2 current events I tried to have opinions about this week, and 1 I did.
Information comes faster than I know what to do with. This is both a statement of the times we live in and a statement about my ineptitude. I saw people have very strong opinions about few things this week which and I felt like I should reciprocate but I simply didn't. . Traditionally, I have very strong and loud opinions about things I know minimal about so this was a very strange place for me to be.
Event 1: Mars Hill and Act 29
Last Friday news broke about the Driscoll and Act 29 split. 2 years ago Garret would have had EXTREMELY strong opinions about this whole scenario but honestly, I have Mars Hill fatigue. Living in the Northwest means for many of my friends in the church world I am the go to opinion on whatever saga is happening down there. In my short time here, I have learned that many in the "Upper Left" Evangelical Community are tied to Mars Hill in someway. This makes being aware and having conversations about what is going on there inevitable. It doesn't help that writing about things Driscoll said, pro or con, has become its own industry which drives click on websites, drives ad sales, floods my Facebook and twitter feeds, and over all fuels my skepticism about people motivation for writing on very serious topics.
The issues which caused the spilt are veiled from public view, and so those outside those in the A29 inner circle only have some well informed guesses about the "why" for this split (mine are this, this, this or this). Here is the thing though... they simply are guesses. At the end of the day all I am left with this: “ A church, I am not part of, is not in my theological stream, and is a few hundred miles away from me for reasons I can only guess at, got taken out of church planting network that I am not connect to.” Yes, I have opinions on the issue, but ultimately I don’ feel like I should. I am going to leave opinions up to the people I know who are connected relationally in that community, trust them and pray, that throughout them, God is working out all things for the good of those that love him. And here comes the Jesus Juke, because there is so much more my mind space could be occupied with things I may actually have an impact. Which leads to thing two.
Event 2: The ISIS issue in Iraq.
There are horrific reports which are yet to be verified by most major news outlets. The systematic beheading of children based on the religious orientation of their parents is something the Christian community needs care about regardless if is our religious tradition or not, and I am glad to see that some are starting to think critically about this situation. However, like the Mars Hill situation, there is a bunch of things that are happening which we don't have much clarity about. If this is happening to the degree that is being proliferated on social media, it is horrific and we grieve with our brothers and sisters across the world. If it is not to the degree that is being stated, the persecution facing religious minorities by ISIS in Iraq is still really, really, really bad and this issue needs serious reflection which leads to formed Christian action. I want to have a strong opinion about what to do but outside of the Christian community uniting in grief and prayer for our brothers and sisters, I just don't. for the issues facing the Church in Iraq, being part of the Church in America has not formed me in a way that would lead me to have an opinion which has much Christ formed wisdom. That being said, I think the Church in China and South Africa may be a place to start the conversation, and may I suggest this book is a helpful framework for how the church can move forward.
Event 3: Robin Williams
This was a current event that is concrete and do have an opinion about. Robin Williams was brilliant, he was one of my favorites, and I am sad he is gone.
In all of these things I am left with a reminder from Stanley Hauerwas’ work on John Howard Yoder in this book:
“[For John Howard Yoder,] the alternative to Constantinianism was not anti-Constantinianism, but locality and place. According to Yoder, locality and place are the forms of communal life necessary to express the particularity of Jesus through the visibility of the church. Only at the local level is the church able to engage in the discernment necessary to be prophetic. The temptation to denounce “paganism” in general or to decry the “secularization” of culture as an inevitable process without doing the work necessary to specify what “pagan” or “secular” might mean in the concrete. The church’s prophetic role in Yoder’s words must always be in “language as local and as timely as the abuses it critiques” (Yoder, The Royal Priesthood, 250).”
These events remind me that the worship of God in the local church thus forming people as image bearers of the crucified Jesus to be back into the world that crucified Him is God’s plan for bringing the whole world back to God’s self. In the wake of the all issues facing the world let us remember to worship Jesus in the place where we find our selves, allow the kingdom to come in our neighborhoods and to become more lIke Jesus in the process.
This may be naive position to hold... but I don't have a strong opinion about that either.