Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Rick and Barry Show

I waited—and I’m glad I did. When I first saw the news that Rick Warren was praying at the inauguration of our next president, I was apoplectic. My first reaction was to pop off with the rest of the evangelical blog world. How could Warren stand on the same platform and pray God’s blessings on the administration of an unabashed advocate for both homosexual and pro-choice causes?

But then, something happened—someone at church gave me Rick Warren’s Christmas book. I have to admit that when I received it, I was not overjoyed with the prospect of reading it. I have read Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church and was less than impressed with each of them. I imagined this book was merely a repackaging of those—but since it was a gift, I read it anyway.

In the light of current events, I’m glad I did. At just over 100 pages, it was a quick read. It was well written—light but not too fluffy. But the part that made it worth the read was the third section. Warren begins the book with a brief overview, outlining the three main sections (delineated by exclamation points, of course): Christmas is a time for celebration! Christmas is a time for salvation! And Christmas is a time for reconciliation!

It was the third section concerning reconciliation that shed new light on Warren’s presence in the presidential inauguration:

Reconciliation ends hostility. It doesn’t mean you’ve resolved all the problems in the relationship. You bury the hatchet but not the issues. You continue to talk about the issues and work on them, but now you do it with respect and love instead of sarcasm and anger. You can disagree agreeably [strinkingly similar to the line President-elect Obama used to defend his choice of Warren to the media]. Reconciliation focuses on the relationship, while resolution focuses on the problem. Always focus on reconciliation first. When you do that, the problem shrinks in size and sometimes becomes insignificant or solves itself.
While the differences between President-elect Obama’s stated positions and Bible believing Christians will not become insignificant, I now understand Warren’s mindset. I have never been placed in a situation comparable to his, but I pray that if I am, my mind would be focused more on reconciliation than either compromise or offense. My fleshly tendency is toward offense, but neither offense nor compromise is an effective path to a Gospel-sharing relationship. I must admit that Rick Warren has chosen the right path. May God bless his efforts at reconciliation and may it lead to a Gospel-sharing relationship between he and the newly-elected leader of the free world.


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