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:
In my last post I answered question #1. Here's my answer to question #2
2) My hopes and dreams for the church are simple, but not necessarily easy. I would simply hope that we begin to trust one another more. Trust one another to discern who God has called to ministry, trust one another to honor the sanctity of marriage between TWO people, trust one another that they have come to their beliefs faithfully after careful study and trust one another that we are ALL children of God and should be treated with respect.
When I was in seminary I thought myself fairly open minded until my CPE (clinical pastoral education) supervisor called me a liberal fundamentalist. I earned this moniker by not being open to some my more conservative classmate's views on theology. Later that fall, my right leaning next door neighbor stormed into my room and said, "You liberals, will let you be anything you want except conservative!"
I felt like God was talking to me in those interchanges. God was telling me, "if you are going to be open and inclusive, you BETTER be open to EVERYONE." That doesn't mean that I don't think that some of my colleagues in ministry are off their rocker, but it does mean that I have an obligation to them to hear them out respecting their journey. It is not my job to change their minds, that's God's work. Maybe an interaction filled with respect and grace will open them up or open me up to a new view. I'm sure a heated debate will do nothing but further the divide between us.
That's my hope for the church. That we as the body of Christ can learn to speak to each other with grace and respect allowing our unity in Christ to allow us to trust God's work through our diversity.