Like all good anthropologists, I started my research for Lessons in Belonging with a list of questions, not answers. Why is it so hard to belong to a local church? How do we know when we’ve found the one, and if there is no “one,” how do we make do with one that’s good enough? Can we really share flesh in Christ and not get eaten alive by one another? And when does a church go from being an imperfect one to a toxic one? Will we ever be able to make peace with a church that’s not a place of peace for all?
On Tuesday, February 3rd at noon PST, I’ll be raising these questions and taking yours as part of a live, hour-long panel discussion on “Making Peace with Church: Finding Grace and Authenticity in an Age of Skepticism.” Hosted by Regent College, the panel includes author Scot McKnight, pastor Darrell Johnson, and scholar Hans Boersma, along with myself and moderator Katelyn Beaty. Sign-up to get a reminder about the event and then join us to catch wind of the longing for Christ-centered community in this cultural moment. We need all kinds of kinds in listening for the echoes.
After two years of cobbling answers, I’ve come to see that the question I care most about when talking about belonging is not whether you belong to a local church but if you even want to. Do you want to make peace with church? And if the answer is yes, what in God’s name are we willing to risk to make peace together?
For more on how making peace is a countercultural move in a community rife with culture clash, join me over at Patheos for the latest post in the “Trust Me” series: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2015/01/trust-me-church-when-passing-the-peace-turns-stressful-for-me/