This is the letter that went out earlier this year to some United Church leaders.
What do you think of the term conservationist? Does it work?
Is this kind of identification a good fit in the United Church?
Do you think the idea of asking people to self identify in this way is helpful? Or divisive?
Are you a conservationist? And not just when it comes to nature, but with your Christian faith? Does your spirit resonate with Jude’s, when he wrote: “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints”?
It is possible, preferable even, to contend for the faith without being contentious. To conserve, to celebrate the good news of the gospel is a great joy. That’s why I like this idea of being a conservationist, because I think it is a term that captures the essence of holding firm to the faith. The word ‘conservative’ isn’t nearly as useful, shaded as it is with politics and with an orientation to what is old just for its own sake or a blanket resistance to new ways of thinking. The word ‘evangelical’ is similarly a challenge: often, in the mainline church, evangelical is word that has been degraded to the point where it is (arguably) unusable in many settings.
So, if you are a conservationist – and somebody thought you might be, which is why you are getting this letter – would you like to write about it?
The future of the United Church: what is it? What should it be? How will we get there?
Every Christian is called to be a Timothy and “guard the good deposit that was entrusted to your care” (II Timothy 1:14). Guarding the gospel is the task of the conservationist and an opportunity is coming your way. Let me know if you want to be part of this project.