My day at the Evolving Church Conference

I spent the day at the Evolving Church Conference at Tyndale yesterday. Then, last night, we hosted Brian McLaren for an interactive session at Richview.

Some things I liked about yesterday:

  • A 72-year-old man got up to explain why he was there. “Can I be frank?” he asked. He and his peers have a number of children, and all of them “love the Lord,” he said. But none of them want anything to do with the church as it is. He spoke of his concern that Sunday mornings were consuming so much energy in the church that it’s been distracted from its mission. He didn’t seem to have a chip on his shoulder, but as part of the church he was concerned and not prepared to just blame the kids.  He turned out to be the best speaker of the day, even though he was part of the audience.
  • There wasn’t a lot of anger and angst yesterday. If anything, speakers went out of their way to affirm what traditional churches are doing well, while expressing humility about what the emerging church is not doing well.
  • All the speakers were great. It’s the first time I’ve heard Chris Seay and I wasn’t disappointed.
  • I loved the challenge from multiple speakers to reject the free market Gospel that’s about making our lives better, and to embrace and live the Gospel on its own terms instead.
  • McLaren was articulate and gracious in his interaction at Richview. He always seems to try to understand the question behind the question.
  • I loved that Nathan, one of the conference organizers, stayed behind to stack chairs after the event at Richview, even though I’m sure he was bushed. Classy.

What I didn’t like:

  • We had four white Americans addressing us a predominantly younger, mostly white audience yesterday. We’re not there yet.
  • After the event at McLaren, I talked to a man who began to attack McLaren. As he talked, he painted a caricature. I think it’s smart to critically engage McLaren’s views, but I was saddened by an attack that was more personal and, I think, inaccurate.

Other posts on McLaren at Richview:

  • Bill Kinnon – “He had every reason to be tired this evening – but there was no sense of that. He was warm, engaging and gracious.
  • Paul Martin –  “He is a very articulate speaker… this meeting did nothing but confirm what I have written in my own mind.” (Paul is presenting a paper on the Emerging Church Monday.)
  • Challies weighs in – “We were subjected to long, rambling discourses that seemed to do anything but address the actual question…Throughout the evening, boldness was absent…Brian McLaren loves Jesus, but he hates God.” Update: Tim has changed that last sentence to, “Brian McLaren loves Jesus, but does he love God in the same way?”
  • Ian Clary – “All in all I came away from the evening saddened by what McLaren had to say – or not say as it turned out.”
  • Christel – “I don’t think he made a single ringing affirmative about what he believes to be true throughout the evening.”
  • Clint – “McLaren offered much of what any good sage would possess: pithy anecdotes, measured critiques, questions for questions, and concrete applications. Surprisingly however, McLaren seemed nickel-poor when it came to supplying answers that had lasting currency.”
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada