Last night Rich and I met with Nancy Murphy (Exec Director of a Domestic Violence Center in Seattle), Tom Murphy, Sandy Brown (Exec Dir of World Council of Churches Seattle), Paul Chapman (protest organizer), Dwight Friesen, Mark Driscoll, and Leif Moi (pastor and elder at Mars Hill Church).
My initial thoughts are going to be brief.
Our conversation was frank and honest. I appreciated the maturity and humility that everyone in the room demonstrated. My sense was that everyone felt heard.
We basically focused on two things: First, the offensiveness of Mark’s language in the public arena. How it hurts and divides. After an open conversation with everyone's participation it seemed that everyone felt heard by Mark. Second, we discussed the protest. Hearing from Mark and Leif--their concerns, my hope is that they felt heard.
The spirit in which we all met was not adversarial but was toward reconciliation by all. I deeply appreciated that everyone remained open and respectful.
There was a very meaningful exchange between Paul and Mark with regard to the protest which brought them both to a place of recognizing their words as harmful. There seemed to be an agreement that an apology for inflammatory rhetoric would be appropriate from both of them.
We all agreed to disagree about our theology and that we could have a healthier way of expressing our difference to the wider community.
I am thankful to all for the graciousness and humility displayed in the midst of difference.
Here are a few things I have learned:
Words on a blog or on a paper are one thing—people in a room who those words touch are quite another
Truth and mercy – a powerful combination
We are all life long learners on this journey where confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation is one of our highest callings.
That Mark and I may have serious theological differences but at the end of the day we have both given our lives for the sake of the gospel
I am hopeful that reconciliation has begun and will continue – time will tell.
I want to thank Mark for coming to the conversation as a peacemaker and not a street fighter. I pray God’s best for him and for Mars Hill Church.