But you would be wrong. It’s been two weeks since Church of the Beloved hosted a pig roast, at which over 200 of our friends and neighbors and local churches enjoyed themselves. But the leading story among many circles has been drastically different than the leading story of our neighbors. While our neighbors have said,What an amazing celebration that was! Thanks so much for having us over!, I also hear, almost daily, a variation of a rumor that needs be cleared up, namely, Mars Hill Church sabotaged the pig roast.
The truth of the matter is this: A former resident of Rosewood, who was one of the originators of the pig roast five years ago, attends Mars Hill Church and helps lead its small groups in the Edmonds area, asked some of his small group people to help fund, set-up and have a meet-up prior to the opening of the pig roast. In the spirit of hospitality and peace, Church of the Beloved said, “Sure.” About 25-30 folks from Mars Hill attended. Furthermore, we invited nearly all the churches around us, regardless of their doctrine or social stances. Church of the Beloved even unwittingly invited the Ethiopian Orthodox Church down the street…except they don’t eat pork. Oops! In the weeks leading up to the roast we wanted it to be clear that this pig roast would be offered as a free gift to all our neighbors, and that included those who go to Mars Hill Church.
I’m writing this open letter because of the cloud of volatile whispers that was kicked up. I take very seriously that many have been hurt and are sad and angry. I, too, am in that camp, but the roast was not an endorsement of Mark Driscoll’s teachings. Rather, it was about us offering hospitality to all our neighbors.
As I say this, I’m pointing four fingers at myself: We claim that we better understand the breadth of God’s grace and that we are practitioners of that grace over and above ‘the women- and homosexual-haters’, and yet we can’t even welcome our Christian sisters and brothers from Mars Hill to our table without mistakenly calling them saboteurs and invaders. This event has exposed our own prejudice and disgust for our neighbors, and we need the grace of God even more.
There may be more to the story than I am aware of, but it didn’t seem right to let the whispers gain momentum without this side of the story being present, because regardless of creed or lack of creed, this is a place of welcome in the name of Jesus.