An Open Letter from the Praxis Team

Why all thinkers, sages, and prophets
should come to the Praxis Conference in Tulsa on June 6-7, 2014

We think something is happening but don't know quite what to call it. We believe one might call it a “move of God,” but it is a bit confusing because it is so unlike anything we have seen before or are accustomed to.

The majority of us come from an Evangelical or Charismatic tradition, and we’re used to the gushing, “stick-out,” obvious moves of God—something that arrests and holds the attention of the masses (like the Jesus Movement of the 70s or the explosive church growth of the 80s and beyond).

This is not that.

Whatever this is, it is quieter, more easily missed, and seems to fade when put under too much scrutiny. This “move of God” (if you will afford us that nomenclature) is like putting one’s kids down for bed and going downstairs only to hear pattering footsteps across the floor. You sneak back upstairs and everyone appears to be tucked away. But you know better. As long as you stand in the doorway, observing, there is silence. You have to kind of duck around the corner and wait to catch what's really going on.

Oddly, it feels like one must view this peripherally in order to see it clearly. It’s as if this “thing” we are being pulled towards cannot bear to become the main thing.

 Our shared experience is that we find ourselves drawn to resourcing Tradition (i.e. the Rule of Faith, Lord’s Prayer, Lord’s Table, liturgy, church calendar, conversations about sacrament, et.al.), while knowing instinctively that if we focus on Tradition too directly we are in danger of devolving into empty formalism. Yet, when we resource those modalities while fanning the fire of our evangelical piety and worship (along with lots of waiting and listening), something stirs. God seems to move in deep, formative ways within us and in the communities we serve. This is a patient, listening, quiet God-journey, not a here-it-comes-whether-you're-ready-or-not- kind of God-journey. 

But it's real. And we're going to Tulsa in June to compare notes and to listen to each other’s stories. 

By God’s grace, no one is trying to grasp for power or control here. There will be no idle, puffy, empty claims made that we have discovered the next “move of God” for all sincere believers. Nor do we think all those really sensitive to the Spirit should incorporate what is being discussed into their context. Yet, we believe something is up while recognizing that, for us, what we are talking about resides more in mystery than in knowing.

Brian Zahnd says our journey reminds him of the movie, “Close Encounters of Third Kind,” where those who were "called" became obsessed with that towering laccolith in Wyoming (even though they didn't know what or where it was). In the end they were just relieved to discover that others were having the same experience.

So we’re gathering. And, we’re inviting you to join us if you’re one of the ones who is catching this “call,” or if you are simply one who likes to think and listen and converse. Come join us.

Who knows? God may show up.

Grace and peace,

Sarah Bessey // @sarahbessey
Dr. Chris Green // @cewgreen
Ed Gungor // @edgungor
Aaron Niequist // @aaronieq
Glenn Packiam//  @gpackiam
Jonathan Martin // @renovatuspastor
Chris Seay // @pastorchrisseay
Brian Zahnd // @brianzahnd
Andrew Arndt // @andrewarndt