November 01, 2013

A Response to Pastor Mark on God and Pacifism I cannot say all that I want to say in response to Pastor Mark Driscoll's piece, chiefly because I lack the time, the space, and the expertise to address it in the way it deserves. Nor do I want to start a war (literal or metaphorical) with the dear Christian brothers and sisters who think differently than I do about this complex issue. So, please: don't see this as me picking a fight. I can't possibly finish it if I did. This is me thinking out my string of tweets a bit more nuance. When I think about the Driscoll's piece, I think these things: Asking if God is a Pacifist is the Wrong Question. We do not come to God because He lines up with our values or ideals. We see God in the face of Christ and ask what we now must do with this Jesus: follow Him or crucify Him. Pacifism is an ideal, a way of thinking about issues. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not deal in abstract categories. He is the tri-personal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pacifists follow an ideal and look for it in Jesus; Christians follow Jesus and discover a Way that is surprising, impossible, and compellingly beautiful. For all these reasons and more, it is more helpful to speak about what "Christian Non-Violence" is, rather than the "leading-the-witness" question Driscoll frames his piece with. The Book of Revelation Must Be Handled Carefully. The first thing my Fuller Seminary prof pointed out about Revelation is that it is not a book of prophecy. I know: this can sound like heresy to all the end-times folks, but Revelation says of itself that it is a work of...wait for it...revelation. It fits very well in the apocalyptic...
In Memory of a Friend Who Taught Me Courage [EDITOR'S NOTE: My friend Kevin Tan lost his life while saving one of his clients from drowining. Kevin was part of an adventure company that took teams and individuals out to be challenged and to grow togther. Kevin succeeded in saving his client, but was unable to escape the swirling currents of the river himself. He is survived by his wife and their two young children, pictured at the bottom with my parents. Kevin was a big part of my teenage years in Malaysia, and was a de facto member of our family, eating/praying/laughing/playing often in our home. We were part of an extraordinary student ministry in Malaysia, where young people from 15-30-- or maybe even a wider range than that!-- were like a group of brothers and sisters, who cared for one another and helped each other grow. It often spilled over to include parents, making it a truly multi-generational 'youth group.' Kevin came into that group alone but quickly became a central part the family. The picture below is of him speaking at second wedding reception my parents had for us in Malaysia in the Fall of 2001. I wrote this to process my own grief and to honor his life. It will be read at his wake this week.] I woke up on Saturday morning to the tragic news of Kevin’s passing. Kevin Tan played a huge role in my life during my teen years. He was like a big brother to me in so many ways. We were in Bible studies together, worship teams together…We played football together—and I mean both kinds of football: the kind the rest of world calls football and the kind only Americans call football! He often went with me to play drums as we led worship at various small churches and...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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