In her talk this morning, Diana Butler-Bass used her tinker toy model to describe the continuums of liberal-conservative, conventional-purposeful change, and modern-postmodern. Among other things she explained how people traditionally polarized on the liberal-conservative axis are finding a lot of common ground when they talk about how to respond to a changing world and how to be more purposeful, etc. with their faith and worship. We share questions about how to reach a changing world.
I’m really encouraged by this new shared space for relationship and friendship between mainline and evangelical protestants. An evangelical friend shared with me a conversation she had with a mainline friend on this subject matter. The mainline friend said, “You’ve got the fire, we’ve got the fireplace.” That might not be entirely fair, but it made me smile. I think many of us on all points of the liberal-conservative spectrum are tired of fighting all the old fights and ready to find some common ground.
Here’s the rub though. Many of the conservative folks I know are still very suspicious of all things that can be labeled liberal. And when some of us walk into this shared space and engage in relationships as Diana described this morning, we become suspect as well. I hope we will see more and more engagement and that we will learn from each other along the way.