What’s Next for Thruway Christians?

In a comment to Thruway Christians: Christianity for the Rest of Us, reader Robert Thomas, of Gold Coast, Queensland, wrote:

Hi John- I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, lurking about, but I had to come out of the woodwork for at least one comment.

What you wrote on the Facebook site- the 16 points- it’s like you reached inside me and pulled out everything I feel about Christianity. I feel more strongly on some points than others, but I can’t believe how parallel with my beliefs those points are. I’ve always wondered if I’d ever find people that believe like I do.

Thank you

(Now where do we go from here…?)

Isn’t that lovely?

So, about the “What’s next for TC?” question.

Well, let’s see. I started the group night before last. As of this writing, it has 115 members.

And still we don’t have a church site! Laggers! We’ll never take over the world this way!

No, but seriously. I want there to be a Starbucks in our church lobby.

Pffft. Like there wouldn’t be anyway. Never mind.

Right. So it depends on how large the TWC Facebook page grows. If it continues to grow, then at some point it’ll begin attracting the sorts of attentions such things do. The first thing that’ll happen, of course, is that fundamentalist-type Christian bloggers will begin to attack it. It’ll then make its way up that snarling food chain, until it reaches bloggers of that ilk who write in complete sentences. Then conservative pastors with actual churches and actual followings will start writing online commentaries about TC. (That’ll be fun.)

If Thruway Christians continues to grow, then I’ll start hearing hearing from whatever literary agents and book publishers are still in business at that point.

And, for me personally, that’s what it’ll all boil down to: whether or not I want to essentially expand the group’s founding document into a book. And I might: I deeply believe in that document, and have a done a fair amount of writing on each of its tenets. It’d be good to have the TC movement (cuz that’s what it’ll be called at that point) defined, delineated, and diligently (if not delightfully) defended in a book. If TC is going to be durable and enduring, such a book is actually more than good. It’s necessary. No movement is real without a real book behind it.

So we’ll see. If one year from now TC has 10,000 members clamoring for a book, I’ll feel honored to make sure they get the best book I can write. If it’s got 5,000 members, and the people who most seem to want me to write a book about it are lit agents and acquisition editors, no thanks. If it’s got 500 members, it’ll be just a fun little thing that had some potential but never took off.

As with all such things, it depends on the people involved. If the people who join TC are passionate about it—if they blog about it; if they put it on their Facebook page; if they email their friends about it, and so on—it’ll grow. That’d be great; and we will, then, deal with that. If TC’s group members don’t take those kinds of actions, then it’ll become just another online thing that went nowhere. And that’d be perfectly cool with me; it would just mean TC wasn’t necessary, which is actually great news.

So either way. It’s the right idea at the right time, or it’s not. All I know is that I had to do it, because (and I know that to non-religious people, this can only sound crazy) I felt God telling me that I had to do it.

So I did. After that, whatever.

I let go, I let God, and then I let go again.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Susan in NY

    Voila!

    I love it.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you. The endings are always tricky. Anyway, thanks for appreciating this one.

  • http://www.InSearchOfGoodness.com Diane Silver

    John, I don’t think I can join the Thruway Christian group because I don’t buy into point #1. My theology differs from yours, but I absolutely adore what you’re doing. You give me hope that Christianity can be a religion of love, and not of assault and exclusion. What a wonderful gift in the holiday season!

    • http://wilkinsonweb.com Dan Wilkinson

      I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to dogmatically agree with all 16 points in order to consider oneself a Thruway Christian. As with any creedal statement, there is considerable room for interpretation and nuance in some of the assertions. While there are obviously some core assumptions that might preclude one from professing an association with this group, the broader point is that Christians from a variety of theological backgrounds should be able to unite through “living a life of love, compassion, fairness, peace, and humility.”

      • Anonymous

        Exactly, exactly, exactly. Thank you, Dan.

  • Lee Walker

    Well, of course the first thing to do is ordain you as pope or chief priest or founding father or head cult leader or something, and then get certified as an accredited cult.. I mean church! …yeah, church!… and then establish membership initiation rites, order of worship and set up the various decorating, landscaping/facilities, nominating and music committees.

    Seriously, I think I commented early on the original post, before it was organized into the Thruway document that you had succeeded in articulating or voicing so many of the exact thoughts I’d been dwelling on for some time. Thank you for sticking your neck out on this, and I pray God will honor your obedience to His nudging in the form of much fruit of the Spirit, and expansion of the Kingdom.

    • Lee

      ..and please forgive my misuse of commas and other assorted errors of punctured punctuation , oh ye of perfected, punctiliousness.

      • Anonymous

        I’ll let you know just the moment I become such a dick that I start caring about how anyone punctuates the comments they leave on blogs.

    • Anonymous

      Nice. Beautifully said. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=751345197 Robert Thomas

    Hey I’m famous! John Shore quoted me! Wait. Does that mean I’ve used up my 15 minutes of fame?

    After spending a few years in the conservative, non-denominational movement in Milwaukee, I felt like what I believed and what they believed just didn’t match any more. When I moved to Australia 4 years ago it was a relief to leave that behind, but I missed having a community. I searched for a church or group with limited success but I never found anything long-term that was fitting. I gave up hope to a point. As I said, I never knew other people believed what I do so closely, so I hope this group does take off. I’d like to find that sense of community again.

    • Anonymous

      You’re with friends now, brother!

  • Kim

    Wonderful idea John. Inspired. Truly inspired.

  • Steve

    I was at a seminar last year where the speaker Mark Knoll was giving an overview of the Christian creeds in relation to (and in response to) key points in history when Christian theology was being threatened, watered down, or confused. The thought occurred to me that what was needed in Christianity now (among other things) was a new creed that separated sound theology from all the bullshit that’s being peddled culturally in the name of Christ. But immediately the question came to mind “yeah right. with such conflicting claims on Christian authority who could write such a creed?”. When I read your 16 points I thought maybe it’s just been done. What happens next is indeed an interesting question.

    Either way thanks for getting this started John.


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