Sunday, October 23, 2005

St. Paul & Rick Whats-His-Face

I finally found something that all the emerging and anti-emerging blogs have in common: they all dislike Rick the Warren because of his ©Purpose Driven Everything. The anti-emergents foam at the mouth about Ricky being a false prophet with a false gospel; the emergents slap their foreheads and moan about the selling out of the mega-church, lack of true community, etc.

By now most people are aware that Starbucks has decided to include a quotation from Rick in their series of "As I See It" messages on the sides of grande- and venti-sized cups. Anti-emergents (who can't seem to tell the difference between PDL and the emerging church) are upset because the gospel message isn't "clear enough", which to them just proves that Rick is a False Teacher.

The message is as follows:
You are not an accident.
Your parents may not have planned you, but God did.
He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose.
Focusing on yourself will never reveal your real purpose.
You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense.
Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance and our destiny.
For all those, emerging and not, who aren't all that impressed with Rick or Purpose Driven Life or Saddleback Church, can I still point out a similar situation that confronted St. Paul?
"While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols." (Acts 17:16)
I wouldn't want to compare Rick & PDL to idols, but Paul was distressed about idols, and many people today seem distressed about PDL.
"Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: 'Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." (Acts 17:22-23)
 St. Paul was distressed about the idols, but he still used their existence as a starting point of commonality in order to have a platform to talk about Jesus.
"When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, 'We want to hear you again on this subject.' At that, Paul left the Council. A few men became followers of Paul and believed." (Acts 17:32-34)
 Why doesn't everyone, who is currently criticizing Rick or doesn't know what to make of Starbucks including a quote from him, take the opportunity to hang out at Starbucks with some of your not-yet-followers-of-Jesus friends, relatives, or co-workers and see if you can strike up a conversation with The Quote On The Cup as a starting point? Nobody ever really expected that Starbucks would print the whole Gospel on their cups (and would it fit, even on a Venti cup?), but it's a great opportunity for those who have ears to hear and are willing to step out and take some risks.

Many people missed the opportunity to discuss Jesus when Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ was in the theaters. They were too busy debating the biblical accuracy of the movie. 
Let's not make that mistake again.

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