a quick post from Urbana 06

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : December 27, 2006

I’m hoping to post on my experiences at Urbana. I’ll try to post something each day, starting today.

Some of you may be thinking: why should we care what Mark learns at Urbana? I think you’ll be surprised. Let me be honest with you: I wasn’t looking forward to going at all. I’m not a big fan of short-term missions, and in my mind Urbana was a sort of clearinghouse for short terms missions. One of the first things I did after I arrived and got settled was to read about the different tracks being offered. I’m impressed. Many–if not most–of the tracks being offered have to do with domestic issues (especially urban issues). There is something for almost everyone here. Urbana is no longer about MISSIONS…it is about MISSION. InterVarsity, it seems to me, seems to following a profoundly incarnational impulse. They aren’t simply interested in sending out missionaries to various places. They are interested in how we understand and embody the Gospel wherever we are sent.

I was especially pleased to see that Shane Claiborne would be here, as well as Ray Bakke and Tom Sine. Good stuff. Though I won’t be able to go to every session (since I have to work in the later afternoons), I should be able to suckle enough thought-nectar to share with y’all. :)
In the meantime, I encourage you to read the posts I wrote during the past week. At first, I was genuinely confused about the sudden drop-off in comments on my blog. Missionthink is by no means the most popular blog in the blogosphere, but I do get some thoughtful dialogue going for most posts. My beloved wife pointed out the obvious: the reason most folks aren’t commenting on my blog this week is because it is Christmas. Sometimes I am pretty dense (some would say most of the time).

for further reading . . .

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2 Responses to “a quick post from Urbana 06”

  1. Luke on December 27th, 2006 9:03 pm

    Very cool! I’m glad you were presently surprised.

    Yes, it’s Christmas. My own blog’s comments this week dropped to 2 from my previous high point of about 6. :)

  2. espiritu paz on December 28th, 2006 12:24 pm

    I found the Urbana sessions inspiring a few years ago as well and as you said–concerned with social justice. One was a three way conversation about marginalization and racism between a Latino, Asian, and African American. I have never seen such honesty and humility among races often vieing for a piece of the power pie. I was also at a session with a lawyer who worked legal land issues for folks in other nations who had been dealt with unjustly.

    I was a big freaked out by the inscesant emotional “alter calls” to missions though. I’d be curious to see what you thought.

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