As I mentioned in my previous post, I am on a study leave this week and a big part of that is preparing for the year that is to come. I am enjoying the time to think and plan. The Big Tent Synchroblog has been stimulating some of my thinking and has been a welcome distraction to punctuate my work chunks.

My initial response to the blogs is that there seems to be a couple of main issues surfacing in the conversation. What are these issues you ask? It’s the issue of human sexuality. Chad Holtz, and Rachel Held Evans are good examples.The other issue is that of what do we do with those who disagree with us. David Adams, Greg Bolt, Julie Clawson are good representatives of this side of the coin.

As I think about these two sides of the same coin I begin to wonder if we are missing the key issues that are potentially at stake in this conversation. While we talk about enlarging our tent, I think we are missing the key issue, as Scott Frederickson helpfully points out, taking our tables out of the tent.

I am growing more and more convinced that as we authentically engage in the lives of people we will change our understanding of the way we understand “who” can belong. People with real relationships with the homeless easily include them in the community. People with real relationships with homosexuals easily include them in the community. People with real relationships with heterosexually broken people easily include them in the community. The list could go on…

The issue that continues to rise to the forefront of my mind is this: Who we know determines who we love. The unknown creates fear. To broaden the “tent” we must broaden our relationships. As we broaden our relationships we will constantly have to return to the question of grace and what it means to embrace those who “live in a broken world with broken relationships and bad records”.

Check out the blogs and let me know what you think…

I hope that as the week continues we will see conversations move from our personal “hot button issues” to grand visions of a unified body of Jesus.