for a Missional Hermeneutic. Christian Mission and Modern Culture. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1998.
Brueggemann, Walter. Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism: Living in a Three-Storied Universe. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993.
________. Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1997.
Ellison, Pat Taylor, and Patrick Keifert. Dwelling in the Word: A Pocket Handbook. Robbinsdale, MN: Church Innovations, 2011.
Franke, John. “Treasure Old and New: Considerations on the Future of Missional Hermeneutics.” Paper presented at the GOCN Forum on Missional Hermeneutics. “Assessing and Advancing Missional Hermeneutics.” SBL 2013 Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, Nov. 23–26, 2013.
Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method. Translated by Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall. Rev. ed. New York: Crossroad, 1991.
Gibbs, Eddie. The Rebirth of the Church: Applying Paul’s Vision for Ministry in Our Post-Christian World. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.
Grenz, Stanley. The Named God and the Question of Being: A Trinitarian Theo-Ontology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.
Guder, Darrell. “Missional Hermeneutics: The Missional Authority of Scripture—Interpreting Scripture as Missional Formation.” Mission Focus: Annual Review 15 (2007): 106–21.
Hanson, Paul D. The Diversity of Scripture: A Theological Interpretation. Overtures to Biblical Theology 11. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982.
Hunsberger, George. “Convictions Formed and Futures Waiting: A Traveler’s Response to the Journey.” Paper presented at the GOCN Forum on Missional Hermeneutics. “Assessing and Advancing Missional Hermeneutics.” SBL 2013 Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, Nov. 23–26, 2013.
________. “Proposals for a Missional Hermeneutic: Mapping a Conversation.” Missiology: An International Review 39, no. 3 (July 2011): 309–21.
Ogren, John. “New Congregations, Neighbors, and the Mission of God: A Study of Theological Imagination in Local Discernment.” PhD diss., Luther Seminary, forthcoming.
Pickard, Nathan. “Engaging Scripture through Dwelling in the Word at the Newmarket Church of Christ.” DMin thesis, Abilene Christian University, 2011.
Ricoeur, Paul. Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action, and Interpretation. Translated by John B. Thompson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
________. From Text to Action: Essays in Hermeneutics II. Translated by Kathleen Blamey and John B. Thompson. Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1991.
Sanders, James A. Canon and Community: A Guide to Canonical Criticism. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1984.
Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006.
1 Stanley Grenz, The Named God and the Question of Being: A Trinitarian Theo-Ontology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005).
2 I have in mind here the efforts of the Gospel and Our Culture Network sponsoring missional hermeneutics sessions at the annual Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) meetings.
3 This interdependence with traditional critical approaches is not true of every proposal offered at the SBL meetings for a missional hermeneutic. It is true, however, of approaches represented variously in the works of Christopher Wright, Michael Goheen, and Darrel Guder. For an example of missional hermeneutics, see Eddie Gibbs, The Rebirth of the Church: Applying Paul’s Vision for Ministry in Our Post-Christian World (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013). For a summary of the proposals toward a missional hermeneutics, see George Hunsberger, “Proposals for a Missional Hermeneutic: Mapping a Conversation,” Missiology: An International Review 39, no. 3 (July 2011): 309–21. At the 2013 SBL meeting, Hunsberger helpfully distinguished between those approaches that emphasize the “production of the text” (Wright, Goheen, Guder) with others that emphasize the “reception of the text” (represented by Michael Barram and James Brownson). George Hunsberger, “Convictions Formed and Futures Waiting: A Traveler’s Response to the Journey” (paper presented at the GOCN Forum on Missional Hermeneutics, “Assessing and Advancing Missional Hermeneutics,” SBL 2013 Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, Nov. 23–26, 2013). The latter approaches are more promising as a way forward in my estimation.
4 This shift distinguishes this and other proposals from definitions of missional hermeneutics more aligned with traditional, critical approaches. I have in mind here, in particular, the work of Christopher Wright and Darrel Guder who bring critical questions to the text as a way to produce a different yield of biblical meanings. It’s not that these approaches are without benefit, but they tend toward glossing the diversity of the biblical testimonies in favor of one orienting theme. Guder, “Missional Hermeneutics: The Missional Authority of Scripture—Interpreting Scripture as Missional Formation,” Mission Focus: Annual Review 15 (2007): 106–21. Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006).
5 For me, holiness describes God’s identity (a relational term), not God’s nature (or substance). Holiness, therefore, while making God distinct, does not place God distantly, across some massive ontological gulf.
6 Paul Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action, and Interpretation, trans. John B. Thompson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 165–70.
7 I could make this point in other ways as well. If space permitted, I would certainly want to show how vital “Word” is to the identity of God, and how a living Word is always at work beyond the words we find on the Bible’s pages. What I think I have done to this point is show how the words on the page serve this larger notion of the Word of God.
8 The book that did the most to bring this concept to expression for me is Paul D. Hanson, The Diversity of Scripture: A Theological Interpretation, Overtures to Biblical Theology 11 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982).
9 Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1997).
10 James A. Sanders, Canon and Community: A Guide to Canonical Criticism (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1984). “Canonical criticism celebrates the pluralism of the Bible and stresses its self-critical dimension. . . . There is no program that can be constructed on the basis of the Bible which can escape the challenge of other portions of it: this is an essential part of its pluralism” (p. 37).
11 This is the strength of James Brownson’s proposal for a missional hermeneutic. Within the Bible itself, we see efforts at bringing the tradition into meaningful relationship with specific situations. Learning to read Scripture “missionally” means to learn from this dynamic internal to Scripture. James V. Brownson, Speaking the Truth in Love: New Testament Resources for a Missional Hermeneutic, Christian Mission and Modern Culture (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1998).
12 Sanders, 40–41.
13 On this point, I am echoing Gadamer who insists that understanding is not a subsequent move to description. It is not only impossible to separate these moments in interpretation, but it is unadvisable. Our “fruitful” prejudices should be allowed to do their work in producing new understanding. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall, rev. ed. (New York: Crossroad, 1991).
14 For information on this practice, see Pat Taylor Ellison and Patrick Keifert, Dwelling in the Word: A Pocket Handbook (Robbinsdale, MN: Church Innovations, 2011).
15 Paul Ricoeur, From Text to Action: Essays in Hermeneutics II, trans. Kathleen Blamey and John B. Thompson, Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1991), 68–73.
16 Walter Brueggemann, Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism: Living in a Three-Storied Universe (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993), 10.
17 That Dwelling in the Word can produce better readings over time is supported by Nathan Pickard’s research. Nathan Pickard, “Engaging Scripture through Dwelling in the Word at the Newmarket Church of Christ” (DMin thesis, Abilene Christian University, 2011).
18 George Hunsberger, “Convictions.”
19 John Franke, “Treasure Old and New: Considerations on the Future of Missional Hermeneutics” (paper presented at the GOCN Forum on Missional Hermeneutics, “Assessing and Advancing Missional Hermeneutics,” SBL 2013 Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, Nov. 23–26, 2013).
20 Michael Barram, “ ‘Located’ Questions for a Missional Hermeneutic,” The Gospel and Our Culture Network, Nov. 1, 2006, .
21 John Ogren, “New Congregations, Neighbors, and the Mission of God: A Study of Theological Imagination in Local Discernment” (PhD diss., Luther Seminary, forthcoming).