Church & Frenemies

Mars Hill Reflection 4

WEEK 4

Maybe you are too – but I’m getting a little tired of Mark Driscoll. It has been a great prompt for conversation and writing about the church in context, culture, and gender, but unless the final two episodes bring something new to the table, this will be my last related post, and I promise to barely talk about him.

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Church & Culture

Mars Hill Reflection 2

I’ve found myself in an ongoing podcast series called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, centered on pastor Mark Driscoll and the Seattle based, now defunct megachurch called Mars Hill.  This is the second post, but I recommend reading the first before you go on.

Should followers of Jesus be influenced by culture? What about the church as a whole?

What even is culture? There are a dozen definitions but as a lifelong church kid, the one I’m reflecting on today is one that was never spoken, but always implied: “Anything outside the church.” We were warned against culture and the insidious influence it could have on our morality and beliefs. We were to protect ourselves from cultural influences and stick to the Bible. We didn’t need to understand the intermediate 2000 years of church history or the world around us because we were (as non-denominational independents), uninfluenced by it.

Oh, and one more thing we didn’t speak about: the notion that we ourselves were a culture.

More on that from Mars Hill:

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Church & Context

Mars Hill Refection 1

I’ve been captivated by an ongoing podcast series called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, centered on pastor Mark Driscoll and the Seattle based, now defunct megachurch called Mars Hill.  The creator and host, Mike Cosper said that there would be 12 episodes in total; I’m writing this after the 6th.

I found myself in this story in unexpected ways – not as much in the wild ride that is Mark Driscoll – but more in the surrounding context that allow churches like Mars Hill to thrive and quietly ignore warning signs. If you haven’t heard the podcast, skip these posts because I won’t make much effort to summarize. Rather than simply “review” the podcast I decided to incorporate some of my personal church journey as well – and ask a few questions along the way.

What was your experience listening to this podcast series?

What parts of your story connected to this one?

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Homegoing: Out of the Center

“The white man’s god is just like the white man. He thinks he is the only god, just like the white man thinks he is the only man.” –Ma Aku, from Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing’s beautiful journey widens the canvas of history and offers me another chance to consider a world that I am not the center of. Yaa Gyasi’s novel connects generational stories from the heart of West Africa to America and back — with a long view of history. I loved reading it, and was affected by it in ways that are worth reflecting on: taking a wider view of history allows us to decenter ourselves.

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Whose Heritage?

[based on research by Southern Poverty Law Center]

This was originally published a few years ago but recent events – repeated events – are causing me to dig in again, and I know many of you are too. When I take the short-view of Race in America – this week, this year, this decade – I respond with words like, “Shocked”, “Surprised”, and “Where did this come from?”.  With those responses, I no longer need to tell you my skin is white. You already know. 

Because none of this is a surprise to People of Color, as I’m hearing time and again.  My surprise doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening, it means I wasn’t listening. The re-post below (with some editing) written after a 2017 Unite the Right rally at a confederate memorial in Charlottesville, shows but a few more strands that look different when seen as part of the whole.  At least, I went into it thinking it was only a few strands… Continue reading “Whose Heritage?”

A Dry Mouth

 

“The objective reality is that virtually no one who is white understands the challenge of being black in America.”

These past two weeks.   Have left me with a dry mouth, unable to form words.  I wanted to be able to say more but the letters on the screen all blurred together.

The death of George Floyd was but one in a long line of wake-up calls about racial disparity, but it’s a loud one.

But this dares me to have hope: that we might all agree there is a problem. And when we do, our call is to stay focused on addressing this problem amidst all the distracting reactions and counter-reactions.

“How did I miss this?”

To move forward, though, we must Continue reading “A Dry Mouth”