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Receptivity and offering: Posture/stance

Lynne Baab • Thursday March 24 2022

Receptivity and offering: Posture/stance

Back in 2014, a wonderful Australian friend, Darren Cronshaw, co-wrote a book that I really appreciated. The title is a made-up word, “Sentness,” which refers to John 17:18, Jesus sending us into the world as he was sent. “Sentness” – making the verb “sent” into a state of being – captures a lot about how we live in the world. The subtitle gives further helpful vocabulary: “Six Postures for Missional Christians.” Darren and his co-author, Kim Hammond, want us to think about our posture as Christians – the way we stand in the world, our approach or attitude.

They write, “There are two competing postures for the people of God today: a church of consumers, demanding goods and services, and a church of missionaries, sent and sending into the world.” [1] They lay out six approaches or attitudes for Christians who want to be faithful to the picture Jesus gives us of being sent into the world. If you’d like to get a good summary of the way Darren and Kim describe these postures, take a look at the first two reader reviews on the amazon page for the book. Or buy a copy!

Today I want to reflect on the word “posture,” used most frequently to refer to the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting. Most of us spend very little time thinking about our posture; it’s instinctual or habitual. In a similar way, the consumerist approach criticized by Darren and Kim (and me) creeps up on us gradually and unconsciously. Without knowing exactly how it happened, we find ourselves chasing after possessions and experiences. Christians of course are not immune to this unmindful posture.

A related word is “stance,” which also refers to the way we hold our bodies. “Stance” implies a deliberate choice, like the stance for a batter in a baseball game or a golfer’s positioning as they begin their swing. For me, “stance” has worked really well as I ponder how I want to live as a Christian. How do I want to position myself as I enter each day? What deliberate choices do I want to make as I create a stance for my heart/soul/mind/body today?

I want to adopt a receptive stance, open to God’s presence, guidance, and empowerment for the day. I want to offer myself to God for the day – my energy, productivity, thoughts, feelings, words, and relationships. I’ve been writing about this stance of receptivity and offering for several months on this blog.

I definitely want to have a stance of sentness for each day. I try to pray something like this each morning: “My day is yours, God. Guide me into it. Help me see what you’re calling me to do and help me do it.” Then I get back around to the notion of being receptive: “Help me stay open to what you are doing in this day. Help me receive the gifts and challenges you give me this day.”

When I think of baseball players up to bat or golfers at the tee, I think of how awkward the correct stance must have felt for them back when they were just learning the sport. The correct stance becomes increasingly natural with time. However, I also picture coaches helping athletes to adjust their stance to make it more effective. Every time we read the Bible, listen to a sermon, read a Christian book or blog post, or talk with a friend, we can open ourselves to coaching about our stance. However, too much emphasis coaching can get in the way of effectiveness, especially if we try every little suggestion and don’t trust what we already know and do reasonably well. At the same time, being unwilling to receive coaching keeps us stuck in ruts. We can seek to find a good balance point of trying new things from time to time, while also holding onto the aspects of our stance before God that work well.

What aspects of your daily stance work well in keeping you connected to God during the day? Do you need or desire coaching in any area?

(Next week: fatigue. Illustration by Dave Baab. I love getting new subscribers. Sign up below to receive an email when I post on this blog.)

Some more about sentness or a missional approach:

[1] Darren Cronshaw and Kim Hammond, Sentness: Six Postures for Missional Christians (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2014), 13.

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