Last week, I posted about “Church and Post-Christian Culture: Christian Witness in the Way of Jesus,” a conference organized by Missio Alliance and held at the Carlisle Brethren in Christ Church on September 19-20. Specifically, I blogged about the way the conference was bringing together what I termed a “megachurch Evangelical” sensibility with Anabaptist convictions. In that regard, it was certainly an interesting gathering.
Of course, the gathering was interesting in many other ways, too. I appreciated the opportunity to hear from speakers I know only from their books: people like Greg Boyd, the Minnesota megachurch pastor who wrote one of my favorite neo-Anabaptist books, The Myth of a Christian Nation. (The Search for Piety and Obedience readers might remember Boyd as the influential pastor who considered aligning with the Brethren in Christ a few years back.) Boyd’s talk was — as I expected — quite engaging.
Yet I was particularly moved by some of the talks by folks whose names I’d never heard before, among them Meghan Good, pastor of Albany Mennonite Church in Oregon, and Samuel Sarpiya, a Church of the Brethren pastor ministering and teaching Kingian nonviolence on the streets of post-industrial Rockford, IL.
Finally, it was great to see and hear my former student Brooke Strayer give a truncated version of her history of the Brethren in Christ peace position at one of the conference breakout sessions.
And yet I have my reservations about some of what I saw and heard at the conference. A few thoughts are percolating. I hope to weave them into a semi-coherent follow-up post in the next few days.
In the meantime, here’s a round-up of some blog posts offering coverage and opinion on the gathering:
- Over at MennoBytes, the blog of Mennonite Church USA publishing house MennoMedia, Amy Gingerich offers a positive take on the conference proceedings from the perspective of an “ethnic Mennonite”
- At Pastor’s Post, a Church of the Brethren blogger meditates on some of what she learned at the conference.
- This fascinating post from Staunton Mennonite weblog considers how conferences like this one encourage “Mennonite fanaticism” over “celebrity” pastors (like Boyd). The blogger calls this response “fall[ing] into the trappings of the broader society.”
I’ll certainly be blogging more about this conference in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!