11.07.2006

Pastors who Drink and Cuss

I've got a lot to share about my time at the Revolution Conference, so I kinda feel like I need to be selective in what I talk about--just so don't drone on forever. If you want to know about the specifics of the conference, the main sessions, the seminars, and so forth, you can look at the Revolution Conference Blog.

One of the things I noticed was that it seems like a lot of people who are a part of this "revolution" that George Barna describes in his book--it seems like they come from a very fundamentalist/conservative evangelical background. As a result, a lot of their interest in this "revolutionary" kind of church is a reaction against a theology and spirituality that was strict, pushy, judgmental, narrow-minded, etc., etc., etc.

This was not my background. I know I complain a fair amount about my denomination, but as Presbyterians, my family was not particularly fundamentalist and I'm grateful for that. We did fall on the conservative side of Presbyterianism--but the even conservative Presbyterians look pretty liberal to a lot of other Christians.

So, my interest in the "revolution" has nothing to do with my background. It does have everything to do with finding more effective ways of helping people connect with God in a way that is deep, meaningful, and lifelong (I realize that this is also what drives those with a fundamentalist background).

The problem with a person's interest in the "revolution" being reactionary is that the pendulum can swing too far.

This is why I appreciate Brian McLaren's comments on this topic. I know that Brian's latest books have been fairly controversial, but at this conference Brian provided a source of groundedness and centeredness.

Here's a paraphrase of what McLaren said in one of the question-and-answer times:
A lot of times, when we react to something in our past we have a tendency to go too far in the other direction. Sometimes, because our past taught us not to drink, we start drinking more and more. But when we start drinking too much alcohol we become dangerous. Sometimes we react to stringent rules on sexuality by going too far in the other direction. But then we start damaging people sexually.... What the world doesn't need is a bunch of pastors who drink and cuss a lot.
I was so happy to hear him say this! There were times when I felt a little out of place with the crowd at this conference, but hearing Brian McLaren provide wisdom and act as a guiding light for all of us gave me great hope for the future of this "revolution."

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