Metaphors are such a common part of our language that we often don’t even realise that we are using them. When we get to grips with a subject, or wrestle with an idea, our first thoughts are not about a heavyweight wrestling contest in the ring, we instinctively understand what is meant. Metaphors can be derived from all areas of life and can give us an insight into how we subconsciously view reality.
How do we conceptualise mission? Do we take our imagery from Joshua (’mission is a battle’)? Or from the parables (mission is sowing seeds)? What other metaphors might we use? What would ’success’ or ‘failure’ look like according to each metaphor? How might it affect our relationships with those we are seeking to ‘reach’ (another metaphor!)? .
I have to say, that I am very uneasy when Christians use a lot of military imagery to describe mission. People who are not yet Christians are not an enemy to be conquered, and an overuse of combat metaphor can be very offputting. There is more on this fascinating subject in Tim Davy’s post which I quoted from above. It’s well worth a read.