Mindfulness as Mission Gift by Karen Openshaw and Chris Edmondson
A short, accessible and well-researched booklet, especially for anyone interested in the possibility of using the gift of mindfulness in a fresh expression of church
Mindfulness as Mission Gift
By Karen Openshaw and Chris Edmondson
Reviewed by Shaun Lambert
Contemplative mission or evangelism is a huge but neglected opportunity for the church, which this publication goes someway to address. Mindfulness is a gift from God to the church as it joins in the Missio Dei, the mission of God, to a world that is increasingly desperate for wellbeing and spiritual pathways.
This book is sharply focused and with a broad sweep: mindfulness is defined; the mindful Jesus explored; the links between mindfulness and the history of Christian contemplation examined; fresh expressions of church using mindfulness listed; and possible ways forward suggested in an imaginative way.
The authors speak from personal experience of mindfulness – they understand it. They have also both been involved with Fresh Expressions as a movement. They bring a wealth of missional and theological experience to their writing.
Karen Openshaw is a consultant working in the field of mindfulness and wellbeing, and a former Board Director for Fresh Expressions Ltd. Prior to his retirement, Chris Edmondson was the Bishop of Bolton, and served for a number of years as Vice Chair of the Board of Fresh Expressions Ltd.
As a short, accessible, and well-researched booklet this is a godsend. At the heart of the book is a posture of trust in God and trust in the process of mindfully listening to the people and context of those outside the church. This leads to the recognition that a new language is required that is understandable in that context. Mindfulness is such a language.
For anyone interested in the possibility of using the gift of mindfulness in a fresh expression of church this is the go-to-book. This is for two reasons: because of the review of what is already happening creatively in the world of mindfulness as mission, but also for the creative suggestions for developing this work. Mindfulness as a gift from God puts us back in the marketplace at exactly the right moment.
Shaun Lambert is a Baptist minister, author, and psychotherapist living on community with Scargill Movement, currently exploring mindful community and mindful church