GIVE NOW to support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and World Mission responses to urgent humanitarian crises in West Africa and the Middle East. Give now

Montreat’s Imagine Conference explores what it means to be a follower of Jesus in today’s world

May 13, 2013

MONTREAT, N.C.

What do Albert Einstein, John Lennon, and Montreat Conference Center have especially in common?

Imagination!

“Imagination is more important than knowledge,” said Einstein. Lennon’s most famous song suggests imagination is the key to securing peace and justice for all of humankind.

The May 24-27 Imagine Conference at Montreat Conference Center is an opportunity to break out from the constraints that blur visions, from polarized ideologies that suggest an “either-or” brand of Christianity and from political labels that pit one camp against the other.

Leading the conference as keynote speaker is Marcus Borg, internationally known and respected as one of the most forward thinking theologians today. A prolific author and sought after speaker among all denominations, Borg is both wise and accessible.

His books are practical and thought provoking, each title going to the heart of the matter with courageous, exciting, and well-researched ideas. Among them are the bestsellers, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, and his newest, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary, already a New York Times bestseller.

Tom Currie, dean of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, is also part of the conference’s leadership. A professor of theology and ethics, Currie brings to the mix his expertise in the work of Karl Barth, the short stories of Flannery O’Connor, and the poetry of George Herbert and W.H. Auden.

Guest preacher for the conference is Jacqui Lewis, pastor at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City. She serves on numerous boards and tasks forces related to racial justice, religion and society and has been featured on NPR, in Forbes magazine and is the author of The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leaders in Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations.

Over half a century ago, the great 20th century Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in a letter from his prison cell in wartime Germany, wrote: “What is bothering me is the question what Christianity really is, or, indeed, who Christ really is.”

The Imagine Conference at Montreat tackles the on-going question, “What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ and be church today?” ― a question that leads to other questions: What are the biggest issues facing people of faith today? Why are so many people turned off by institutional religion? How has the church changed over the years? Is this change a good thing or a fearful thing?

It is only with bold imagination that those answers can be faithfully answered in a way that is relevant, Biblical, and energizing.

To register or learn more, go to http://www.montreat.org/imagine or call 828-669-2911, ext. 339.

  1. Does this author have any idea how radical and outside the mainstream Marcus Borg is? And oh my goodness, he thinks Borg is "wise and accessible?" Has the author ever actually listened to the lyrics of "Imagine" by John Lennon? I don't know the other two speakers, but I can "imagine" that they would be of the same radical bent as Borg. And yet, I'm sure the author still wonders why people are beginning to believe the PCUSA is rapidly losing its identify as a Christian organization. Sheesh! One of you mods probably needs to, as my teenager says, "hit the google" a bit before you publish something like this on a national PCUSA website.

    by James Turner

    May 15, 2013

  2. Conference participants might appreciate reading chapter 4 in Thomas G. Long's book, Preaching from Memory to Hope, prior to the conference. I believe Long's insights and critique could provide good preparation for dialogue with Dr. Borg.

    by Jeff Paschal

    May 15, 2013

Leave a comment