I had the opportunity last week to attend a one-day seminar by Reggie McNeal that was sponsored by the Missouri Baptist Convention. Reggie is an incredible speaker, full of energy and humor, and his thoughts on the "missional church" were right on target. He is not, by any means, an advocate of "traditional methods" of reaching lost people. That is one reason I was very surprised that the MBC would bring him in as a sponsored speaker. Nevertheless, the day was delightful, full of interesting conversation, and an incredible asset to all those who attended.
Now I read today some disturbing thoughts coming from several news reports. I had hoped that the executive committee had "turned the corner" and were open to conversations on how to reach more people through a missional mindset. Now don't hear what I'm not saying. I'm not advocating that every new idea (if there is such a critter) is a good one, nor am I saying that the MBC should adopt or even consider changing some of the foundational biblical ideology that pervades the organization. Most of us would certainly agree on the "non-negotiables."
What's this all about you ask? There has been a growing conversation about the relationship between the SBC and the "emerging church" movement. We could argue forever about the meaning of the word emerging, but the fact is, it's out there and we can't ignore it.
Start with this article from the SBC Pathway for some background. Then you can go to Dr. Mark DeVine's blog and read his thoughts on the subject and his response to the SBC. I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but if you'd like my thoughts, feel free to email me.
I would like to suggest however, that we drop the political rhetoric and focus on what Jesus called us to do in the first place - love people. Loving people doesn't mean isolating ourselves from those not like us. It also doesn't mean frolicking along the path with anyone or anything that suits or fancy. It's all about balance. Developing relationships with others while not sacrificing our values.
Change is inevitable (I'm not advocating that all change is good). We can embrace the future or hide from it. We can be barbarians or monks. We can find a way to work together or we can become isolationists. The world can be for us or against us (or heaven forbid we work together!), the glass half full or half empty. So many times it's a matter of perspective. Where do you stand?