Reason #1 Embracing our Collaborative Future:
With a rapidly changing cultural and ministry landscape, there are hundreds of questions for us to explore. What should be the future of the church? What does faithful presence mean for us today? What are the great challenges and opportunities we uniquely face in this time and in this place?
As we lean into what God is doing amongst us all, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that we are moving into a collaborative future. Gone are the days when the majority of denominations, seminaries, and parachurch ministries try to go it alone. We know we are better together, that we truly need one another. I can’t wait to plot and plan with hundreds of other leaders in Cascadia collectively dreaming so big that not working together isn’t an option.
Reason # 2 Unprecedented Allies:
When I first heard about the Christ and Cascadia Conference over coffee with Matthew Kaemingk (director of Fuller’s Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture) I loved the vision. But, when I heard how many universities, colleges, and seminaries had already agreed to participate I was floored.
To my knowledge, this breadth and depth of partnerships across seminaries has never happened at this level in this region.
It’s pretty rare to see nearly every academic institution bringing their unique voices, and influence for the same purposes. To my knowledge, this breadth and depth of partnerships across seminaries has never happened at this level in this region. I can’t wait to see what new ideas, initiatives, and partnerships result from these academic and theological guides. Each helping the church to think deeply about the place we call home.
Reason #3 Exploring Universal Questions in our Particular Context:
Of course we need to grapple with national and global issues. But, it’s awfully simple in our polarized media environments for issue-based conversations to spin one ideological camp over and against the other. Liberal against conservative, the young upstarts vs. the older establishment, you know how it goes.
These differences don’t necessarily go away when we focus on a particular place, but I’ve noticed that something transformative happens when God’s reconciling dream is what brings us together. We find ourselves grappling not just with ideas, but also with real people, real relationships, and real systems, which dare us to action. I can’t wait to be in an environment where we will all literally, be on common ground.
Reason # 4 Our Knowing is Rooted in our Loving (and vice versa):
I love the tagline: to know this place is to love this place. I’ve been quite influenced by a terrific scholar named Esther Meek who might flip that phrase and say, “to love this place is to know this place.”
This will be a gathering of leaders from all over the region that truly do love the Pacific Northwest, and because of this love want to know it better. Why? Well at least for myself, it’s so that my love for this place will grow. Loving and knowing should probably never be separated. It’s going to be great spending two days immersed in rich conversations with hundreds of leaders who want to know and love this region with a deepening depth, passion, and rigor.
Perhaps in no other area of North America do the United States and Canada have so much in common regarding cultural issues in the church than here in Cascadia.
Reason #5 Same Region Different Countries
I love learning with and from the church in Canada. Perhaps in no other area of North America do the United States and Canada have so much in common regarding cultural issues in the church than here in Cascadia. Being able to compare and contrast our two countries will surely illuminate fresh ideas that stem from our different histories, governments, and cultural landscape.