Last week I had the opportunity to speak at a local event called Eighth Letter. I’ve been asked to describe the theological perspective of the event and I haven’t been able to do better than “emerging church.” I know this title brings all kinds of baggage with it and that not too many people want to be associated with it anymore. Nevertheless, it’s probably the simplest theological shorthand I can use. Which is to say that I was definitely not representative of the speakers who were there (a list that included Shane Claiborne, Leonard Sweet, Peter Rollins, and many others).
The format of the event was rather interesting. Each of the speakers was to bring a letter, no longer than 15-minutes in length, and read it aloud. The letter was to communicate our most urgent message to the church of North America. It was that simple. I spoke on the Friday night and immediately after my talk participated in a very brief panel discussion hosted by Andy Crouch (an editor at Christianity Today and the author of Culture Making).
My letter focused in on getting the gospel right. And if you are interested, I’ve been given permission to post the message here, though only for a limited time. So give it a listen and let me know what you think. What would your most urgent message be?
The reaction to my message was a little bit on the cold side. I was probably something of a stranger to the audience at this conference and brought a letter that was quite a bit different from the rest. So while I was not booed off the platform and did not have anything thrown at me, my impression was that the message was not particularly popular.
If interested, you can buy my talk or any of the others at the Epiphaneia web site. You can also download (for free) the brief panel discussion.