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    « Sectarianism, Modern Theology, and the Demands of a Tradition | Main | Metrics : How Do You Gauge Congregational Vitality? »
    Thursday
    Jul142011

    What Type of Community Is This? What Will It Be?

    Community.  There are all types of communities, centered on all kinds of topics, hobbies, and interests.  There is the hand-craft community, the DIY community, and the everything Apple community.  There is the Reformed community and Emergent Village and the Evangelical Arminians

    I’m part of numerous communities.  I play softball and pick up hoops.  I volunteer in our youth ministry.  My most important community is my family.  I am part of a church.

    But what type of community is this?  What type of community will it become?

    I want to be clear. 

    • I want there to be people here who are both young and old.  May those of us who are younger learn from those who are older, and vice-versa.  
    • I want this community to consist of people who are willing to intellectually engage theology and culture.  This community will make space for those that question and doubt.  While there will be room for strong proclamation, there will also be room for inquiry and investigation.  
    • This community will engage both popular and more technical concerns.  I am an academic who loves people enough to try to communicate in plain language.  This can be a challenge for me, but I will strive to write in an accessible way, while also challenging the collective to elevate our discourse to higher levels of critical thinking.  
    • This community will be a space where people can laugh, joke, and clown around.  While we will be serious, we will not take ourselves too seriously.  
    • This space will foster connection.  I want commenters to interact and dialogue with one another in a respectful tone.  We can challenge one another, question one another, and even say we strongly disagree, but when we do so, we will speak the truth in love.  
    • This space will be ecumenical.  I am a Baptist who is a member of a United Methodist Church.  I still represent the Baptist tradition, while being an admirer of John Wesley and the greater Wesleyan tradition.  People from all traditions or no-tradition are welcome to come and contribute in the discourse, whether they be liberal or conservative, Reformed, Catholic, Emergent (whatever that might mean), Presbyterian, Pentecostal, etc.  
    • This community will consult and wrestle with the Bible.  I love the Scriptures.  The text should not be dismissed too quickly in light of modern concerns or set aside in an attempt to establish a lowest common denominator faith.  We should pursue the logic of our interpretations to their conclusions, and, when we have reasoned well together and still disagree, maintain fellowship in love.  
    • This community will not serve as a substitute for involvement in our neighborhoods.  Hopefully, it will inspire us to be more engaged in our cities and towns.  In addition, it is hoped that the relationships that begin here might eventually result in a handshake, a cup of coffee, a meal, or some other occasion where we might be “face to face.” 

    For this to be a community, I will need your help.  I will need you to step out of the shadows, leave a comment, ask a question, send an email.  I will need you to share discussions found here with your friends and networks, and invite others to take part.  I will need you to bring my attention to interesting articles around the web, books that are of note, and scholarly works that should not be ignored.  I will need you to help me track culture and think harder and work more diligently to communicate clearly.  I will need you to carve out a presence.

     All are welcome.  All are accepted.  Those are words I learned at the Lord’s Table.  They are true here as well.

    I’m glad you are part of this community.  Now, let us live the dream.

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