Big Tent Christianity Conference
Well, I’m making a reconnection of sorts in a couple of weeks… going to attend the Big Tent Christianity conference in Phoenix. If you’ve been reading this blog much, or read my bio, you may know that I have a long and deep background in Christianity. You may also know that I’ve not affiliated much there for a good 15 years now. But during this time, I’ve stayed in touch and in dialog (when possible) with Christian family members and friends, attended church services on occasion, or special church-sponsored events; and I’ve spent countless hours staying a bit in the Christian “loop” of developments, continued to study early Christian history and theology, psychology of religion, etc.
Since I do interact with many Christians, and do feel I still share important experiences and values with many of them, I decided it’s time to more openly and proactively pursue ways of working with them, perhaps even accept being identified as a progressive Christian, tho I personally don’t feel a need to take on such a label. But, after all, I’ve written about the importance of cooperative efforts among differing faiths and between religious and “spiritual but not religious” people. Time to walk my talk, at a slightly elevated level, the best I can at the moment.
Anyway, in deciding to go, I didn’t give much consideration to the exact topics being covered. I don’t care much about the “keynote” presentations. I’m sure both will be good. They will deal with the “Big Tent” theme one way or another, trends of where Christianity is going, etc. However, it is mainly meeting new people, the conversations I expect to have, and the general atmosphere that I think will be most of significance to me and perhaps to others.
Though this is not Big Tent Christianity’s first conference (just the 2nd I think), this particular attempt, by a number of Christian leaders and lay people, to bridge long historical divides and do serious examination of what following Jesus means and should mean in various traditions, is pretty new.
What is also significant is that this gathering brings into one setting, for serious discussions, people from various positions that are pretty far apart in that “historical divide” I mentioned. Now, most or perhaps all of the Evangelicals present will reflect the more “liberal” or open aspects of Evangelicalism, to be sure. But it is unusual and encouraging to see that there are Evangelicals who want to engage with even very progressive Christians (truly “liberal” tho not probably like “old-line” liberalism). Being a part of that kind of important dynamic is one key reason I will be there, and hope to contribute to the conversation and actions that will hopefully follow.
For information on the conference, visit www.bigtentchristianity.com.