Category Archives: god in the city

a dialogue between christians and scientologists

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“So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and
Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.”

-Dar Williams/The Christians & The Pagans

I must first give credit to the source of this information– Erwin McManus at Mosaic.  You can download his sermon -“Truth Between Us: Scientology and Christianity” here.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • We should not be surprised that Scientology’s incubator is Los Angeles.  It should be no surprise that it encompasses the culture of LA.
  • We should not be surprised that L. Ron Hubbard made his living from writing and using his imagination.  LA is the epicenter of creativity.
  • LA is also the epicenter of brokenness, the artisan’s dilemma.

You can’t be an artist without being depressed.  -E. McManus

These central narratives of Scientology can be defined as “the truth between us:”

  • Every human being is spirit.  We are essentially spirits with bodies.

“Scientology is where atheists and loners came together.” -Paul Haggis

  • Scientology emerged in the 1950’s when the Church was focused on “sin management.”  Scientology was focused on a human’s “unlimited creative potential.”

Where it’s a little overstated is the word, “unlimited.”  Change “unlimited” to “unimaginable” and this aligns itself with the Christian perspective.  Dreams and imagination are part of how God designed us.  The human spirit does need to hear that.  Jesus does want to come to the table and speak to that.

Scientology countered the idea that we need to live in our weakness.  Christianity agrees: “in our weakness is His strength.”  Where we deter slightly is that, even in our optimal best, God is still way better.

  • Scientology stepped into Christianity’s silence on creativity and imagination.

Scientology says that there are wounds and scars in our past lives that paralyze us from truly living.  If you take out “past lives” and simply state that there are wounds and scars in our past that paralyze us from truly living, we really could agree.  Scientology created the “E-Meter” to deal with this karmic debt.  Christians needed to address these deep wounds and brokenness to be relevant in LA.  Scientology has — perhaps this is why it’s “mecca” is in Los Angeles.

Some of us spend our whole lives just holding the broken pieces together (like a broken mosaic).  These things anchor us to the past.  That’s where Scientology steps in for so many Angelenos.  While most of us are born unordinary with unordinary potential, the tragedy is that we choose ordinary lives and die ordinary.

Where we align with Scientology is when we realize that living out of our best is not incongruent with God’s plan.  Yet, there’s so much stuff holding us back.  We’re living under all this rubble.

Romans 12:2 calls us to be free from the weight that standardizes us.

Again, I urge you to listen to the full sermon here.  I am longing for a world that seeks, as Erwin McManus says, to find the truth between us.  To find where we agree, where we can sit together.

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what you ache for.

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th_b92abdee.pngIt’s ok to search out godly people to emulate.  God often gives us these people, for in them we see hope of what we could become.  Often there is a key characteristic we see in them that gives us a glimpse of what our future could be like. I have a circle of women in my life who stand in the gap for me, mentors, girlfriends and sisters.  I am a sister to those younger than me and I benefit from the wisdom of my older sisters.

The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being.  –Proverbs 20:27

I went to the City Church’s Young Professionals service yesterday with one of my best friends who used to intern there.  City Church has several campuses, a mega church that is very program-driven.  Drawing mostly affluent white people, I’ve always been a little cautious.  The prosperity ideology kind of taints a lot of what they do.  But still, I’ve been challenged to be careful before making any huge assessments because it’s thriving, so obviously good is happening.  I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. And I have to admit, despite my skepticism and despite every guard being up, again, without a doubt, God used Pastors Judah and Chelsea’s message in my life.  It was impassioned, prophetic and beneficial.  It’s as if they have the ability to skillfully perform surgery on our hearts, using fine tools to get under our skin without our permission.  The message yesterday was on the condition of our spirits.  I’ll link to the podcast audio file as soon as it is available here.  My spirit has felt empty, jaded and without a tether.   Judah quickly identified that it is difficult to narrow down what exactly our spirit is.  For some, it offers a visceral image, for others it is a gut feeling.  Either way, our spirit is God’s contact point.  It is critical for it to be centered, rooted and anchored, for out of our spirit flows our vision, calling, work and sphere of influence.   What spoke to me most poignantly was when Judah said,

  • We have a lot of things we’re supposed to accomplish, but the question is if we really want to do the work.  Grow your spirit and you will grow your ______. 

  • The underline is any aspect of your life that you’re yearning and aching for—particularly pertaining to your life’s work.  Then, here’s the kicker…what he said that so speaks to this season in my life, you will probably agree if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time.

  • Your gift will take care of itself.

  • You can’t fake your life’s work.  You might be good at lots of things, but there’s something you were just born to do.  A gifting you just can’t fake.

  • Grow your spirit, grow whatever else you want.

  • What you’re aching for, what feels just beyond your finger tips, what’s just on the other side, God cannot give it to you yet for He knows it would destroy you.

  • He won’t let your gifts take your further than your spirit is ready to sustain you.

  • The spirit that got you through five years ago is not the same spirit that will get you through today…what it needed yesterday isn’t the same as today.  Feed your spirit for this season of your life.

 There are things in this life that I ache for, my life’s work, but I’m working on contentment in today.  Okay, enough procrastinating, I need to go prepare for Tuesday’s meeting with my book agent.  Sorry my posts have been erratic lately, I’m getting adjusted to the schedule of my new job.