tips for reading Transforming Mission
September 17, 2009
I’ve been reading Transforming Mission a lot over the past few years, studying it, writing about it, talking to David Bosch’s wife Annemie a lot, both as a personal friend and to understand the person who wrote Transforming Mission better. I’ve also been looking at how people read Transforming Mission somewhat, and I have a feeling that we might be making a few mistakes in how we use David Bosch. So, two tips for reading Transforming Mission:
- Piet Meiring always says that David Bosch had this amazing encyclopedic ability. He could bring together the voices of a wide range of people and integrate them. When reading Transforming Mission you’ll see this. Bosch tell how certain ideas has developed and changed in the church. In doing this, Transforming Mission is the voice of the church in many places. Rather than saying “Bosch says”, in many places it’s better to day: “According to Bosch the church says”. When reading Bosch try and distinguish between the voice of Bosch and the historic voice of the church. It will bring life and dynamic to the book.
- If I understand Bosch correctly, then I think we’ve been overemphasizing the big chapters and undervalueing the inbetween chapters. The large mass of info is found in the chapters on Biblical perspectives (2-4), historical perspectives (6-9) and the elements of an emerging ecumenical missionary paradigm (12). However, I believe that the inbetween chapters, 1, 5, 10, 11 and 13, provide the backdrop against which the larger chapters should be read. If you don’t understand Bosch’s understanding of postmodernity, his use of Capra, Kuhn, Polanyi etc, then you’ll totally misread the larger chapters.
So try these two tips. Listen to hear the voice of Bosch, and read the book against the backdrop of the inbetween chapters.