success stories

Book: Re-Visioning Mission
Author: Richard G. Cote, O.M.I.: associate professor of mission studies, St. Paul U. Ottawa
Paulist Press, 1996, pp.191

Excerpt from Chapter One:

With the numerous publications that have appeared on the subject of mission, particularly within the past decade, one may wonder why there is need for yet a new utterance about mission. In the first two chapters I wish to consider some of the major reasons why the question of mission, which in the past has always been very close to the heart and raison d’etre of the church, must be re-visioned anew. In this first chapter, I will draw attention to several fundamental reasons why the notion of mission must be re-visioned again today and why Vatican II’s dynamic statement that the church is missionary in its very nature has virtually fallen on deaf ears at the grass-roots level of the church, that crucial level where any renewed sense of mission must begin. In the next chapter, I will deal more specifically with the Catholic Church in the United States and why it is still unsure of itself and its mission, and why it lags behind some of the younger local churches in the third world in its missionary resolve and spirit. This will serve as an immediate introduction to the central focus of our study, namely, inculturating faith in the North American context.

Table of Contents:

Part One
Unresolved Issues
1. Why a New Utterance About Mission?
Confusion About “Mission”
New Developments in Hermeneutics
Crisis in Religious Symbolism
Crossing the Postmodern Divide

2. An Uneasy Dialogue in the American Catholic Church
American Catholics and the Vatican
The Place and Role of Women in the Church
Being Catholic: A New Way of Belonging
Still an Immigrant Church?

Part Two
Inculturation: A New Challenge

3. Re-Visioning Inculturation
Questionable Approaches and Assumptions
A New Metaphorical Approach

4. Mapping the Process of Inculturation

1. The Phase of Courtship and Acceptability
2. The Phase of Ratification
3. The Phase of Establishment
4. Theological Foundations
Incarnation as Redemption
Incarnation as Ongoing Reality

Part Three
Culture Revisited: A New Approach

6. Culture Revisited: Some Misconceptions
What is Culture?
Structure and Interaction
Technology and Culture
Ideology and Culture
The Church and Ideology

7. A Model for Analysis of Culture
A Visual Inscape of Culture
A Culture’s “Dynamic Myths”
The Power and Function of Dynamic Myths
The Dynamic Myths of American Culture

8. A Model for Analysis of Culture
Fundamental Cultural Values
Some Criteria for Discerning “Core” Values
Some Basic American Values

Part Four
New Paths and Spirituality of Mission

9. New Postmodern Paths in Mission
New Mission Paths and Priorities

10. A Spirituality for Crossing the Postmodern Divide
Belated Acceptance of Ambiguity in Western Culture
The God of Biblical Revelation
Jesus Creates and Endures Ambiguity
The Ambiguous Truth About Faith

An excerpt for the book’s content:

Karl Rahner state that “the Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.” If this is true or even falls somewhere within the “ballpark”of God’s truth, then a most appropriate priority and focus for church leaders and those who take mission seriously would be a renewed emphasis on the character of faith as mystery. This means a shift in emphasis from magisterium to mystagogy, from pedagogy to midwifery, from problem solvers to mystery dwellers. A problem, as the etymology of he Greek word pro-ballein suggests, is something that is thrown out in front of us to be solved, an obstacle that can be aggressively cracked open like a nut and “solved.” For every problem, theoretically speaking, there is a solution or answer. Mystery on the other hand calls for no such imperious resolution. What is called for, instead, is much more akin to the “active surrender” of a mystic or holy person in the presence of an unfolding mystery. In Gabriel Marcel’s phrase, mystery is something “that encroaches on the intrinsic conditions of its own possibility.” . . . .

Leonardo Boff put it well:

“Mysticism is not the privilege of the fortunate few. It is rather a dimension of human life to which all of us have access when we become conscious of a deeper level of self, when we try to study the other side of things, when we become aware of the complexity, and harmony of the universe. All of us, at a certain level, are mystics.