Monday, September 17, 2012

Open Apology Letter to the members of the Institutional Church of America

Dear American Institutional Church members,

You must know something about me.  I've struggled with the sin of pride since I was in high school.  I'm around so many encouraging people that it was hard not to get hyped up on myself.  It got a lot worse when I came to college.  Everything I did (except my grades) seemed to be overwhelmingly successful and people kept praising me for it.  And my massive head kept growing.

I've come a long way in the past 4 years in shrinking this ego, but I have come to the realization that in one major way a lot of shrinkage still needs to happen.  And this is where my apology comes in.

You see its really hard not to jab and critique the church when you are a seminary student.  Believe it or not, you are actually required to do so quite often if you want to get that expensive piece of paper that says you smarter than you actually are.  (all it really says is that you are a glutton for punishment)

Here's where I went wrong...

1) I used social media as an outlet to express my frustrations.  These things are better left to personal conversations with trusted friends and mentors.  (Thanks to my best bud Brent Bailey for teaching me that).

2) When I did that, I sometimes did it in a way that made it sound like I thought I was better than them because I was doing something different.  The reality is, the Lord has called me to something that he may or may not call you to.  You should do what the Lord calls you to, no more, no less.

For these things I am genuinely sorry.  I'm sorry I hurt you.  I'm sorry I said things you weren't prepared to hear.  I'm sorry I was not careful with my words.  I'm sorry I did not have these conversations in person.  I'm sorry I didn't always do it out of a motivation of love.

I'm sorry.

Okay, hopefully at this point you've found it in your heart to forgive me.  If not, go check out Luke 6:37, hopefully that will change your mind and you'll forgive me ;-)

Now that you've forgiven me, lets get to the good work.  The work of unity.  This was Jesus' dying prayer (John 17:20-21).  So if that was this important lets get to it.  Unity does not mean conformity.  It means that despite our diversity and unique characteristics we will love, encourage and support one another.  I'm not going to ask you to come and do things your way just like I don't expect you to do that to me.  What I do hope is that we will come together, listen, and do what Jesus wants us to do.

Lets be prayer partners.  Lets be dreamers.  Lets be friends.  Lets be neighbors.  Lets share meals at the table together.  Lets share our lives with each other.  Lets join together in the good work that God is doing to reconcile all things and all people to himself.

Lets challenge each other.  Lets grow together.  Lets share prophetic words with each other that make us better followers of Jesus, and lets do it out of love for each other and for the Body of Christ.  Lets love and celebrate our differences and the way our unique design contributes to Christ's body and grows His Kingdom.

I want to learn from you.  And I hope I have something that you can learn from as well.

Let's be friends.  Because I think Jesus wants us to be.

Thanks for forgiving me,