One of the unexpected blessings of living in Minneapolis is that we have been able to attend a really awesome church for the last few months, Woodland Hills. We love our church at home, but Woodland Hills is really unlike any we’ve ever been in before. There’s a lot that stands out as unique — for one, it is an extremely diverse church. I don’t know about your experiences, but most of the churches I’ve been in are — for the most part — ethnically, culturally, and socio-economically homogeneous, which I don’t think really reflects the Kingdom. At any rate, Woodland Hills is not any of those things. I first became aware of this church through an article (you can also click here if you don’t have a NYT online account) I read in the New York Times about a series of sermons the pastor did on the role of Christians in society that really rattled his flock — it was a fascinating, and completely different, perspective from what I’d previously heard, and it really resonated with me on lots of levels. Jacob and I went to visit the church mostly out of curiosity at first, but have stayed because the pastor really hits home and because it is clearly an authentic place.
Greg Boyd is a very unique pastor. Unique might be a strange word to use when describing a pastor, but seriously – this guy defies a lot of the pastoral stereotypes. His central focus is on the fact that as Christians our goal should supremely be to live as Jesus lived — passionately loving everyone. As a result of this, he does not believe that as Christians our primary goal should be Christianizing our culture by spending lots of time, energy, and money on forcibly effecting social change (or trying to); but instead our goal should be loving people and living out our faith authentically and tangibly–which would cause the kind of authentic spiritual revolution that would be impossible to create by signing petitions. I think a lot of people might label him as “liberal” at first exposure… but listen a little more carefully, and I think you’ll find that that label (or the “conservative” label for that matter) doesn’t really apply.
At any rate – he says it a lot better than I do and I don’t want to misstate his positions. So – you should check out his sermons if you are interested in hearing a new teacher. Or, if you want to read his more weighty theological stuff, check out his blog. Oh – and next week… I think on Aug. 23, he might be on one of CNN’s reports in a series called “God’s Warriors.” They interviewed him, but he might not have made it past the editing room. (Though if you watch the preview for the Christianity segment online at the show’s website, he’s interviewed in it — so maybe if he is featured in the preview, he’ll be on the show.)
Oh – and the sermon entitled “A War-Torn Creation” on 7/15 had an enormous impact on me. There’s a story behind that… but I’ll save it for another post. At any rate, I’d recommend it as a starting point if you want to check out his teaching.