In our CMS directors meeting we were talking about Missional Obliquity, as you do !! And we were given the following link. The basic idea is that we can achieve objectives by aiming at someothing more indirectly..........
I also came accross this pic which is about obliquity of the planets
I've been pondering this for sometime now and thought that I'd go public with it and see whether it resonated with people. I came across the principle of obliquity a few years ago and since then have been wondering about it in relation to mission. John Kay writes this in an article on obliquity in the Financial Times:
'Strange as it may seem, overcoming geographic obstacles, winning decisive battles or meeting global business targets are the type of goals often best achieved when pursued indirectly. This is the idea of Obliquity. Oblique approaches are most effective in difficult terrain, or where outcomes depend on interactions with other people.'
It seems to me that within the emerging church in the UK we have many oblique approaches to mission. Whether that is using arts as a tool for mission, Night Cafes, providing hospitality at Mind Body Spirit Fairs, meeting with other faith groups or club nights - these are all oblique approaches to mission. They do not preach the good news in a narrow way, they are not overtly evangelistic, however through the approach that they take they offer an oblique approach to God.
Oblique approaches recognize that sometimes the best way to achieve your goal is not through directly aiming at it, but rather by taking a journey that is not direct route but one that gets you to the same destination. If you stare directly at the sun there is the danger that it can blind you, whereas an oblique approach allows your eyes to gradually adjust preventing us from being blinded. Due to the perceived urgency of the evangelistic task direct approaches have been dominant, an oblique approach allows indirect approaches that take longer but are arguably more authentic.
However, the challenge is not to make the angle of obliquity so narrow that the focus becomes the oblique process rather than that which is being aimed at. I'm quite convinced by the importance of oblique approaches to mission but am fully aware that they are far more long term, far less direct and not as easily quantifiable. They can easily be dismissed as they are not obviously focused on a target and hence not directly evangelistic. The challenge with oblique approaches to mission is to make sure that they remain focused on the goal rather than themselves, if they are focused on themselves they loose their oblique approach and hence direction.
from Ben Edson's blog