Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brennan Manning on grace

I love this quote from Brennan Manning’s memoir, All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir.

My life is a witness to vulgar grace — a grace that amazes as it offends. A grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wage as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten till five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal reeking of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party, no ifs, ands, or buts. A grace that raises bloodshot eyes to a dying thief’s request — “Please, remember me” — and assures him, “You bet!”…This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It’s not cheap. It’s free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown-up sensibility. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try and find something or someone that it cannot cover. Grace is enough…

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Meeting of the North American Baptist Fellowship

I was privileged to attend a meeting of the North American Baptist Fellowship this past Thursday and Friday in Philadelphia.  We met at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, a large, predominantly African American congregation of 15,000 members.  The focus of the meeting was to seek to identify and define some major initiatives that could elicit collaboration from the various bodies that make up the NABF as we looked ahead to the next 50 years.  The occasion of the 50th anniversary of the organization provided this opportunity to focus on common concerns and to seek to hammer out in small group dialogues some areas that we all felt our entities could collaborate on together.  The three main areas selected were: (1) congregational renewal/transformation, (2) systemic reform aimed at economic oppression, and (3) authentic evangelism.

All of the staff of Churchnet were able to attend so I enjoyed the time with colleagues as well as making new friends from other member bodies of the NABF.  I was able to personally meet Tony Cartledge, professor at Campbell University as well as a writer for Baptists Today, whose blog I read regularly.  He has a nice article today about the gathering.