Category Archives: Missio agro

Not safe.

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My September Newsletter.


Writing from my work desk at Luther High School, read on to hear about summer mission, rest, and the work ahead.

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Foraging On

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If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;

If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

Proverbs 24:11-12, KJV

Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost (Lk 19:10). He defined his mission with these words and additionally contrasted the fact that he came to give life and life in abundance with that of the thief who comes only to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). As the Wise Son he has been appointed over God’s house (Heb. 3:6).

Since I have written on this thread of “Missio Argo” sub-blog, more than four and half years have passed. My brother’s house from which I last wrote has been sold and he is living in a new home. I moved to a new home within Fukushima, then I left Fukushima in 2017, to intern at a non-denominational church in Kansas City as part of the missions, prayer, and justice movement with which I was seeking a greater degree of covering, alignment, and relationship. I started with homecoming in Wisconsin for a four-month sabbatical.

Two years in Kansas City brought great difficulty as well as great depth of friendship and significant pivotal moments for growth in my life. I came to the church in KC to first seek inner and heart healing in the context of a spiritual family I was led to. I was met with a heavy-handed skepticism from some of the leadership that was shocking, and I think borderline spiritually abusive. Despite that, I submitted as much as I could with a broken heart, believing the promise that this was the family I was supposed to be with. Good friends grew up around me, godly men and women generations above me and near me who were able to speak prophetically into my heart.

Between a Living Waters group program and a Healing for the Nations retreat, as well as time in the prayer room at the church, and the experience of losing my car and phone while driving through the Iowa countryside, God spoke profound, life altering revelation into my life. Let me give some snapshots of the heart and vocational journey over these years:

  • Healing and deliverance from deeply embedded shame and childhood wounds began to free me from the way shame coated my sexuality and inner child. Within this freedom I could see that my path to holiness/wholeness meant integration of my homosexually oriented sexuality and inner child with my adult self and with my faith and relationship with the Lord. I did not need to manicure a “holy enough” version of myself that was rooted in my own work but freed in Christ and the love of the Father I knew I was empowered to walk the path of integration and given permission to live the question of what all of this means and how I should live.
  • The need to surrender the work of healing my heart to the Lord. It’s not my work, it’s my heart but Jesus is the healer, the master physician and he is the only one who can in fact bring healing.
  • I was building my life on a foundation of technology and knowledge. These empower the old man, or the false self. The picture is me sitting in a command center at the panels of a supercomputer. The seat with me in it represents the rule of reason/knowledge/intellect and the use of technology to aid the shaping of self and my world.
  • God was replacing that paradigm with a new one: “the coracle is sonship.” The coracle refers to a kind of sail boat driven by the wind and is a picture of a Spirit lead lifestyle. Sonship refers to the life in the Spirit by which God is my Father and Jesus my elder brother. God has always been, and profoundly through this revelation, inviting me into a new and living way by which I plan, strategize, and make decisions with the Father and under his wise council and leadership as a son rather than as an orphan in my own command center. I am still shifting into this reality, but it has been tremendously life giving.
  • Caught up within this paradigm shift was how to live the question of my sexuality. I needed to not rely on my own insight, knowledge, and understanding nor on the knowledge of experts but trust the voice of the Spirit to lead me through the darkness of unknowing.
  • This nexus of foundational repentance brought great freedom. Freedom from shame, freedom from needing to figure things out, and freedom from the lies that I am solely responsible; I have to be on top of things; I have to have it together in any way that exalts the self, up, over, and against the Lord’s role to be responsible to and for me. To let the Lord be my covering, and to be the Word from the Father that defines and calls me into being.
  • As I began to live this repentance in the context of my church family, I found good, caring, and compassionate friends who got to know me and who I in turn got to know. I was somewhat anxious to get accepted into the internship in which I was invited into and had subsequently been disinvited into. This put a little bit of the devil’s schemes into the walking out of these new revelations. In my relationship with the Father I grew in sonship and belonging. In my relationship with the church I fell into performance and continually struggled with belonging.
  • I had hoped to live out the question of my sexuality together with my spiritual family. In some ways this occurred, but in many ways the process seemed frustrated. I was also eager, probably too eager, to make it through the hoops to get through the internship, seminary study, and leadership development so that I could get back to Japan and dear friends and relationships I had built during my three years in Fukushima.
  • My trust in the leadership had been rocky from the initial rejection and performance dynamic that built but as the story kept changing about when I might be resent to Japan, I began to grow uncomfortable with the alignment.
  • In the summer and fall of last year I felt increasing tug from the Lord to give voice to my experience as a sexual minority which culminated in me coming out as a queer, celibate Christian. From what I knew about the theological/ethical boundaries of the movement I was coming into, I thought I was within them. I had shared openly about my sexuality and how to speak to it with leadership and thought it was safe. It was NOT. Immediately I began to be treated with anger and accusation for doing something wrong. Something that was so hard and yet so freeing for me to speak, which was an act of living in the light and living with greater integrity was met with judgement and anger. It was the anger that scared me most. I began to feel unsafe in the company of certain leadership and when I attended worship, I began to have experiences of trauma. This wasn’t just an experience of offense, but I was actually having a racing heart, hyperventilating and feeling extreme panic. I stopped attending worship at that church but stayed involved in the courses and small group I was helping start.
  • I hardly began to look for ways to go back for Japan but there was a remarkable open door that came through ELCA Global Mission and I was in a process of discerning a call immediately. This avenue out of Kansas City and to Japan is, I am convinced, the good pastoring of the Lord to deliver me from a place where I was not being pastored well.

I move home in December. My spiritual son and friend who is closer than a brother came from Japan to visit me in Kansas City, and then my family in Wisconsin, and New Mexico. I accepted the call to Japan with the ELCA in December and started orientation in February. I was sent at the end of March and started working at a Lutheran junior and senior high school about as soon as I got here as well as work in congregational mission which I am still just getting aligned with. My pastors of the Lutheran church in my hometown have been a literal lifeline as I almost gave up hope of belonging in any kind of “church.” Not only have they always been a prophetic voice of welcome, they have championed me in the upward call of God. I am incredibly grateful for them.

I love my church family in Kansas City as well. I met some of the most beautiful, loving people there. I also love the leaders. Some are close friends. There is pain but leaving for me was something God did to rescue and re-place me in his purposes, not a permanent farewell. I don’t know if, how, or when I will rejoin my friends from that movement. I was kicked out of the leadership pathway because of my professed sexual orientation. That has been a deep, and grievous bludgeon against my soul but I am hopeful for change, for reconciliation, and for us to grow in brotherly love and affection through whatever comes next.

Jesus sought me out when I was lost in the rejection and judgement of those given over me. Jesus is healing and giving me life as I walk in the way of the cross. Jesus is protecting me from the way the thief has tried to kill my walk with God, steal my destiny, and destroy the dreams God has put in my heart. I am growing in my identity of a son in God’s house both in relationship to God and to the Church which is full of sinners of which I am one. God’s love came through the bloody cross of Christ and I am learning obedience through suffering in various junctures in my relationship with the church. I am encouraged by this because I read it as a sign that I am a legitimate son who is chastised because I am loved.

And so, as I continue to write on this platform about mission and life as a missionary, I want you to know a little about more about who I am and where I am coming from. As I am eager in the joy of the Lord to share the good news of the reconciling love of God, of his generous welcome into the house, not only to receive the bread of life but to do the work of the Kingdom as co-agents of a glorious redemption. As I do so, I remember I can still be lost, I am still broken, I am still holding questions and living them. I don’t give pretense to hold the answers but I know there is something about this man, about the way he loves me, about the way he holds out his hand that I can say with confidence to those around me, have you heard of this man who can save you from death, and sin, and hell? Far be it from me to to abandon the work of reconciliation to which God has given me.

Pray for me. The love of God be with you.

Christmas Prayer for Fukushima

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We have escaped like a bird
    from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
    and we have escaped.

(Psalm 124:7, NRSV)

It is not from Fukushima City that I write. I am sitting with my nephew and brother in his underground, home office. Outside the snowfall barely sticks to the ground as the winds of a winter storm blow with gusto. Yet we are safe in the warm coziness of this space. Warmth, shelter, family and even a little bit of work. It is here that I write.

Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs from the first years of our Saviour’s life. In a world seeming to grow in violence and oppression there is a word that the Word frustrates the designs of evil. And whereas Satan, through Herod could not abort the deliverance of God, then so it is true that Satan now defeated, the snare now broken, cannot stop the advance of the Gospel of the Kingdom in this or any age. We are as birds escaped from the fowler’s snare. The snare is broken. Thanks be to the Lord.

As my heart now turns to thoughts of Fukushima I am reminded of my former student who’s son committed suicide last year. Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more. And yet, the last Sunday of Advent, when the Japan Lutheran Church celebrates Christmas, her and her husband became followers of Jesus in the sacrament of Holy Baptism. Satan cannot  abort the deliverance of our God.

My student’s story is sadly one of a large number who is taken victim by him who holds the power of death and whose native language is lies. The experience last spring of this young man’s premature death is a call to wake up, to be alert; for while we are idle, Satan is busy working to destroy the race of men and Jesus weeps.

But the truth of the Gospel is present in this one line—”the snare is broken.” If Satan is the fowler then death is the snare and its teeth and bindings sin. This contraption, this device of hell is broken. Therefore, where the enemy is bringing attack against Fukushima, where people take their own lives overcome in despair, where individuals reclude themselves from the fellowship of others because they are bound in fear, where people doubt their capacity so much that they refuse to venture into the world I pray love, love, love came down, on Christmas Day, on Christmas Day and the snare is broken! People of Fukushima, fly as the freed birds you are on the wind of God’s Spirit!

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer Request: The newly baptized couple at Izumi Lutheran Church who are still grieving the loss of their beloved son.

Missio agro

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Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.~ the Lord Jesus Christ, Mark 16:15

The missio agro, the mission field, is shaped and defined by the dynamic energy and intention of the Triune God. Its periphery, ever dynamic, is defined by the reality of the unfinished task and its meaning is found ultimately in the missio Dei. On this page I desire to share tales from the mission field both as a way to specifically narrow how I share my life in this avenue and to reflect on the missionary task in my specific context of Fukushima, Japan.

The whole inhabited world is the field and in these last days God’s Spirit is being poured out on all flesh. These are exciting days to live in. Perhaps the most exciting since the days of Christ’s first coming. But unlike the indiscriminate, universal, all places, all nations, all flesh, nature of God’s outpouring of the Spirit in his missional heart for all creation, human beings are limited to the confines of our time and space bound mortal bodies. Without supernatural intervention we can’t serve in two places at once and therefore are given our place, our station so to speak in engaging and partnering in God’s mission. This is a tremendous privilege and duty. By God’s mercy and help may I live into it well.

As I continue to write in these pages I will unpack some of the heavier language in this introduction but for now I want to focus on the specificity of my station— Fukushima, Japan. This prefecture sits in the southeast portion of the Tohoku region of Japan. Tohoku is the northernmost part of Honshu, Japan’s main and largest island. Known more recently for its radioactive disaster about ninety kilometers to the east on the Pacific coast it is prudent that Fukushima becomes known for more then that which has stigmatized it. Healing, repairs, pain, grief, brokenness all remain in many. Many have moved on. The tragedy of what has happened should not be forgotten but nor should it define this place or its people.

Looking elsewhere, I found it interesting that Fukushima is known historically as the “Fruit Kingdom.” Known literally in Japan for being a place of producing fruit I have strongly suspected that if what is true in the natural, pictures what is true in the spiritual then this place has an exciting prophetic destiny. I am praying and prophesying over this agro, over this field, fruit—fruit that will last!

I am excited to labor alongside the Lord and God’s holy people here and I continue to pray that God will ekballo; i.e. thrust forth, laborers into this harvest field, I pray that  God will prepare and continue to till the soil of hearts and that fallow ground now and yet to be broken will become a breeding ground for God’s Kingdom. A Kingdom which is a fruit kingdom of sorts, full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, friends, family, wayfaring strangers of good will: will you join me in praying for this land and her people? God so loves them as God so loves us.

Pax Christi,

Spencer Jordan