In Part 1, I left off with this: We need more than just a re-articulation of the faith from the 16th century. We need break-through work in the theology, philosophy, and practice of mission in our day. There will be people working this angle at this gathering.
Now, here are three examples of this.
First, one of the speakers who will be presenting at this gathering was giving an address at a university last fall on the subject of humanity, life in the body, etc. In fact, they were discussing matters very similar to what they will be bringing to Truly Human. In the midst of their address, a leader of the LGBT advocacy group stood to their feet in protest. They had thought they heard overtones of anti-LGBT speech (I don’t believe there were anti-LGBT overtones, but the Missio speaker does hold an orthodox understanding of human sexuality, yet through a different lens than most have heard before). The protest continued the rest of the address.
What transpired afterwards was a 3 hour long conversation between this speaker, the leader, many in the LGBT community at the university, and several other interested persons. By the end, after mutual listening and learning, folks were hugging, taking pictures together and sharing mutual tears. Students also asked the speaker to pray for them and for the growth of a Truly Human life. I doubt that all this occurred because there was agreement in the room on these tough issues. Yet, there was breakthrough in new angles and through easily divisive beliefs. This speaker will be at our gathering talking about the same topic that led to this story – who knows what further work the Holy Spirit might do?!
Second, last fall I was at another event where one of our speakers (a white man) spoke honestly and passionately about the topic of racial reconciliation. It was a powerful moment as a white man addressed, in both humble and authoritative proclamation, the hard issues around these matters that so often white people are unaware of. The next morning, another one of our speakers (a black man) shared that they had never heard a white man talk about racial reconciliation like they heard the night before. In fact, it brought him to tears. It was a break-through kind of conversation, and one that both will be discussing at Missio’s gathering.
Third, one of the great observations that an attender made to me at the inaugural Missio event in 2013 was that they had never been to a conference where a more conservative, right-leaning advocacy group like Acton Institute and a more progressive, left-leaning advocacy group like Sojourners, were sponsoring the same event. This time, not only will they both be sponsoring this event, but key leaders from each organization will be leading a workshop together that is attempting to get “beyond ideology” and toward a break-through discussion on Resurrection Life & Economic Shalom.
I have no idea what new options may come through this important conversation and others like it! But I do know that it's an important step forward into the North American church's future.
Tomorrow, I'll explore that specifically: being a part of the future that is coming.