Monday, August 08, 2011

More on The Response

To temper my earlier criticism of The Response, I thought I'd share some observations having participated vicariously. At the urging of my friend Sue, I watched the live webstream from The Response from about 10:30 AM - 4:30 PM (actively listening/watching for the first two hours or so of that). The first thing I would say is that Perry played little part in the actual event, though his piece (see below) was certainly enough to justify speculation that he might use this as a springboard to a presidential bid, especially given the event organizers' estimate that 120,000+ participated in person or virtually.

I think that most of the folks who organized and/or participated in The Response were sincere and motivated by their basic theology, which is to say that while I might disagree with some details of their teaching, I cannot help but admire their devotion. That said, I maintain the thesis of my earlier post--to whit, that The Response had a cultural agenda that was necessarily exclusionary. Not that there is anything wrong with that, unless you claim otherwise. Using the language of the event, a person would need to "agree" with the statement of faith on The Response website to participate, which statement excludes the majority of the world's Christians. They certainly didn't put anyone on stage that claimed a different creed. To turn the tables, I wonder if The Response organizers would feel comfortable participating in a Roman Catholic event that listed the Nicene Creed as the statement of faith...but didn't check baptismal certificates at the door?

I live-blogged a bit of the part I watched here. Without any further explanatory notes, I've reproduced that record below.

posted 11:27a, 08/06/11

Interesting that this is the only thread on The Response. I guess no one here went? A friend of mine is closely involved, and based on her encouragement I've tuned into the live webstream.

While I agree with pg about Perry's motivations (my take on it here), the folks on stage seem pretty sincere...and Perry hasn't yet made an appearance. The messages so far have been 1) tribulation is sometimes a mercy that helps us focus on God, 2) pursuing wealth and the "American Dream" are a distraction from God, and 3) rooting out and repenting for sins like sexual immorality.

While I find the rock (praise?) interludes distracting, it is interesting that "Lord have mercy!" is the theme...not so far off from how EOC teaches us to pray. The messages are on target, but I feel embarrassed? disappointed? saddened? that what the whole stadium is getting so worked up about has a deep, robust, and comprehensive treatment in the historic church. The emotion-driven applause and catcalls make this seem more like a performance than instruction or worship.
posted 11:33a, 08/06/11

Spoke too soon...Perry is talking now.

His message, "God's agenda is not a political agenda, it is a salvation agenda." "God is wise enough not to be affiliated with any political party...or any man-made institutions." Preaching now from Joel 2:12-17.
posted 11:37a, 08/06/11

Isaiah 40:28-31

Paul 3-14:21

And "preaching" isn't exactly right. He's reading Scripture with pauses for dramatic effect and applause.

posted 11:48a, 08/06/11

Perry's closing prayer:

Lord you are the source of every good thing. You are our only hope. We stand before you today in awe of you power; In gratitude for your blessings; In humilty for our sins.

Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home, we see fear in the marketplace, we see anger in the halls of government. As a nation we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us. And for that we cry out for your forgiveness. We pray for our nation's leaders Lord, for parents, for pastors, for the generals, for governors that you would inspire them in these difficult times. Father, we pray for our president that you would impart your wisdom upon him and guard his family. We pray for our military and the families that love them. Oh father, especially, for those special operators who lost their life yesterday in defending our freedoms.

You call us to repent Lord and this day is our response.

We give it all to you for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen, amen, amen.

posted 11:55a, 08/06/11

Dr. Tony Evans...likens the role of American Christians to that of football officials.

The moment that that "third team" of officials, which belongs to another kingdom, forsakes the instruction of the "Commissioner" and the "rule book" and aligns itself with either of the battling teams or bends to the hissing of the crowd, they have lost their legitimacy and the favor of the "League Office." How can we be "One nation under God" when we cannot be "One church under God"? "The reason why America is in a mess is because the Church is in a mess. If we fix the Church then God can use the Church to fix America."

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