An Open Letter to Seattle
Uncategorized | by Pastor Adam Sinnett
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,
P.S. Nachos anyone?