I am honored to serve on the Board of Trustees of the International Council of Community Churches of which Imagine Church is a proud member. The ICCC is dedicated to uniting Christians in their rich diversity through the love of God and with the spirit of community. Its vision is to proclaim the love of God which unites and which can overcome any division.
I have come to appreciate and cherish the view of Christianity held by the ICCC and by Imagine Church as the via media or middle way between the extremes. We are finding scores of Christians who are drawn to Imagine Church because they believe the gospel calls us to be healers and bridge builders, not dividers. As many Christians are drawn to a centered or balanced faith, there is an increasing frustration with the role that Christianity has played in the culture wars. Too often faith has been used by Christian leaders or politicians to further a particular political party or personal agenda. The media often reports brief sound bytes from extreme fundamentalist or ultra-liberal church leaders. In truth, most Christians find themselves somewhere in between those two extremes. Is there not anyone who can articulate a middle way?
Imagine Church seeks to listen to both sides and look for ways to integrate the legitimate concerns of each and then forge a new way forward. Any issue about which thinking Christians disagree likely has important truth on each side of the debate. Imagine Church strives to hold together the evangelical and social gospels by combining a love for Scripture with a willingness to see both its humanity as well as its divinity and by coupling a passionate desire to follow Jesus Christ with a reclamation of his heart toward those whom religious people have often rejected. This, friends, is Imagine Church. It is why I have come to love it as no other congregation and why I have dedicated the rest of my life to it.
I believe this willingness to listen to those with whom we disagree, and to take seriously their legitimate concerns, is critical for people of Christian faith, but it's true for nationalities as well. If we can continue to do that, there is hope for the lost and broken world our Savior came to redeem. And if we can apply that same willingness on a different plane, it could also mean there may be hope for the broader national and international conflicts that threaten our world today.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas