Saturday, August 14, 2010
Big Tent Christianity - Part of Transforming Theology Synchroblog
I'm taking part in a massive blogging effort as part of the Transforming Theology project, where numerous bloggers post about the same subject. The stated purpose of this project was to take a look at the concept of "Big Tent Christianity." We were asked to answer the question "What does Big Tent Christianity mean to you?"
For my readers (all 2 of you) out there that didn't go to seminary or don't care much about the Church, you might want to skip this post. But in case you don't (and because I don't think I'm smart or well-versed enough to do otherwise), I'll try to write this post as simply as possible without using the handful of $5 theological terms I know.
In my mind the concept of Big Tent Christianity is simply this- Kingdom over kingdom. For far too long (or rather too often) too many churches (and even the Church?) have been focused on their own little kingdoms with a lowercase "k." Concerned with increasing membership and tithes, we've focused on getting people in the doors. Butts in pews. In many cases, we became very adept at this process. We streamlined ushering people into our churches, but then failed to help usher the Kingdom into their lives and our own lives.
We missed the bigger picture. The Kingdom with a capital "K," that being the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven referred to so often in scripture. A Kingdom marked by peace, compassion, love. A Kingdom drenched in resurrection. A Kingdom that isn't marred by petty squabbles over who sits in what pew or what church gets the most people to darken their doors, but rather a Kingdom that doesn't rest when it sees injustice or pain. A Kingdom that reaches out to the poor, the outcast, the marginalized. A Kingdom that isn't about deciding who is on the outside, but rather one that opens its doors and invests itself into into the lives of all it touches.
The Kingdom of God. Right here. Among us. Within us. For some reason I fail to grasp, God lets us take part in creating this Kingdom. We are active participants in God's continuing creation.We all get to take part in this Kingdom. We sit at court with an entirely different type of King than anything the world has ever seen.
The Church needs to move beyond its short-sighted view of kingdom and see the bigger picture. To see the Kingdom in all its wondrously weird beauty. To see it right here, among us.
PS: I'll try to write more tomorrow going a little more in-depth and answering (or rather sharing my thoughts on) some of the other questions they asked us to examine, like what our hopes and dreams are for the Church and what it looks like in our context. I wanted to get this in ASAP because, well, it was due by 8/13. I'm late to the party, but I'm here now.