Mission in practice: a case study from John Drane
13 March 2009
The college recently gave a warm welcome to John Drane (in the photo above, right, with Trinity's John Bimson), one of Britain's leading mission thinkers and practitioners in relating the gospel to western culture. He told a packed hall of students and staff about his creative and inspirational use of Tarot cards in building bridges for the gospel to many in today's world who are fascinated with symbolism and alternative spiritualities. He has been doing this for some years and has built up a great deal of experience.
He described how his journey into this ministry from a traditional evangelical starting point involved a steep learning curve in contextualising the gospel in the context of Mind, Body, Spirit fairs and other places where Tarot cards are familiar. As he demonstrated the cards, the more we looked at them, the more we realised what rich imagery they provide as entry points into explaining the biblical symbolism and gospel
John does not expect everyone to get involved in evangelism using Tarot cards! But his creative approach challenges us to learn how to contextualise the gospel by finding points of contact in today's culture which can uncover resonances with biblical truth and imagery. If we're honest, as Christians we are often out of touch with the culture around us, and therefore it does not occur to us to use such things as Tarot cards as a way in. So the first challenge is to know and understand the culture - in this case represented by the cards - and then we can creatively re-express the gospel in terms with which the culture is familiar. This is mission in practice, and John gave us a classic case study in how to do it. Trinity is learning more and more about mission in today's world!