This Friday I’ll be heading up to Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana to meet with a small group of folks to discuss a compelling question: What are the five most important conversations the church needs to have in the next decade? This conversation about these conversations was initiated by the Institute of Mennonite Studies, the research and publishing department of AMBS.
It’s an exciting event to be a part of and is encouraging to see the wider church asking this kind of big and long term question of itself, of us. It’s a chance to shape church-talk for years to come.
I have some ideas about what I’d like to bring to the Friday discussion, which I’ll mention briefly, but also welcome input from any of you. In your mind, What are the most important conversations the church needs to have in the next decade?
Some initial suggestions:
+ Coming to terms with the ecological crisis that is upon us and finding new ways of faithful living and witness. Watershed discipleship.
+ Renewing/Invigorating/Reimagining our language about God/Spirit/Mystery/Being to speak meaningfully into our 21st century cosmology of an expanding, 13.7 billion year old universe.
+ Embracing religious and cultural pluralism and nurturing a strong but open Christian identity.
+ The value of Sabbath and the curse of busyness.
+ Seeking justice amid the economic and racial disparities that persist and are widening.
+ Teaching biblical Hebrew to our elementary school aged children – OK, just seeing if you were paying attention.
+ I would mention a full embrace of gays and lesbians for membership, marriage, and ministry in the church, but I’m frankly a little tired of talking about it and ready to just live it…
What’s missing? Lots! What else does the church need to prioritize talking about?
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