'A strange unmapped new land'
We agreed with Tom Wright at the end of the Future of the People of God conference, and have confirmed with him since, that we would initiate an online discussion around some of the ideas that he presented at the conference. We think these two paragraphs from the end of the first session (download) are an excellent place to start. In effect Tom makes a case here for an 'emerging theology' - though he doesn't use that phrase himself - that draws together three key themes: i) the interpretation of mission in terms of the new creation; ii) the link between historical Jesus scholarship and the mission of the church; and iii) the analogy between Jesus' mission to Israel and the church's mission to the world.
"It is a strange unmapped new land. The disciples don't know what new creation is going to look like. My brothers and sisters, we are like that now. It is one of the most exciting times I can envisage. I know the history of theology over the last 200 years moderately well and I can tell you, I really believe this is the most exciting time. God is doing new things. We're in huge crises - that's what you expect when God is doing new things. The world is bashing us this way, many in the church are bashing us that way - because if you're going to do the new thing, there's going to be some barrage, there's going to be some tough stuff to get through....
So we want to invite you to get this conversation underway. What do you think about these ideas? What are the challenges? How should they be developed?
Either add your comments to this post or start a separate thread in the Conversation with NT Wright forum. Please keep your contributions succinct and to the point, but please also be thoughtful, honest, imaginative, and not too deferential. We want this to be a genuinely productive dialogue, not a one-way question and answer session.
As I'm sure you are all aware, the Bishop of Durham is a busy man so don't expect too much from him. If all goes well, he will check in every month or so and interact as best he can with what has been posted - so it will be a slow conversation. But there's nothing to stop us talking amongst ourselves in the meantime!