HT: Doug Pagitt
— Random Thoughts, Stories of Life, and Questions about the Journey —
HT: Doug Pagitt
What an incredible 24 hours. Several people came to Seattle for the last day of the Seeds of Compassion gathering followed by an Off the Map event hosted at the Vineyard. Monday evening we hosted a spaghetti dinner at the Vineyard for several friends that came in from out of town. It is always a blast to hang out with Todd, David, Helen, Randy, Pam, Nancy and so many others. Just a shout out that Todd Hunter and David Ruis are two of the most respectable, smart guys I know. They encourage, inspire and are devoted to figuring out what this Kingdom life is about. Really, really good guys.
Yesterday was the final day of the five day event and was focused on spirituality. A group of us attended the prayer breakfast with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. We were one table away from two Nobel Peace Prize recipients. What an incredible experience. And so fun to watch the two of them interact in moments almost like children, giggling, joking, poking fun. At one point The Dalai Lama looked at Desmond Tutu for a few moments, you were getting the idea he was going to say something profound and then with a serious tone, he said something like, “I’ve noticed you have put on a few pounds” the room erupted in laughter. Just a side note here. I met so many young people yesterday that had never heard of or knew about Desmond Tutu. This is a sad commentary. We are not even twenty years out from the apartheid of South Africa and our young people don’t know the name Desmond Tutu?
The conversation between the two of them and for us sitting in the room was powerful. I appreciated the Dalai Lama’s comments, I found him humble, personable, wise…but when Desmond Tutu spoke, there was an incredible spiritual authority that you know comes from a very deep place…from his life’s journey. When it was over I wanted to go sit in silence somewhere for a few hours. Instead, we got in our cars and jetted over to the University District for the morning panel discussion. There was two interspiritual panel sessions on Spirituality and Youth Dialogue. Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt were on the panels. I only attended the first, with Rob Bell and I think about 15 others including the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, and representatives from the Jewish, Islam, Catholic, and several other traditions. It was really good, just such a large group that panelists did not get much time to develop their thought. I enjoyed listening to so many voices and have to say it was a bit disorienting to hear from so many people of different faiths organizing their lives around what we as followers of Christ would say is the Kingdom. I have a lot to process.
We then went to the Seattle Center where Jim Henderson hosted a smaller panel titled, Evangelicals and InterSpiritual Friends: Recovering the Compassionate Tradition of Jesus. Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt, Todd Hunter, Nancy Murphy, Andrew Himes, Sunil Sardar, Rabbi Anson Laytner abd Dr. Ingrid Mattson,the Director of Islamic Chaplaincy and Professor at the Macdonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. This was another eye opening experience. To listen to intelligent people who are living out devoted lives from different faith traditions view Christians within the framework of a mutual, respectful dialogue was amazing. Jim was on his game in this session, he asked probing questions that I would imagine caused everyone to do some thinking.
After a long day we ended up back at the Vineyard where Off the Map hosted An Evening with Rob Bell, Todd Hunter, Doug Pagitt and others…
It was more like a reception with Hor’duerves, wine, and live music. VCC knows how to throw a party! We will have the podcasts up soon.
More about that in my next post.
Over at Kingdom Grace there is a conversation about Mark Driscoll’s Doctrine versus the Shack. I have not read the Shack. Nor do I need to in order to comment on the absurdity of Mark Driscoll’s rant. What kind of an environment are you cultivating when (you have the “largest church in the most unchurched city in the United States”) and you are telling people what they can and cannot read? Here are a few of the comments from Kingdom Grace’s blog:
I do believe Mark is wrong about the trinity. The Reformed camp has latched on to a hierarchical view of the trinity as a foundation for hierarchy in marriage and church authority. In my opinion the mutuality of the trinity is to be our model for relationship.
This is an area where dialog and discussion isn’t likely to produce agreement. Ideally there would be tolerance for differences of beliefs on secondary issues. Many people have not experienced this kind of tolerance or respect from those in the more fundamental side of the Reformed church world.
I agree with Grace. I consider him a chrisitan brother, I disagree with his theology. It is not a theology of the Kingdom. He continually presents his positions as “the” christian world view. His view of God and doctrines is what fuels the church being on the wrong side of justice issues throughout history (see my last post). Bad theology is an evil taskmaster. The sexism that continually pervades his presentation of Scripture is an injustice to women.
1. Describe the problem in technical theological terms to give intellectual weight to your position. (pride)
2. Declare the opposing view sin in order to scare people from considering its validity. (fear)
3. Label those who follow the other belief heretics. (shame)
4. Thus appointing yourself as the authority and guardian of truth. (control)
Grace nails it. This is a pattern of abuse. When you have oppression you have an abuse of power. When will those that listen to this week after week either get up and walk out or overthrow the oppressive regime? When will they wake up to the story of the Kingdom? When will we by the power of the Spirit live into our Story….”In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew or non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.”
From Divided by Faith
Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America
By Emerson and Smith
Why Christians Should Support Slavery
Key reasons advanced by southern church leaders.
Many Southern Christians felt that slavery, in one Baptist minister’s words, “stands as an institution of God.” Here’s why:
Abraham, the “father of faith,” and all the patriarchs held slaves without God’s disapproval (Gen 21:9-10).
Canaan, Ham’s son, was made a slave to his brothers (Gen 9:24-27).
The Ten Commandments mention slavery twice, showing God’s implicit acceptance of it (Ex 20:10,17).
Slavery was widespread throughout the Roman world, and yet Jesus never spoke against it.
The apostle Paul specifically commanded slaves to obey their masters (Eph 6:5-8).
Paul returned a runaway slave, Philemon, to his master (Philemon 12).
Charitable and evangelistic reasons
Slavery removes people from a culture that “worshipped the devil, practiced witchcraft and sorcery” and other evils.
Slavery brings heathens to a Christian land where they can hear the gospel. Christian masters provide religious instruction for their slaves.
Under slavery, people are treated with kindness, as many northern visitors can attest.
It is in ‘slaveholders’ own interest to treat their slaves well.
Just as women are called to play a subordinate role (Eph 5:22; 1Tim 2:11-15), so slaves are stationed by God in their place.
Slavery is God’s means of protecting and providing for an inferior race (suffering the “curse of Ham” in Gen 9:25 or even the punishment of Cain in Gen 4:12).
Abolition would lead to slave uprisings, bloodshed, and anarchy. Consider the mob’s “rule of terror” during the French Revolution.
Christians are to obey civil authorities, and those authorities permit and protect slavery.
The church should concentrate on spiritual matters, not political ones.
Those who support abolition are, in James H. Thornwell’s words, “atheists, socialists, communist [and] red republicans.”
In many ways I hear some of the same reasons to keep women from all God has put in their hearts to do and be…
I am home now…got in late last night. My flight out of Chicago O’Hare (like tons of other American Airlines flights) was delayed about 7 hours. So much happened Wednesday to yesterday. I don’t have time to capture it all in writing but here goes some highlights:
I have not even scratched the surface on how powerfully amazing the women above through their teaching, sharing their own stories and journey and through each of their unique perspectives impacted the women at this conference.
The band and worship leaders simply rocked it…Leah Martens, Rebecca Alvarez and Sheena Hunter were incredible…gospel choir and all…
All the other women I met, Verity, Sara, Kaitlin, Esther and more…astounding young women who will make this world a better place because of their love of Jesus.
I had a great time seeing Amy again. It was so great to meet some of her team and spend some time together.
Evelyn and the gang from Texas are the best!
So much more but I will leave it here…
If you were there and have any thoughts or reflections I would love to hear them.
All in all a huge “thank you” to everyone for all their work at making the time seamless – thank you for creating such a welcoming, inspirational and warm space.
I am blown away by the number of women, young, middle age and older that I have met here in Chicago that are doing and have dreams of living their lives organized around the Kingdom of God. I feel like this has been the best kept secret in the universe…hundreds of amazing women. Since the Vineyard has shifted to officially recognize women in every level of leadership…it is like the floodgate has opened…I am sobered and awed at the women I have met here. They are from all over the United States…I have met future theologians, scholars, pastors, small group leaders, future founders of non-profits, church planters… you name it they are here and they are an unstoppable force…
He is Risen
He is Risen Indeed!
Our Easter worship gathering was great…great music, great people followed by brunch…plenty of food and good company.
Last week was International Women’s Day. In 2006, Rachelle organized a gridblog entitled, “Dismantling Patriarchy”, (I was in Thailand officiating a wedding at time) which I participated in. This year I didn’t participate because I have been too sick and too behind in my studies. If I am going to take time to write I have to write for school. I have been too sick to concentrate on my studies or much else…in fact I have spent more time in the last two weeks watching T.V. than I have in years…it doesn’t take much energy to watch T.V…
While reading through some of the posts, I found I really resonated with Julie Clawson’s post.
From her post:
I have to say I agree with her. It is a justice issue for me, I am respectful of difference, but I couldn’t attend a church week after week that denied my right to be who I am created to be.
I don’t think many people would disagree on times are changing. The question to followers of Jesus becomes, what does it mean to be faithful in our time, what does it mean for the church to navigate the waters of societal change?
“Every few hundred years in Western society there occurs a sharp transformation…within a few short decades, society rearranges itself—its worldview; its basic values; its social and political structure; its arts; its key institutions…fifty years later, there is a new world and the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born. We are currently living through such a transformation.”
Peter Drucker. Post-Capitalist Society, New York: Harper’s Business. 1993. p. 1.
Tonight I was reading through the journal I kept in 2003. I read through my entries on my trip to Mozambique, Africa and Church of the Savior in Washington D.C. Some of the entries from Africa brought tears to my eyes.
While at Church of the Savior we heard a number of amazing practitioners, one in particular jumped out at me tonight (I am re-reading some of my thoughts so I can shape my dissertation proposal), it was a talk given by a man named Bill Haley. Bill had just returned from a trip around the world visiting Christian communities that were or had been successful in bringing about personal, societal and global transformation. (Sidebar – I was struck by the fact that five years later we use similar language in our community about following Christ to serve others in three realms: personal, local and global). He talked about Wilberforce and the Clapham’s (social reformers within the Church of England.
Bill then talked about small communities of Christians committed to prayer, study and service as the most powerful tool in God’s hand for personal, societal and global transformation. Then went on to name some of the groups he studied and visited:
The Sisters of Charity
The Iona Community
Various monastic communities
Church of the Savior
The common denominators he found:
1. The Communities are Christ centered – Jesus is the reason they exist and they know him as a suffering God
2. There was some degree of life together
3. They had strong leadership – leaders that had a strong inner sense and a focus “what is not yet needs to be done” there are things God wants to do in the world
4. There was a great willingness within the community to live sacrificially
5. There was a profound reliance on prayer
6. There was an external goal – the entire community internalized an external goal, namely, they existed for other people, social justice was equated with loving God
7. There was shared discipline
8. There was a high expectation for membership (individualism was not part of their language or practice) they realized they could get more done with 10 committed people than 100 people who were not committed to the mission
9. They all had a commitment to commitment – you choose how you live
Here was Bill’s definition of Christian community:
An interdependent group of Christians whose lives are centered around Jesus and ordered by love, who share common goals and common commitments and who together intentionally seek to love God and love their neighbor.