Patheos is running a “Future of Religion” series this summer that includes essays by people of a wide range of diverse faith traditions. I’m honored to have been asked to write an article for the “Future of Mainline Protestantism” section of this series. Here is the full list of contributors writing about the future of the mainline church: Sam Alexander, Jim Burklo, Rev. Jerry. D. Campbell, Philip Clayton, Adam Walker Cleaveland, Monica A. Coleman, James Calvin Davis, Kenda Creasy Dean, Bruce G. Epperly, Greg Garrett, Anne Howard, James J. Kang, J. Ryan Parker, Brian McLaren, David LaMotte, Anthony B. Pinn, Robert John Russell, Josef Sorett, and Peter Wallace.
Because of my involvement with Presbymergent, and my belief that Presbymergent has the ability to help the PC(USA) forge a new way forward, I highlighted Presbymergent in my essay, “Presbymergent: A Reforming Spirit from the Inside.”
Below is a paragraph from my article that gets to the heart of the issue for me:
For mainline churches and denominations to be able to withstand the ever-growing cynicism and questions of irrelevance, we need to be open to reform and new ideas. But that can no longer be restricted to simply reform of our theologies. I’m not suggesting we get rid of all traditions and rituals simply for the sake of relevance. However, we need to have the courage to place everything on the tables of critique and reform. Our ordination processes are just as in need of reform as our theologies of the atonement. When we take the step forward and embrace an inclusive reforming spirit in our churches, we present ourselves fully and completely open to the movements of the Spirit in our contexts.
Read the rest of the article here. I highly recommend all of these essays to you as there are some really great thoughts about what is required of the mainline church to have a valid and unique stake in the future of Christianity.