This post is not about food despite the title. In this post I’m trying to articulate what I bring to the table as we go to Cambodia. What do I, an Aussie Christian, trained in the Anglican tradition bring to a non-Western context, a place I’m unfamiliar with to say the least? Gone are the days when I would go assuming I had all the answers. But neither is the alternative true, that I bring nothing to the table either. So what do I bring? How does the changing context of mission and my attempt at being vulnerable fit with how I’ve been trained and finding a way to serve?
This is where the game Trivial Pursuit may assist us. In Trivial Pursuit its not good enough to know trivia in one area, like Sport or Geography. What’s needed is multiple pieces of pie, not just the same colour. As a missionary, we don’t go over providing all the pieces of the pie. What we provide is one piece of the pie. I choose blue. Blue’s my favourite. My life experience, training, faith, and whatever else, all go into making up my blue pie – many different aspects feed into my perception (how I see, read and experience the world, myself and God). What I bring is me.
In this sense, my blue piece is unique and vital, but it’s not the whole. It’s one amongst many others. Whats needed is many pieces to move towards the center in order to finish the game. This way of viewing my part means that I am needed, but not in a dominant way. I have things to bring, but I also have much to learn. This model of mission seems to resonate with the idea of international teams that I came across a month ago on a friends blog. We don’t come in as the experts, nor do we seek to disappear eventually, but we remain in a ongoing, team way. The idea that iron sharpens iron or many advisers win a war is what’s needed in the long term. Not that we necessarily get to a point of complete agreement, or absolute truth, but we work together to serve in the context that God provides for us.
So who’s hungry for some perception pie? Maybe blue-berry.