Impressions from Inside the Christian Big Tent
If you’ve not read my recent posts, the “Big Tent” here is a reference to Big Tent Christianity, and specifically to the Big Tent Christianity Conference held Feb. 10 and 11 in Phoenix.
For now, I’m content to share a few brief impressions and save a more detailed analysis for later. As part of this approach, I’m more than eager to hear your impressions if you were there, whether as “audience” or “presenter” (the lines were often blurred, which was a nice feature, I felt). I’ve not yet had the luxury of post-conference discussions with anyone who was there, so please be nice to me and share if you were there.
A few couplets of words that first come to mind of what I saw and/or felt:
Another summarizing phrase as to what the conference was about might be “The Story of Stories” or even “Stories of the Story.” Often repeated were comments about the power of narratives–both of those written and now powerfully traditional, particularly of the life and words of Jesus, and of those lived today by widely varying kinds of Christians, in widely varying contexts, both personal and cultural. And, of course many personal stories were shared and may well be the most-remembered parts of all that was said and done. To really “get” these, you had to be there… I cannot repeat them with much power.
I will merely try, with my impressions theme, to summarize the impression left on me of some of the moving stories: that our churches have focused so much on various ideals–of getting the Bible “right,” of behaving “right,” etc. that they have left little room for members or leaders to be human, to be genuine in living as brothers and sisters, living in what is meant to be a community of faith, not a conformity of faith, where all must believe alike.