I had a great time at the Elephant Room yesterday. I was able to take my new pastor with me and we had an excellent day learning from ALL of the speakers.
I realize that there were many critics of the Elephant Room, especially this year, especially with the invitation extended to Bishop T. D. Jakes.
After attending the live venue (in Aurora, IL), I can say that I really believe in what James MacDonald is trying to do with The Elephant Room. The premise is simply this: When you have an open discussion, particularly with people you don’t know and people you don’t agree with, you will have a better understanding of them; and have greater insight and learnings from someone who is not necessarily in your ‘tribe’.
My ideas, thoughts, and feelings definitely changed about a couple of the Elephant Room participants. And for the better. Not because I now agree with them theologically, but because I better understand them, understand them to be my brothers in Christ, and have had the opportunity to see their more human side up close and person… rather than what some write about them on blogs; or what their ‘tv persona’ is.
It was very valuable for me.
It cost James MacDonald a lot, including his resignation this week from the Gospel Coalition
. That’s too bad. But I do believe that James is doing what God is calling him to do… model civility and the old thought of thinking the best of someone you don’t know.
Not surprisingly, that is not something that James has always embraced from his fundamentalist background.
And many of James current friends on the conservative side think he’s crazy… in fact… I think James is really going through a period of finding out who his friends are.
Many times, boldness and being obedient to Christ has consequences. I think this has been the case for James MacDonald. The loss of dear friends on one side; and the addition of new friends from the other.
I commend all the courage of each speaker for the Elephant Room. To go LIVE in front of thousands of your peers, not knowing exactly where the conversation will go, is nothing short of gutsy.
But I, for one, am happy for gutsy church leaders… even (and especially) the ones who aren’t necessarily in my tribe.
Oh, and btw… for all who were wondering… turns out Bishop T. D. Jakes IS actually a Christian. 🙂 I know that may infuriate some of you. You’ll have to find some other person to pick on now.
DID YOU ATTEND THE ELEPHANT ROOM? What is your feedback?
For a full synopsis of what happened yesterday… please go here and download Tim Schreader’s full notes from the day in PDF form!