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Mar 01, 2006



"After serving for 20 years in large, mainstream evangelical churches, my view from the inside reveals that homogeneity even in doctrine and essential beliefs is a myth. The diversity in even "essentials" is astounding. I can't tell you how many times I've heard statements like this whispered in my office: "I know I'm supposed to believe in hell — but I don't and I can't."

I happen to be a part of a church where we are very open about our differences. It is amazing what happens when we make an effort to not force our beliefs on people. My church has had vigils for every execution in California for the past nine years. As you may know, we've had four in recent months. There are many who think that it is wrong to kill to demonstrate that killing is wrong. Needless to say, it has allowed me to think about the idea of capital punishment when I would not have in the past.

We have speakers, folks who have lost family memebers to violence etc. I am amazed at how many of these folks are against the death penalty.

Recently we had the family of the person who was going to be executed attend the vigil along with a pastor who son was murdered who was against the death penalty.
We all gathered at the front of the church, laid hands on the family and prayed for the victims, the family, and the one who was to be executed.

It was a profound expereince.

Greg Arthur

Adherence to doctrine seems to be the greatest threat against the future of denominations. This is never more apparent than in the ordination process. I was astounding going through the ordination process that my gifts, experience, and calling were quite secondary to my adherenceto a particular peculiar doctrine of my denomination. I have friends going through the process in other denominations who continue to utter the same thoughts. We all keep having the same conversation, "How can I get by saying that I believe in something I really don't." That is what doctrines have lead us to. Without the ability to dialogue openly on our doctrines and issues of social justice that aren't doctrinal, but are regularly treated as such, I fear many denominations will continue their slide into irrelevance and death.


did you provid food for the other side? if not your dialogue died.

Kevin Sinclair

Hey Tim, we met at Wake last night. Thank you so much for coming. You insight into the evolution of the Church was helpful, engaging, and certainly encouraging. I hope you come back at some point, and if I am in Raleigh I would love to drop by the Emmaus Way. God be with you and your friends.

Grace and Peace,
Kevin Sinclair

Bill Colburn

Tim, I appreciate your perspective on the necessity for openness. The church will always be healthiest when it's members are themselves thinkers and not merely mimics of the thinking of others - however wonderful their thoughts. Encouraging people to think and even teaching them to think are important and best accomplished by example. The church should lead the way. Each and every person needs to feel safe enough to challenge standard ideas and to build a belief system. Real church is a messy process. People are always at different points in their growth and there are so many different views on the same topic that are not necessarily erroneous. The strength of the church is not found in our ability to achieve uniformity, but in our ability to be genuinely graceful with a unity in diversity.

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