Friday, May 23, 2008


I received an e-mail from Keelan Downton, Assistant Professor of Narrative Biblical Theology at Somerset Christian College about blogging for the upcoming Envision Conference held at Princeton Theological Seminary. Many of my upcoming posts will flow around the conference conversation theme of the gospel, politics, and the future. Your comments concerning the current situation of the church and an envisioned direction are highly valued. Please click and write in the "THOUGHTS" link at the bottom of each Envision post so that we may engage in dialogue together before, during, and after the conference. I also hope to begin some analysis of what Keelan called "a recent barrage of 'manifestos'" including The Emergent Manifesto of Hope, The Evangelical Manifesto, and The Holiness Manifesto.

I'll be flying out of Columbus, OH for my first trip to New Jersey where I'll be crashing at my aunt's home if I do not stay on campus at Princeton. I'm sure my mind will need some good rest from the interactions with the many speakers, authors, teachers, and missional practitioners including Miroslav Volf, Ron Sider, Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, Brenda Salter McNeil, Shane Claiborne, Jeremy Del Rio, Doug Pagitt, and Bart Campolo. I'm very excited about the diversity of the speakers and the Learning Tracks that are being offered.

There is also an online dialogue June 2-3 to help create a statement entitled, “Envision the Future: The Next Decade” using a collaboration software called Synanim. The forum may be especially interesting and useful for those who are unable to be present at the conference. Be sure to sign up to engage in the online discussion about the problems and/or issues that need addressed in/by the church. It is free to sign up for the online dialogue enabling you to offer your voice in the conversation.

What questions would you find interesting to be posed at the conference?

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Matthew 5:38-48, NASB

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone want to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only you brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."