Sunday, March 27, 2011

More this, more that

99.9% of all pastors agree with Rob Bell, at least when they do funerals.

I think that the storm of Christian punditry and theological correction that has passed over the Christian blogosphere since Rob Bell's video is a more interesting and more disturbing problem than what Bell thinks (or doesn't think) and says (or doesn't say) about hell.

Think about this, folks. John Piper's response to Bell, a 2-word "tweet" (vacuous thy name is twitter), seems to have been interpreted as a permission slip to declare Bell every kind of baddie in the right-thinking Reformed lexicon. The chorus of correctors came into full-throated harmony, blasting Bell as wrong, wrong, wrong, and this Bell-ish heresy must be struck down before many many many people are led tragically astray, etc. But Dan Edelen would have people stop and think. Read How would Jesus blog? and Boomerangs for better or worse.

But enough on all that. May it all go away, replaced instead by the Kingdom of God.
Jesus came, in fact, to launch God’s new creation, and with it a new way of being human, a way which picked up the glimpses of “right behavior” afforded by ancient Judaism and paganism and, transcending both, set the truest insights of both on quite a new foundation. And, with that, he launched also a project for rehumanizing human beings, a project in which they would find their hearts cleansed and softened, find themselves turned upside down and inside out, and discover a new language to learn and every incentive to learn it. God’s kingdom was bursting in to the present world, offering a “goal” the like of which Aristotle had never imagined. Human beings were called at last to rediscover what they have been made for, what Israel had been created for. They were, after all, to be rulers and priests, following Jesus’ ultimate royal and priestly achievement, and they would have to learn from scratch what that meant. They were to practice virtue–virtue of a kind never before imagined.
That's from N. T. Wright's After You Believe, and I found it at Ted's place.

We have guy in our town who goes to a busy plaza on Friday afternoon and preaches his lungs out. He has a booming voice, which has to be booming, because everyone steers quite clear of him. It's like there's an an invisible (but unfortunately not sound-proof) dome around him. People crossing the plaza skirt him by a good fifty feet or so. No one comes near. I passed him on Friday and heard him shouting something about "a lie from the pit of hell!"

He's the anti-Bell, you see. Message: you better get right with God or you're going to hell! Once I saw an angry-looking guy standing across the street, facing the preacher, and giving him a long and passionate middle-finger salute.

Anyway, the bellowing street-preacher, as I was saying, is universally off-putting. It's a test of stamina to simply sit on a bench fifty feet away and drink your coffee. I guess he must think it's a kind of badge of honor that no one wants to come near him. It proves he's preaching the Gospel, right? And this is the face of Christianity in our inner-city. It makes me sad.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, Lord, on earth as it is in heaven.

1 comment:

dle said...


Thanks for the links.

There's a lot of sad lately. I really wish we could all be more winsome. Instead, I think we're scaring people away from Jesus. Too much pride, too much legalism, too much dissension. Jesus prayed that we could be one. I don't want to be the generation that sees the prayer of the Lord Himself fall on deaf ears.