Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Oct 28
2010

Two Miraculous Births in Process

Uncategorized | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

We are in a season of simultaneously witnessing two miraculous births.

The First Miraculous Birth.

Five months ago the Sinnett family received the news we would never be able to have children naturally again due to various complications. We received this diagnosis of being infertile the same day as our initial prayer and dessert gathering on May 25th. We were, of course, crushed. After appropriately grieving, we sold most of our baby stuff before moving downtown, spent considerable time sifting through the various fertility options, and ultimately landed on adoption. Then, miraculously and inexplicably, two months ago Jen had a positive pregnancy test. Yes, positive. After being diagnosed infertile by two doctors, we are now expecting a baby mid-April. We couldn’t be more excited, or surprised. To those of you who have been praying, thank you. This is the first miracle.

The Second Miraculous Birth.

This past Sunday we received a glimpse of another miraculous birth in process, the birth of a new church in the heart of downtown Seattle – Downtown Cornerstone. After gathering as a launch community throughout the summer, we had our first preview gathering this past Sunday. God is bringing together a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-life stage, multi-gifted group of people that form this new church. Join us this fall in community or at one of our upcoming preview gatherings as we follow Jesus’ lead in planting a church of forgiven imperfect people worshipping our perfect God, Jesus Christ.

This new church coming to life in the city is just as impossible as a woman diagnosed barren giving birth. We’re witnessing both happen and invite you to share in our joy.

Oct 21
2010

The Top 10 Obstacles to “Church” in Seattle.

Uncategorized | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Over the last six months I’ve spent considerable time in the city, speaking with neighbors, baristas, Real Change-sellers, grocery store clerks, artists, street musicians, lawyers, other pastors, and business professionals. One question that I nearly always ask in some form is, What do you think are the primary obstacles to the Christian Church in Seattle?” It has been a fascinating exercise and deeply telling. One of the more interesting observations is that Christians tend to blame “secularism” or “postmodernism” for the decline of the Church, while those who don’t follow Christ tend to blame Christians themselves. Therefore, in light of this, I’ve compiled the following list of the top ten obstacles to the Christian Church in Seattle, according to my unofficial poll of Seattle. I’m using “Church” in its broadest meaning. Nothing surprising here, unfortunately.

“The Christian Church is ___________.”

#1 Hypocritical.

This was, by far, the top response. Seattle seems to have noted an observable disconnect between belief and the behavior of the Church. The inconsistency leads many to dismiss the Church.

#2 Irrelevant.

The Church is also seen as irrelevant, having little to do with the rest of life. The Church and its beliefs are seen as having little connection with the every day; though there may be some value for the life to come. Generally speaking, the Church is not cool.

#3 Self-righteous.

Many noted the self-righteous flavor of the Church and those within. There is a perception that the Church positions itself as morally and spiritually superior, and in so doing deepens the irrelevance noted above.

#4 Judgmental.

Relatedly, many feel judged by the Church and therefore unwelcome. I’ve met no one who claims sinlessness. Most clearly understand their sin, yet the perceived judgment from the Church makes it an unlikely place to go for relief from their guilt.

#5 Unloving.

Some noted they felt the Church was cold, sterile, unloving and more concerned with its own self-preservation than genuinely and sacrificially loving the city.  Many felt they need to belong to the Church in order to be loved by the Church.

#6 Unfriendly.

Similar to above, the Church was also described as unfriendly. Those who are part of the Church seem to devote the majority of their time to the Church, leaving little time for others who are not.

#7 Unsympathetic.

The Church is also described as being unsympathetic to the real, genuine struggles of people. The Church is viewed as having quick, superficial answers, but fails to genuinely relate to where people are.

#8 Boring.

Because of its irrelevance, self-righteousness and general lack of friendliness the Church is also seen as boring. The Church is not viewed as a place of joy, vibrancy and life.

#9 Impractical.

The idea of Church is seen as irrelevant because it is viewed as impractical. The teaching and life of the Church is seen as being of little practical use.  Some mentioned that while what the Church believes may be true, it doesn’t appear to work (see point #1).

#10 Enslaving.

Some noted that the Church is enslaving with all of its rules and regulations, rather than freeing and liberating. Many viewed the Church as restrictive and life-taking, rather than life-giving.

Summary.

Together, these form a substantial obstacle to the idea of “Church” in Seattle. Its no wonder Seattle has become a refuge for those seeking to escape it. Whether or not these are misconceptions or excuses, we should view them as genuine obstacles that must be addressed, repented of and deconstructed. The Church described above is not the Church Jesus came to establish. During his earthly ministry, Jesus was “accused” of being a friend of sinners. The moral and spiritual outcast enjoyed his presence, even though he had hard things to say. If we’re following the Jesus of the Bible, this must increasingly become true of us. The Church of Jesus Christ is intended to be a people dedicated to truth and grace, holiness and mercy, creativity and beauty, service and sacrifice, love and joy, passion and relevance (after all, Jesus is reality (Col 1:15-20).

Our hope, as Downtown Cornerstone, is to be part of changing this tide in Seattle for His glory, our ultimate joy and the good of this city. Would you like to join us?

Sep 14
2010

An Open Letter to Seattle

Uncategorized | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

Dear Seattle,

You are a smart, intense and creative people laden with sarcasm, skepticism and self-satisfaction. I know because I am one of you. I love our city. My family lives in the city. I actually like the rain. I drink coffee; probably too much. I’m an avid reader. I’m locally educated (Go Huskies) with multiple degrees. I like to think of myself as a politically involved, environmentally conscious, citizen but often do little about it. I love the outdoors. I like art, music and production as long as its creative, independent and original. I vote for home-grown over corporate any day. I’m a Seattlite.

“RELIGION NOT WELCOME HERE.”

As a Seattlite, I know that anything that remotely hints of “religion” is quickly placed in the margins. Seattle is a mecca for those retreating, avoiding, or ignoring Christianity, whether intentional or unintentional. We are an opinionated people and, in general, we are clear on where we stand with Jesus. Seattlites’ respond to Jesus in different ways, including: “I like Jesus, just not his followers”, “You can’t prove there is a God”, “All paths lead to the same destination”, “There is no life after death”, “What you believe is good for you and what I believe is good for me”, “I believe in science”, “I don’t believe in organized religion”, “I don’t believe in absolute truth”, “There is no single overarching meta-narrative” or “Who’s Jesus?”. We are generally a tolerant people as long as you believe a measure of something outlined above. In many ways, together these form a succinct belief set we could call “Seattle-ism”.

“WHAT IF YOU’RE WRONG?”

But, here’s my question – stick with me here – what if all of this is wrong? Maybe not entirely wrong, but mostly. What if all of these responses are built on false suppositions? Now, don’t check out. If you’re from Seattle, you’re already thinking, “So, what you’re implying is that you have a corner on the truth.” My aim here is to invite you into the conversation. What if you’re wrong? It’s an awkward question, for sure, but one we all have to ask ourselves, no matter what we believe. As Seattlites, we often let ourselves off the hook too early with a pithy semi-philosophical excuse and then move on to discussing the deplorable season the Mariners have had.

“YOUR HEART WILL NEVER BE AT REST UNTIL…”

You see, we’re created to be in relationship with God. We see echoes of this all around. Since our value, identity, worth and joy are not found in Him, where we’re created to find these things, we pursue these in everything and anything other than Him. We look for lasting value, ultimate meaning, rooted identity, and enduring worth in political candidates, particular ideologies, environmental concerns, achievement of wealth or fame, having a child or “just one more” child, finding a spouse or a different spouse, sports athletes or teams, our jobs or our much-hoped-for next job, meaningless hobbies, or the fulfillment of our goals. Even if we never attain that which we most long for, we still believe we will have that value, hope, and worth if we do. So, we press on. But, as Saint Augustine said nearly 2,000 years ago in his personal autobiography, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

“LET’S REASON TOGETHER.”

I write all of this, as a fellow Seattlite, to identify with you and invite you into this conversation, maybe over a beer and nachos, maybe on a Sunday or maybe in a chance encounter throughout the week. We’re planting a new Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, Christian church in downtown Seattle and you are invited to join, ask your questions, bring your imperfections and objections. We are all broken people. The Christian church is a people, not a building. Let’s reason together. This Jesus, this Christian faith, is reasonable. It doesn’t require you close your eyes or shut off your mind. Perhaps you’d be willing to explore these issues, and others, if there was a place of honest engagement, humble learning, intellectual struggle and grace-filled conversation. That place is among the people of Downtown Cornerstone.

“THE GOOD LIFE. NOW.”

I also invite you to more than this life can offer. There are better things available for you, a more certain comfort and long-lasting peace, that can ever be captured through the things of this world – no matter how good those things may be! This comfort may be enjoyed at all times, with certainty. This peace and rest may be enjoyed with reason. This comfort and peace is found through the Gospel. The Gospel is God’s free offer to forgive your sins through Jesus the Christ, all of your sins removed without a trace, buried in the depths of the sea, never to be found again, never to be counted against you – ever. Not only that, but through the Gospel, you become an object of God’s delight, are brought into God’s family, adopted as a son or daughter, learn that your name was written in heaven before the foundations of the world were formed, and a crown of glory. That’s why the Gospel means “good news”.

I hope you’ll accept this invitation.

“VISION SUNDAY. SEPT 26TH @ 5:00PM.”

Consider joining us on September 26th for our Vision Night as we take some time to unpack who Jesus is calling us to be and what he is asking us to do in this great city. If you’re not ready, we’ll be around.

For the love of this city and those who live here,
Pastor Adam

P.S. Nachos anyone?