Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Clarification On A Few Posts

I just wanted to add this caveat to the posts detailing some ideas infiltrating my old church as well as the church as a whole. I have met with the senior pastor from NorthPark, Dr. David White, and we are in agreement with the facts as they are. (Which are that the emergent movement is an attack on the essentials.) However, I believe we are also in agreement that a more positive path could have been chosen by myself in the delivery of these raw facts that we both agree are important. Airing the church's "dirty laundry" for the world to see is never the best route in that I had other options available to me. Soiling the gown of the bride of Christ (the church universal, not just NP) should never be the first option, and hopefully not the last either.
Even if my motives were pure as the driven snow (which a simple reading of Romans tells us they are not), the end result was not the best I could hope for. I am confident that the pastors involved in some of the statements and literature handed to me are in the process of taking to heart what I said... sour-pill and all. That is testament to a team of believers at NP that should impress even the most ardent critic... which sometimes is me!
So for any persons at NP that were hurt by my in-depth posts, especially BH, I apologize. My email is at the top of this page for any staff member to ask questions about this topic. I hope to be a positive resource in the future to any that do not understand the very important issues involved in this postmodern movement that needs both truth and grace to confront it. As you can tell, I'm a truth guy.
I wish to say that while I have made the point that some staff need discipleship in the major doctrines that drive our faith, Pastor Dave exemplified an area that I need discipleship in. That is, how to talk things through in a loving graceful manner, as the Bible also prescribes.
I thought of an analogy as I drove away from our meeting. What I did is similar to a customer who frequented a restaurant for many years. One day he gets a miss-cooked plate of food. This customer "harrumphs" loudly in disgust and gets up and storms out. In the church however, we practice something different, which again, Dave exemplifies well. Instead of getting up and storming off, the customer (a cook himself) would get up and go into the kitchen and befriend the newer cook and show him how to do his trade well. This is also exemplified in a story told by a missionary and expanded on by an apologist:
When I was a Buddhist I felt like I was in the middle of a large lake.  I was drowning and I didn't know how to swim.  As I struggled to keep my head above water, I looked out towards the shore and saw Buddha walking up to the edge of the lake.  I was going under for the third time, when suddenly Buddha began shouting out instructions to me, teaching me how to swim.  Buddha shouted, "Kick your legs and paddle your arms."  But then Buddha said, "Lou, you must make it to shore by yourself." As I desperately struggled to follow the instructions of Buddha, I looked out towards the shore again, but this time I saw Jesus Christ walking towards the edge of the lake.  However, Jesus did not stop at the edge of the lake.  Jesus dove into the lake and he swam out and rescued me!  And once Jesus had brought me safely back to shore, then he taught me how to swim, so that I could go back and rescue others!
You see, this is the key difference between Christianity and every other religion in the world: Christianity is not a religion!  What are religions?  Religions are about human attempts to make our lives right with God, through our good works, sacrifices, rituals, and money.  However, Christianity is not a religion.  Christianity is about God entering human history to graciously save men and women through His Son Jesus Christ.  It is only by placing our faith in Jesus Christ and submitting to his Lordship that we will be saved.
A relationship with God will never be found in any religion, because religions only offer swimming lessons to people drowning in the sea of sin.  And it doesn't matter how sincere or devout you are in your religious faith and practice, because the sea of sin is eternally immense.  The only hope for men and women drowning in the sea of sin is Jesus Christ.  God entered human history in the person of Jesus Christ; he dove into the sea of sin in order to save desperate and drowning people.  If you'll allow him to take you there, he'll hold you in his loving arms and bring you safely to shore.  And after arriving safely to shore, then your swimming lessons begin, so that you can go back and rescue others!
So from this story that I have told to some over the years I now use with myself. We have the Example of examples willing to dive in and save us... but not only that, to disciple us in our deficiencies. This missed opportunity on my part to pass on in a small way what was modeled in the macro to me is yet one more indicator that this relationship I have with my Creator and His body (not only at NP but as the church universal) needs constant improving -- eg., truth with grace. I thank this same Creator for people like Pastor Dave that disciple this with action.
Again, any questions about this topic will be welcomed. I will go through and mellow out a few of the posts for the reason that this airing not be public for the world to see forever. Take note I am still no longer a member of this church, as, many of the staff are still in "process" on important doctrinal issues (this last sentence added 3-05-2010).
SeanG (AKA - Papa Giorgio)

If you are unaware of this movement, a good place to start is just by clicking one of these tabs:
"Emerging/Emergent Church" - "Thomas Merton" - "Rick Warren" - "Henry Nouwen" - "Richard Foster" - "Rob Bell" - "Shane Claiborne" - "Tony Jones" - "Brian Driscoll" - "Doug Pagitt"