This is a photo of Mark Shivers and me. We met at the 2004 Emergent Convention in Nashville. As you can see in this photo, we thought we were pretty hot shit. I can’t remember exactly how we met, but I think it was after a general session on the way to Subway for some lunch. We hit it off, enjoyed conversations about seminary, Emergent, theology and more.
This is a photo of Jen Lemen and me. Jen and I met through the blog world, and connected at Emergent events in the first couple years I was involved in the conversation. She was a constant source of encouragement for me, a beautiful and much needed voice in the early years of Emergent.
I tried to find an early photo of Jake Myers and I, but he was another good friend who I met around the same time as Mark and Jen, although it may have been first at Princeton Seminary, but we did a few Emergent events together as well.
This is a photo of Mark, Jen and Jake at our wedding in 2006.
This is what I’m talking about. This is just one example of the type of friendships that have been formed and forged for me through my journey into Emergent. Jake and Mark both belong to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Jen Lemen has always been a very free spirit and a source of spiritual encouragement to me. These are the three people who helped officiate the wedding for two Presbyterians.
And this is just but one example that barely scratches the surface of how many friendships and connections I’ve made through Emergent.
For many of us, while we do hope to come away with some new ideas and thoughts from conferences and events like Emergence Christianity, if we’re honest, we go for the relational connections. We go for the fellowship, the chance to be encouraged and supported by our friends, to be challenged and pushed outside of our comfort zones and so much more.
And that is one of the biggest strengths of Emergent: the opportunity to bring a diverse group of people together and provide space for these types of encounters. I have connected with some great Baptist, Vineyard, non-denom folks and friends from all sorts of other denominations. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences, but find common ground in a willingness and desire to see the church continually reform and evolve as we move into the future.