Tripp Fuller and Zach Roberts, two leaders for the campus ministries at University of North Carolina-Greensboro, invited Tony Jones and me to the campus this weekend for a “conversation” on Keeping Jesus Revolutionary. Here are some random thoughts and happenings:
First, Kris and I really enjoyed both Tripp (and Alecia) and Zach (and Jenn), and are always impressed with the quality of work — struggle that it always is — done on college campuses. (Some of you know that I think the origins of some of the impulse in the emerging movement is in the parachurch ministries on college campuses.) Both of these guys love theology and theological discussion. So, Tony and I were at home — I forgot to say that it was great to see Tony again. Aidan, Tony’s son, was very ill at home so there were lots of prayers for Tony’s home. (By the way, Pagitt will be at NPU Tuesday and Wednesday: Tuesday afternoon with me, then dinner, then an up/rooted north event, and then Wednesday he speaks at NPU’s chapel.)
Second, Keeping Jesus Revolutionary was a conversation and not just talks and lectures by Tony and me. Both of us made presentations Friday night and then we had a lively conversation about a variety of things — including whether or not it is useful to distinguish emerging from emergent. I say, “Yes.” Tony, the Mayor of all things Emergent, says “No.” Saturday morning and afternoon both Tony and I led separate discussion groups: I offered some thoughts on the gospel and Tony on prayer.
Saturday ended with a 1.5 hour interview I had with Tony about all kinds of topics, and I’m willing to bet a cigar that lots of folks will be interested in the mp3 when it is available. Tony had some interesting things to say: like “We are all relativists.” And we were asked what the differences were between us — and we carried on for awhile. He told us about his conversion experience, about what he’d do if he were the President, and about the two big issues facing the Church today (one of his comments: “the gospel is antithetical to bureaucracy”).
Earlier in the day Tony interviewed me for a podcast on my book A Community called Atonement (due out this Fall from Abingdon).
Third, highlight for Kris and me: Lukas happened to be scouting some hard-throwing pitchers in the area and so we saw him for Saturday breakfast (with Tony, Anthony, and Tyler) and then, because our plane was cancelled Saturday night, we saw Luke later that night. He happened to be staying in the hotel closest to the airport where our plane was cancelled and invited us to stay with him.
Fourth, theological conversation was interesting … Tony on the “Hauerwas Mafia”‘; I was game to hear what he had to say since I’m partial to Hauerwas. I’ll have a response to him later. Tripp and Zach and Tony on Volf and Moltmann and Tripp on Rauschenbusch. And it was great to see Anthony Smith, who blogs at Postmodernegro. We had a good conversation about John Caputo.
Fifth, Zach is devoting his attention to the Greensboro Abbey this Fall. Look for some interesting conferences and conversations at that place over the next few years.