The other day I got an email from Steve Knight asking me to participate in a Synchroblog for the Big Tent Christianity Conference happening in Raleigh, North Carolina this week. I'm hoping to join other Christian bloggers, including Beloved, in setting out a vision for what the church will look like in the future. Here's the theme prompts we were given:
1) What do you think?
2) What are your hopes and dreams for the Church?
3) More specifically, what does “big tent Christianity” mean to you? And what does it look like in your context?
1) When I hear the term "big tent Christianity" I think about mainline churches beginning to work together to provide service and mission to their communities and the world. I realize this may be a little limiting, however in my experience I have heard many people, mostly evangelicals (I would list myself as an evangelical, not in the current vernacular but in the ACTUAL definition of the word) say "I just want to go to church, I don't want baptist or presbyterian or lutheran. I just want to go to church...one big church."
This I feel like is a great goal, but not one that is attainable not really that effective or life giving.
This summer I was working at a PC(USA) camp for middle schoolers and one of the other youth leaders who wasn't currently serving a PC(USA) congregation and I were talking. I was asking him about his congregation including it's denominational affiliation, if any. His response was, "honestly I couldn't tell you the difference between baptist or presbyterian or whatever. I don't think it matters." I was shocked.
This is were I tell you that I am a self proclaimed PresbyNerd. I ABSOLUTELY think it matters!
I think the differences, theological and otherwise, that have brought us to this point in our journey are vital. They help define who we are and where we've come from, if we lose that I believe we lose our history. As Lord Acton said, "Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it."
I think that our differences are important, but our commonalities are what can bring us under a "big tent". Our common call from Christ to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself should be the fertilizer that brings forth fruit from our deep roots of faith.
I was planning on covering all three questions in this post, but I don't want to bore you. In my next post I'll cover question #2 What are your hopes and dreams for the Church?