Had a visit from Eddie Rogers last week. Eddie and his wife Kathy were missionaries in Kenya when we were in Tanzania, and I hadn't seen him since before they left Kenya in 1997. It was so good to see him again . . . and to talk.
They have recently moved out of their denominational heritage and are discovering what else they've been missing. It's never all good, but there is more good in Christianity than is contained in any of it's denominational manifestations.
We remembered conversations long ago about such matters . . . while sitting in their home in Sotik, and later Kericho. They lived along the road we would take for the 13 hour drive from our home to Nairobi, Kenya for doctor's appointments and to stock up on supplies.
We were talking then about a journey which continues now in different circumstances - but it is the same seeking of God that we were about then. Today we are still being formed more by the Misseo Dei than pragmatics, economics, career opportunities, denominational structures, or such.
I was also blessed last week to hear Brian McLaren speak at Samford University on the subject of interfaith dialogue. His sense of needing to be generous and respectful, truth-seeking while not fearful, open, careful, and nuanced in dialogue, and to be true to convictions all resonate powerfully with me. It was a reminder of what I have sensed is so needed.
In one week, these two events reaffirmed to me the journey which I first understood in Africa, and the difficulties of pursuing it where civil religion and the lure of respectability and practicality demand other choices. This Easter we need a resurrection of simple faith, discipleship, obedience, and love in a Christian world too enamored with its economic weight, media inroads, political initiatives, and institutional efficiency.
I guess, like Paul, I want to say "I was not disobedient to the vision" (Acts 26:19). It is not an undestanding that I force on anyone, but concerning which I will speak to everyone who is willing to listen. Ironically, it is a vision which includes room for those who don't share it . . . which is the posture Brian was talking about.