I attended Elephant Room yesterday.
The purpose of the Elephant Room is to model loving confrontation and gracious disagreement that honors relationship and allows diversity of opinion but stands without compromise on the revealed word of God. As Proverbs 27:17 instructs us that iron sharpens iron, so we want to sharpen each other for effective ministry. You’ll be stretched and challenged in your convictions while gaining practical insights from a variety of pastoral perspectives.
Great idea. Here are some reflections.
- We need more of this type of discussion. Getting people together from different camps, and honestly and respectfully discussing our differences, is exactly what’s needed. It’s far too easy to get stuck in our own camps and to stop hearing from those from other camps.
- Discussions like these need to take place between ordinary pastors (and others). I’m glad that pastors of huge churches can get together and discuss issues, but I would love to see the same thing happen with pastors and scholars who aren’t as famous. It’s why things like Theology Pub are important.
- We need to listen. I really enjoyed the banter at the start of the day. By midday I longed for more listening and less talking. This was especially pronounced in one session. Testosterone can get in the way of really listening, but it doesn’t have to. Having a moderator who is not also a participant may help.
I walked away from the day thinking more deeply about a couple of important issues. I grew in my respect for people who belong to very different camps within evangelicalism. If Elephant Room leads us to listen and learn from other evangelicals who differ from us, it will have been worth it.
Trevin Wax has some links to notes and a summary of his favorite tweets from the day. Chris from Canada was taking notes most of the day. You can also check out the tweets marked with the #ElephantRoom hashtag.