There have been many times I feel like sitting down to write but it has been so far down on the To-Do list that it hasn't actually made it on the To-Do list at all. It's a busy season right now but I'm hoping I'll be able to visit my little corner of the internet more often this fall.
So, what has compelled me to set aside my piles of laundry, let my garden sit, and prop my kids in front of the TV?
The latest Mark Driscoll controversy that has lit up the Inter-web.
I feel I need to lay my cards on the table and wear my heart on my sleeve for a minute. Not because I want to ride this sick wave of rubber necking Christians, or join the ranks of people who think that their opinion on the matter actually matters...
or because I think you want to read another blog post on the topic.
In reality the whole things seems ridiculously insignificant compared to what is actually happening around the world. Christians are being slaughtered in Iraq and Syria and yet a pastor using some profane language 14 years ago lights up the media and spurs the Church to collective outrage?
The silliness of that gives me a headache.
I'm mostly writing for me (I process through my keyboard),
and for those who might wonder or assume.
I'm heart broken over the whole thing, but yet I have a whole lot of peace and confidence.
This is why.
There is nothing shocking, scandalous, or nonredeemable happening here. All I have to do is look in the mirror to know that we are all saved by grace and will continue to wage war on our sin nature until the day we die. Mark Driscoll is no different. Sin shouldn't shock us.
There is no one worthy of our worship other than Jesus himself. What we idolize we will also grow to demonize. Neither is appropriate for a Christian.
Jesus promises to build his church and he will. Come hell, high water...or a quick tempered Pastor who had some bad days.
In case you have been completely unplugged or are out of the Christian culture loop. Acts 29, which is a interdenominational church planting network (founded by Mark Driscoll and now led by Matt Chandler and a group of others) has removed Mars Hill church from the network because of some issues with Mark Driscoll. The letter from Acts 29 to the leadership of Mars Hill was leaked into blog-sphere and a media frenzy resulted. It has since been addressed on the Acts 29 web site.
I have confidence that the leadership of Acts 29 has much more information that I do and is doing what needs to be done. I also know that this decision was made with an enormous weight of grief, a ton of prayer, a lot of deliberation, and an unwavering love for Pastor Mark and our brothers and sisters of Mars Hill church. This decision also highlights one of the things that I love about the Acts 29 network. They take high standards of leadership and integrity extremely seriously. They can't be bought with public opinion, celebrity status, or a check book.
I love Mars Hill church and I know without a doubt that they will weather this storm and come out the other side refined. This church is far more than one pastor. It is made of up many congregations, pastors, and gospel communities living on mission with one another. It is made up of people who love Jesus and love his Church. They serve their communities, proclaim the gospel, have solid doctrine, don't compromise what the Bible says, and reach people that historically the church has overlooked...for God's glory and the good of their cities. There is so much ridiculously awful untrue slander being perpetuated on both secular and "christian" media. I have attended a couple different Mars Hill churches and have close family who are very involved and who's lives have been completely transformed by the love, discipleship, and careful nurture of the people of Mars Hill. It's a family and we felt welcomed into that family...even if only as visitors and online extended family.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Mark Driscoll for the truth he has spoken into my (and my husbands) life. We began podcasting his messages a few years ago. We were floundering and wilting in so many ways. We were malnourished sheep. I was absolutely blown away when I first started listening to his sermons. It was like a bucket of fresh water to a parched and dry soul. It was like drinking from the fire hose when I was used to squeezing water from a damp sponge. His courageous preaching of the gospel, and gift for teaching the Bible spurred on my faith and spiritual growth like few others have. Light bulbs went on as I heard my first bits of reformed theology, and for the first time in my life began to dive into the depths of the gospel and apply it to my life. The missing pieces started coming together in my head and heart. I honestly don't know where my family would be, or where my marriage would be without that timely nourishment.
Because of that growth and hunger for deeper teaching and genuine community, we began searching for a church to plug into. We had heard about Acts 29 and really liked what we had witnessed, the model of ministry, and the missional focus of it's churches. Out of curiosity I typed "Saskatchewan" into the Acts 29 web site church search. I was surprised to find a new small church plant about an hour and a half from our home. We decided to go get a taste of it and see what God was doing there although we had no intentions of commuting that far to be a part of a new church family. In one week we were hooked. After knowing so much chaos in church and ministry...we were very refreshed to find something healthy.
We absolutely love our church and our pastors. We have a great fondess and respect for the Acts 29 network and it's leader Matt Chandler. Three years ago my church community, Grace Fellowship, filled the first couple rows of the theater we rent. Since then we have steadily grown, are busting at the seams for space, and are now sending out our first church plant. With all the change ahead I know there will be growing pains and adjustments. Church is messy sometimes, simply because people are.
I have little interest in the details of every offense and knowing every mistake that he has made. I have no desire at all to scan FB groups and websites looking for juicy morsels of gossip.
From what I can tell there are some structural changes that need to happen. What began as a living room Bible study grew very rapidly in the past decade (which is an amazing act of God's grace and the Spirit at work in people's lives) but with that increase came a lot of growing pains.
Beyond that, it appears that there is some repentance and reconciliation that needs to occur.
None of that...not a bit of it is my cause to crusade for.
I am not his judge and jury.
I refuse to join the pitch fork brigade and the giddy lynch mob made up of everyone from bitter liberal feminist bloggers, to ultra-fundamentalist pharisees, to a watching world looking for any reason at all to justify their hatred of the Church. That is what breaks my heart the most.
Church, put down your stones...and instead get on your knees in humility. Not one of us is beyond falling into the traps of control and pride. How many of us would fair any better?
Enough of the crazy accusations and smug celebrations. It's nauseating to witness from the very people who claim God's grace.
I ache for the Driscoll family, for Mark, Grace and the kids. Regardless of both the legitimate and perceived offenses this is a difficult season for them. The wounds of a friend sting deeply...even if they are inflicted in love and truth.
I can't imagine the weight of stress that is involved when you stand in front of a firing squad of public opinion and have your sins laid out before a gawking world. I know what it's like to have a few people slander and lie about me. It's a horrible feeling. I cannot imagine how awful it would feel if thousands of strangers did so on a regular basis.
I have nothing but sympathy, prayers, and hope for the Driscoll family.
I have nothing but the deepest respect for the leadership of Acts 29, for Matt Chandler and the others.
This is not a feud.
It's a heartbreaking decision made by people who love Pastor Mark and ultimately desire restoration, but who are unwilling to compromise biblical standards and deep conviction.
It's brothers who have stood at the pulpit together, prayed for each other, and worked together on a common mission for years. This is one of those occurrences of tough love, strong leadership, holding others accountable, and telling the truth even when it's inconvenient and painful to do so.
I am unwilling to stand in judgement over the decision that was made merely because it doesn't actually involve me personally, and I'm not in a position to know the gritty details. I can trust that those who are involved are doing the best they can to work through this.
What I can do is pray.
I'm confident and feel peace about it all because I know God has this. He is will continue to work through flawed servants like he always has. He will take our great heaping piles of manure (that are rather effectively hitting the fan this week) and use it to grow a bountiful crop for his glory and our good.
That's just my 2 cents.
Soli Deo Gloria,