Bert Waggoner national director of Vineyard Churches USA, made an introduction last night to the first event of the Society of Vineyard Scholars.
He located so well, the hopes for theological reflection at the event within the praxis of movements values, kingdom and mission. But what my attention the most was his conclusion, calling our attention to 4 things that this group was not going to be about. I reproduce them here, not verbatim but rather as I heard/understood them.
1. Smart: We are not the smartest people in vineyard showing each other how smart we are. 2. Critical: This is not a venue to show the vineyard it’s weaknesses, and to give the leaders a list of things that we think it needs to change. 3. Position: The papers and discussions are not necessary the position of vineyard churches. The work here is not an official expression, unless later approved by the movements leaders. It’s a creative space and time, for honest an exchange of ideas about the vineyard movement and theology. 4. Elitism: This is not a place to develop an elite smug intellectualism. We are a group of Christians wanting to be submitted to Christ and be real, with each other. Let’s keep it real, to have earthly engagements on subjects of interest to us and hopefully to God.
That warms my heart, gives me hope for our exchanges, which begin with a day of papers and panels today. It's been great after so many years of being in theological conversations to sit in one with Vineyard people.