The next couple weekends find me in St. Louis and Spokane. This weekend, I’ll be traveling to St. Louis for the National Youth Workers Convention — I’m thinking about bringing Lily (6) since NWA is offering seats there for only 15K miles.

Then, the next weekend I’ll be at a Mainline-Emergent Dialogue event in Spokane, co-hosted by the Pacific-Inland Presbytery and Whitworth College. If you live around there, or if you can score a cheap plane ticket, I want to encourage you to go. I’ll be there with Doug Pagitt, John Franke, and Karen Ward, and we’ll be conversing about all things emergent, and about the implications for mainline churches and denominations — however, with the four of us together, you’re sure to get a lot more as well…

Last Weekend

I had a great time in D.C.  I kidded the folks at National City Christian Church why they get to call their denomination “Churches of Christ” and “Disciples of Christ.”  I mean, those seem like rather generic names that all of us who follow Jesus should be able to use.

With some pathos in their voices, several of the clergy members there told me that their denomination was never meant to be a denomination.  It was part of the Restorationist movement to bring all Christians back together, to overthrow denominations.  But, in 1968, they gave in and became a denomination.  One guy even told me, “1968.  Just as the rest of our culture was de-institutionalizing, we institutionalized.”

Others were a bit more edgy, telling me, in effect, that denominationalism is inevitable, and Emergentism is just around the corner.  But what’s interesting, I think is that their move toward ecumenism was part-and-parcel with the lowest-common-denominator ecumenism of the 20th century.  Instead of encouraging distinctiveness, they wanted everyone to lay aside their differences and come together.  The emergent tack is just the opposite, embracing differance as the very element that makes us human.

Winter Travel Schedule

I’ve added a Google Calendar on the right sidebar that will have all of my speaking gigs listed, but here’s a list of the ones in the upcoming months. If you’re in the area, drop me an email and let’s get a beer.

January 17: Boston Young Adult Ministry Project, Boston, MA
January 22-26: Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, IL
January 30-February 1: Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA

February 2-3: Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA
February 20-22: Campbell University, Buie’s Creek, NC
February 23-25: UNC-Greenboro, Greensboro, NC

March 4-10: Sweden, Norway, Denmark

April 12-14: Wheaton Theology Conference, Wheaton, IL
April; 16-18: Emergent Theological Conversation, Philadelphia, PA

May 3-5: Western Seminary Youth Ministry Conference, Holland, MI
May 17-19: Faith as a Way of Life Conference, New Haven, CT
May 19-20: Washington Arts Group Conference, Washington, D.C.