I've been attending (through today) a most interesting conference at Rochester College. The conference is entitled: Streaming: Biblical Conversations from the Missional Frontier. Our primary presenters have been Scot McKnight and Miroslav Volf, with topics focused on the book of James and Miroslav's book on Allah. It's been great fun -- meeting new people and connecting with folks I've known before.
Rochester College is Church of Christ, the a Capella portion of the Stone-Campbell Movement. By definition, the CofC people are my ecclesial cousins. We might not agree on everything, but we're related. We share a heritage and certain practices in common -- weekly communion and baptism by immersion. But we have our differences, and not just in music. We both value the Bible, but we tend to read it differently. Still, we're related.
I have experienced another set of relationships -- more existential perhaps, but still there. I have strong evangelical roots. I'm a graduate of Fuller after all. I may be more liberal today than I once was, but when I'm at a conference with evangelicals, I feel a connection, even if I'm not in total theological agreement. To give an example from the conference. I had the opportunity to be in conversation with Scot McKnight, our presenter on James. Scot and I have very different theologies, and yet despite the differences, there's this familial connection. Indeed, my pushing him at points in the presentations is connected to my sense of connectedness and need to wrestle with these connections.
But even closer to home is the personal -- familial relationships that we have within our traditions. At dinner last night I was having a conversation with a number of people, including today's preacher -- Katie Hays, a Disciples pastor. Although we'd never known each other prior to this conference, we had immediately connected. Why? We share a common heritage. We're not just cousins, but we're ecclesial siblings.
So the question is -- what creates these relationships? The Disciples have extra-congregational structures and have created theological explanations for how these structures are connected to congregations, but how do these structures create relationships? I'm friends with Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. But these relationships seem different? So why is it?
So, here's the summary question -- what makes you you as a person of faith and how does that connect to your faith community connections?