We used to play tag out on the front lawn & steps of North Boulevard Church of Christ when I was a girl. It was the best part of church. This grown-up tag is a little less fun and not so cardiovascular, but it's good exercise anyway. Thanks, Chad.
Three reasons you stay in Churches of Christ:
1. It's "home." Beyond social networks, the comfortable feeling of being known, the family roots that stretch back, the missionary grandparents and the preacher dad, it's the church which nurtured me from Cradle Roll up. I owe a debt of gratitude to the women and men who taught me in the faith, and who have played their own parts in landing me where I am now. (Which I think is a good place...)
2. I like to think I have something to contribute.
3. There's nowhere else, yet, that I would rather be, when it comes right down to it.
You may notice these are all personal reasons, rather than doctrinal or theological. That's how it is.
Three reasons you would leave Churches of Christ:
1. If I should become so unwelcome that every word I speak/write is counterproductive, I would consider it a sign that my usefulness is all used up. Since I can't imagine (now) being a part of a church without expressing and discussing my theological convictions, it would be inevitable that I would end up elsewhere.
2. If I found myself in a situation where my husband or child was not accepted as fully belonging to God's people, I would go.
3. If it became--in some way I can't quite imagine--clear that there was necessary and astonishingly good work to be done elsewhere that I was uniquely fitted to do, I would go do it.
Three professors and/or courses who have influenced your thinking:
1. At Harding: Tom Eddins, John Fortner, and Pat Garner. I hope this humble mention doesn't get them all fired.
2. At ACU: Fred Aquino, Jeff Childers...really, who am I going to leave out here? Every single prof I ever took a class with, and even those I didn't.
3. AT PTS: my advisor, Wentzel van Huyssteen; Mark Taylor; Ellen Charry.
Three academic books which have shaped your thinking:
I find it difficult to define my own "personal canon," so to speak. So I'm going to just toss out some titles. Limiting this to three at this point in my academic endeavors makes this completely impossible, or nearly completely arbitrary. So I'm going with the latter.
1. Daniel Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology. This was my first taste of systematic theology; I found it addictive...
2. John Zizioulas, Being as Communion
3. Gustavo Gutierrez, A Theology of Liberation
Three CofC/Stone-Campbell books which have shaped your thinking:
1. Richard Hughes, Reviving the Ancient Faith and Myths America Lives By
2. Leonard Allen, Distant Voices
3. Jeff Childers, Doug Foster & Jack Reese, Crux of the Matter
Three hopes you have for the future of Churches of Christ:
1. That our daughters will be able to take for granted the freedom to serve Christ in any way they experience a call to.
2. That we will find a way to search scripture for guidance, wisdom, and truth without the assumption that getting it right means all others have gotten it wrong, and that this somehow is a "salvation issue." In fact, I hope the phrase "salvation issue" becomes so archaic among us that my kids won't even understand what it means.
3. That we will resist the temptation to withdraw into ourselves as a denomination, ignoring both the wider Christian church and the world we are called to serve.
Three fears you have for Churches of Christ:
That we continue to think in binary terms:
1. Regarding faith and politics: that our only options are nationalism or complete withdrawal.
2. Regarding worship: that our only options are "traditional" and "contemporary." (Liturgy, people! Liturgy!)
3. Regarding doctrine generally. How did we ever convince ourselves in the first place that anything Jesus said or Paul wrote is that simple? Read the parables!
Three challenges we will face in Churches of Christ in our generation:
Learning to read the Bible with an integrity that takes into account the testimony of human experience :
1. on the issues of gender & sexuality,
2. on the relationship of theology & science,
3. and in interfaith dialogue.
Three bloggers you tag:
explanation: Maybe I broke the rules and tagged some innocent bystanders. But 1) it's high time Brent updated his blog, so take a hint, babe!!! and 2) I think the perspective of those who have "left" about why they stayed as long as they did, why they left, what our challenges are, etc., is just as valuable as that of those who stay. (For instance, these posts on Scribere Orare Est, or these on Hermit's Rock ). Part of our problem, as Chad's tag post points out, is that we do not engage in conversation with anyone but ourselves. So let those who are of us, but no longer a part of us (to parody John, heh heh) speak to us about something which they may, perhaps, have wrestled with much more deeply and intimately than we have yet ourselves. There is wisdom to be shared here. And then there are those who are still frankly searching for a place to be, who may identify as being "from" Churches of Christ in the sense of possessing that heritage, but not fully identifying with it. Also, there's a sort of liminal space which can be created and inhabited in which, perhaps, one may self-identify as CofC but would not necessarily be validated in that identification by some churches, perhaps even "mainstream" churches, in the CofC. I originally went to the mission field in search of something like that sort of interstitial existence, hoping to find the space to do ministry. (I didn't find it, but that may not always be the case for people.) And there's the liminal space of the community church, in which people may self-identify as being from one tradition or another and yet find their spiritual community in a church which does not. I think these perspectives are valuable, perhaps especially valuable, as they represent a desire to stay such that a third option between leaving and staying is carved out by sheer determination not to give up too fast. Perhaps one might also think of academia as such a liminal space for some...