Beside the release of my interview with Brian McLaren on the Homebrewed Christianity podcast [link] (also available on Itunes), I have been busy reading all week. I have gotten a pretty good survey of all the big discussions going on in, around, and because of the release of Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”.
“In such a climate, is it really possible to be moderate? Is it possible to have deep convictions but be willing to change your mind? Is it possible to believe you need the voices of those you disagree with? I’m often told that the moderate sits on a slippery slope. That’s fair enough. But I suspect those criticizing moderates for being on the slippery slope have already slipped down…some to the left, some to the right. I don’t mind being on the slope. It’s when I’m not on it that it makes me worry. Maybe we need more people on the slope.”
The most vocal factions of leadership of Evangelicalism have increasingly been wary of—and even rejected young Evangelical leaders over the past several years as being too liberal or not reformed enough. Young leaders who for the past several years who have clung to the title of ‘evangelical’ (simply because that is who we are) are growing increasingly uncomfortable with being associated with much of the conservative leadership.
I knew that people would jump on me for writing the endorsement. I wrote the endorsement because I would like people to listen to him. He may not be right. But he’s doing something worth doing. There’s so much polarization in the evangelical church that it’s a true scandal. We’ve got to learn how to talk to each other and listen to each other in a civil way.
This is interesting stuff I have skimmed up in the sea of controversy that has been stirred up. I know that some folks just don’t care or see why this matters very much. I get that. BUT if I say anything to them I would say “you will care about this in about a decade or so.” With the Mainline liberal church in a collapse narrative, the emergent conversation increasingly dispersed, the conservative retrenchment and the unbelievable rate of attrition (loss) of our young people across denominational lines… this will become a real issue that will really impact the way we do and talk about church.
I will be honest with you: I am ready to fight over this stuff. In fact, if it weren’t for those pesky teaching of Jesus I would become very aggressive about this. I am just so tired of the tight-fisted control and suppression by those who consider themselves the self-appointed ‘Gate Keepers’ of evangelical theology.
But alas I will not get aggressive. I will love, I will listen, I will learn, and I will serve. My plan is to continue to minister in the church and to continue my theological education in order to help the next generation navigate this tricky water with integrity.