Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Diana Butler Bass

I'm working on a long post about all the movies I've seen lately but in the meantime just a quick note to say that I'm attending the Anglican clergy conference at the Lethbridge Lodge these days and our speaker is Diana Butler Bass.

It has been very interesting. She started by telling us the story of how she became interested in why some mainline (read liberal) congregations were flourishing when the common story line was that conservative churches grow and liberal congregations fade. She draws a much more nuanced picture of the differences between churches adding a distinction between established and intentional churches and between modern and post-modern churches.

So then she talked about different individuals and where they would fit on these three axis (represented visually with tinker toys!). She suggested that Jerry Falwell would represent a Conservative Established Modernist and Jack Spong a Liberal Established Modernist. When she moved in to talking about post-modern intentional Christians she quoted someone who had been at one of her talks who suggested that as people move towards this that the conservative liberal labels mean less and less.

Gotta get to the hotel. Robbie is suffering from some congestive heart failure so I stayed home to walk him and get his lungs clear. But I don't want to be late for the session and I have to stop and get a latte!


Kevin said...

I really enjoyed the presentation. It was better than I was expecting. But I wonder if your read on mainline churches as being "liberal" feeds into her argument that some folks have trouble making the leap from modern to post-modern. The term "liberal" and its antithesis "conservative" are, themselves, modernist constructs.

While she dismisses the myth that "conservative" churches grow and "liberal" ones decline, the examples she gave defied such easy categorization.


Erin said...

I'm merely reflecting what she said in her first presentation and she set it up as an issue of mainline(liberal) churches in decline vs conservative growing congregations. In each of her presentations she kept adding to her model to introduce more issues until she suggested the original liberal/conservative dichotomy fades. At the same time in her jokes and stories she tended to continue to divide churches into liberal and conservative particularly as to where they stood on the same sex marriage issue.

aaronorear said...

Nothing to do with this post (which sounds quite interesting) but thanks for the kind words a bit back. I was out in the woods west of Hamilton all week, and am just now catching up on my blog. Indeed, the fun is about to begin...especially youth ministry, which scares the life out of me. I'm not sure I relate to teenagers. I didn't even relate to them when I was one!