Big Tent Christianity: Being and Becoming the Church

On September 8-9, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina, a first-of-its-kind national conference of church leaders in the United States of America will take place, Big Tent Christianity: Being and Becoming the Church.

What's interesting about this conference is that apart from it being the first of it's kind, it is a national event organized by Conservative Christianity's favorite whipping boy the so-called, Emergent Church Movement --however what makes this really great is that it seeks to put together some of my favorite contemporary speakers, pastors and theologians but also tries to bring Pat Robertson and Bishop John Shelby Spong to the event and to my mind perhaps the emerging moving toward a new ecumenical movement, I just hope that they'll be able to get the two of them there and maybe even get them on the same page about this easier said than done question of what it means to become a Christian Church in today’s complex society.

Below are short profiles of some of the speakers in the conference whose works I admire.

Brian McLaren
Brian D. McLaren, a prominent, controversial evangelical pastor. He was recognized as one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America" in 2005, and is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Maryland.

Shane Claiborne

Shane Claiborne a prominent activist for nonviolence and service to the poor. He is also one of the founding members of a New Monastic community named the Potter Street Community (formerly The Simple Way) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jay Bakker
Jay Bakker, the son of Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker Messner. He ministers to Revolution Church, a church he founded in 1994 in Phoenix, Arizona. Much of Jay's story was retold in a documentary on Sundance Channel called One Punk Under God: The Prodigal Son of Jim and Tammy Faye.

Greg Boyd

Gregory A. "Greg" Boyd is an evangelical pastor, Christian theologian and author. He is Senior Pastor of the Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota and is President of Christus Victor Ministries. Boyd lost much of his congregation, due to a 2004 sermon series that he spoke called "The Cross and the Sword," in which he argues that a commitment to non-violence and to loving one's enemies lies at the heart of the teachings of Jesus. Boyd was also featured in the CNN documentary God's Warriors, hosted by Christiane Amanpour, which aired in August 2007.

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