A leader from church came back from the regional UCC gathering and asked me if I knew a theologian named John Cobb because if not I should. Luckily I know John quite well (and could possibly run his fan club), but what she said next was pretty exciting for me as a minister, ‘Tripp he said we got to get busy. We need to work with God to save the world.’ It would be hard for a minister to not be excited when a lay person says they want to get busy doing God’s mission and they want to talk about a favorite theologian of yours.
Any way, the address that so inspired my friend is now posted here online. This is not your stereotypical UCC speech, this is progressive missional theology. I suggest you read it, but let me tempt you with a few things.
Cobb makes a series of opening assumptions: 1. the world needs saving, 2. God cares about the salvation of the world, 3.God is already working in and through creatures, and especially human beings, toward the salvation of the world, 4. there is some very important work to be done that is not now being done, 5. the United Church of Christ is uniquely positioned to give national and even global leadership in accomplishing this important work.
On the church outsourcing its mission: ‘We Protestants have grown accustomed to looking elsewhere for leadership in thought about global matters. We assume that these are dealt with by governments, for example. But clearly no one government would have credibility in the effort to guide the efforts of people everywhere who are concerned for the fate of the Earth. Even the best governments are primarily committed to the well being of their own people, even if this is costly to others.’
There is much more in the article and while he makes the case that the UCC is uniquely situatied to address some of the issues we face, I think that there is a growing group of people (the new progressives, or the ‘nones’) who are waiting for a faith community to really be invested in something awesome, maybe even joining in God and working for the salvation of the world.