The following article is an interview with Dwaine Darrah, the Campus Pastor of New Life’s McLean Campus (the Westmoreland Campus). I believe you’ll enjoy it. Our hope is that the article will attract some seekers or seasoned Christ-followers to the campus.
Credo: Dwaine Darrah
By: LEAH FABEL
Examiner Staff Writer
August 20, 2010
Dwaine Darrah, 58, has spent a long career seeking out troublemakers – from rooting out terrorist groups as a CIA analyst to redirecting lost souls as pastor of New Life Christian Church’s campus in McLean. Darrah took up the ministry upon his retirement from the CIA in 2008, responding to a call he had felt for 25 years. He sat down with The Washington Examiner to share thoughts on his faith, and God’s invitation to joy.
Do you consider yourself to be of a specific faith?
I’m an evangelical Christian. What I find distinct about real Christianity is that it’s not about us trying to be good enough, or appeasing an angry God who’s trying to zap us, but it’s God wooing us and romancing us into a love relationship with Him. He has won me over by His love for me that keeps being poured out.
What attitudes or beliefs prevalent in today’s American society are most at odds with your vision of a Christian life?
There are tons of behaviors that are at odds with how God tells us to live, but that’s not at the heart of it. At the heart of it, I think, is that God makes all of this stuff that we see — as it says in Romans, everything that we see yells and screams that there’s a Creator. What we tend to do is to say, “God, I don’t really want you, I just want your stuff.” When in reality, everything we see should draw us into a relationship with God. Instead, we say give me your stuff — I’m going to worship that — sex, money, whatever. And I’m going to ignore God, when in reality it was all designed to draw our attention to God. When you eat great food, for example, or when you see a beautiful color — what does it say about a god who created that color for you? And what a neat god who made such delicious flavors of food for you! Ignoring that leads us to a whole host of behaviors that are idolatrous — and those behaviors lead us to all kinds of harm.
You’ve expressed disdain for “religion” as opposed to a true Christian life. What do you mean by that?
George Barna is a pollster who studies the sentiments of the religious, and sentiments about the religious by those who aren’t. He has found that 80 percent of people who call themselves Christian can’t recall the last time they had a meaningful conversation or experience with God. They’re walking in and out of church without that ongoing, deepening love affair with Christ. They’re going through the motions of religious rituals and actions — trading that for this deepening relationship with Jesus that will lead them to proper behaviors.
Sunday Communion, for example, is a shadow of what Christ actually did. If the reality of Christ isn’t meaningful, the ritual doesn’t mean a thing.
Much of your career was spent working to rid the world of Islamic terrorist groups. How did that affect your perspective of Islam, or of your own faith?
One of the neat things about what I did was dealing with people very passionate about their religion. Just like there are a lot of liberal Christians, there are the same among Muslims. But in my work, we were dealing with the truly passionate, and there’s a certain respect that comes with that. I don’t agree with them, but I honor their passion.
My job was to identify terrorists, but I never rejoiced over their death or capture. As a Christian, you’re aware of the eternal perspective and you know things won’t be going well for those folks, eternally.
At your core, what is one of your defining beliefs?
I believe that God, through Jesus Christ, wants us to live the absolute fullest life possible — the most exciting life possible, the most rewarding life possible. It doesn’t always mean that everything is going to go my way, but when I’m 80 years old I don’t want to look back and ask myself what life would’ve been like had I actually followed Him. God is offering us the most exciting life, the most joyful life possible — and it’s a challenge every day to test Him and see if that’s true.
– Leah Fabel