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NYWC VIII

YS isn’t quite over, but it is beginning to wind down and by this time tomorrow we’ll be in the van on our way home, so I figured I’d start some of my summary reflections now.

In the past year I’ve attended a few events that are what I call post-denominational in nature (Generous Orthodoxy ’05, NYWC ‘05, A Conversation about the Emerging Church, The Heart of the Missional Church, and NYWC ’06).  As Tic Long said at the start of last year’s NYWC “It’s not that our denominations don’t matter but they’re not important”, and that’s true.  And I remember last year just being awe struck by the civility, mutuality, and good nature of the people at those events.  There was a marked difference from the PC(USA) General Assemblies I’ve attended.  From Anabaptists and Mennonites to Roman Catholics, everyone seemed to get along with one another.  In my idealism I was like, “Yes – this is the future of the church – a post-denominational era”.

Well, I still firmly believe we’re headed in a post-denominational era, but I realized something very important this weekend.  Events like the NYWC or Generous Orthodoxy can function like they do because nothing has to be decided.  If you took votes and held debates on a whole host of issues here at the NYWC you’d have a ton of diversity in the responses and it would turn very ugly very fast.  Whether it be issues surrounding the role of women in the church, LGBT people in leadership, governing structure, preparation for ministry, etc. there is a tremendous diversity here and if Youth Specialties ever became a denominational-like organization (which they won’t – thank goodness) we would soon have 20 or 30 Youth Specialties like organizations divided along the same lines as our current denominational differences.  Now, don’t ask me why it took my till now to realize this and have my idealism shattered, but it did.

Okay, I’m off to Mark O’s presentation on teaching techniques for middle school!

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Categories: NYWC
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