Tug of War…

14 01 2009

Sometimes when I see myself and many others of my generation being very socially concerned, especially of humanitarian issues, I remember a wise comment my father made to me once, “There is always a movement through reaction from one extreme to the other in history.” He often made the comment when I would complain how the modern church has often failed to call to attention the importance of social justice in faith and has only paid attention to personal spirituality. For those of you philosophy lovers, it vaguely reminds me of Hegel’s idea of history working itself out through the synthesis of thesis/antithesis dialogue. In a very interesting NYTimes Magazine article titled, “Who Would Jesus Smack Down?“, Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church is portrayed as reacting, or at least countering, to the softened message of many megachurches in the nation, such as Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church. The megachurch method of church was itself a reaction to ineffective evangelism and traditional worship to make church more “seeker sensitive.” At first glance, Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll seems to be an attractive alternative to church. Doing something few churches in America are successful at, let alone try. But as much as the Seattle-based church is an attractive model, we much remember that part of the effectiveness is the context in which it exists. I would personally like to see more churches like Mars Hill, and pastors like Driscoll who can reach mainstream culture. They are ever so few and ever so necessary. But to claim any church more than it is, a collection of sinners in need of grace, to claim a church as the best model or best church, is to forget that the gospel is simple yet powerful, and is something constant in the tug of war of ideologies and methodologies. Molly Worthen, the author of the article, notes along the same lines,

“At one suburban campus that I visited, a huge yellow cross dominated center stage -until the projection screen unfurled and Driscoll’s face blocked the cross from view. Driscoll’s New Calvinism underscores a curious fact: the doctrine of total human depravity has always had a funny way of emboldening, rather than humbling, its adherents.”

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2 responses

14 01 2009
joe kim

great reminder. very insightful.

14 01 2009
danahbeth

yea i got a new phone, the other one went completely crazy the next day. haha. it’s so cold here!

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