I just got back from a conference in Boston MA sponsored by Andover Newton Theological School, Boston Theological Institute and Hebrew College. I was there representing Fuller Theological Seminary. I was one of a few evangelicals at the conference made up of some very amazing and inspiring people. The conference was called– Educating Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Leaders for Service in a Multi-Religious World:The American Seminary Context.
Jews, Muslims and Christians teachers, administrators, organizational leaders, authors, students gathered to talk about people people of faith, of many different faiths, and specifically how might the educational project be advanced.
I am going to spend a few entries blogging about this. This time around, let me just say, the conference was mind opening. I ate well (Kosher). I ate and talked with wonderful people. I learned more about Judaism, and especially more about Islam. I was proud of Fuller and what we do with inter-faith work. But wonder what more we need to do.
Fuller works hard at dialogue: Rabbis and Pastors, Evangelicals and Mormons, Evangelicals and Muslims, InterSem, Emerging Churches and Emerging Synagogues. Glen Stassen, Rich Mouw, Jim Butler lead the way, but I realized this week that this can only be seen as the beginning.
I was exposed to thinkers and authors that have not been on my radar. Some of my previous thinking got shattered. I left the conference still an Evangelical(!): an Evangelical with some new thoughts and some new dis-ease, but also with renewed Evangelical convictions.
The issues dealt with at this conference are not easy: the Christian understanding of the uniqueness of Jesus, issues of the suffering of the Jewish people, misunderstandings of Islam, issues of politics and land (Israel/Palestine). Big issues. I get dismayed at the same time hearing evangelicals fight and separate over creation/evolution, atonement theories, my friend Brian McLaren.
So, more posts to come