According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HarperOne Response to Love Wins

Not long ago I wrote some brief comments about HarperOne's campaign to make money at Rob Bell's political expense within evangelical circles ( I still stand by these remarks and consider HarperOne's statement below to be shortsighted of the firestorm they knew would come. In effect, I consider this damage control by HarperOne for the benefit of HarperOne so that they do not lose additional money-making opportunities within the same evangelical groups they have disenfranchised by publishing Rob's book.

Though this "apology" comes a little late it seems to be more about HarperOne than their authorial protege, Rob Bell, whom they over-eagerly advised to write an inflammatory book that they knew would prove to be divisive to many Christians seeking clearer statements and not theological missiles thrown at them. And Bell, who is known to seek the lost sheep of God's in the wilderness of theological mis-statements and purgatorial guilt, believed that by distinguishing a clearer doctrine of hell and salvation would be a spiritual help to those lost sheep of God's. In the doing of this task he found himself alienating a group that had become locked in to its own salvific formulas and religious traditions rather than the more hopeful result of re-opening more expansive views of heaven, hell and God's love. It is to evangelicalism's ill-credit that they have responded so vindictively, so unlovingly, preferring to deem a godly man a charlatan rather than the God-gifted evangelist that he is. And all along HarperOne has been feeding the machinery of profits and burgeoning markets at Rob's expense and evangelical Christianity's even poorer response.

- skinhead


Rob Bell’s Hell
By Mickey Maudlin, HarperOne Senior V.P./Executive Editor
July 1st, 2011 by admin

Nothing makes me more proud than to see a book I edited reach a wide audience. By that measure, I should be beaming over Rob Bell’s Love Wins. And I am. Not only has it spent fifteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list (as of this writing), Rob has personally heard from hundreds of readers about how his book has been “a cure,” “healing,” “a lifesaver,” or has allowed them to connect or reconnect with the church.

Still, I cannot shake a deep sadness about the book. Considering how corrosive the effects can be on those who have been told they are “special” or that they are “God’s voice for a generation,” I was pleasantly surprised at the beginning of our work together to discover Rob to be a great listener and partner, eager for feedback, a hard worker, fun, and deeply grounded spiritually. He knew what God wanted him to do, and not do, and what his priorities were. At heart he is a pastor and an evangelist whose ambition is to overcome barriers to the gospel. In that way, he reminds me of Billy Graham.

And so, as someone who has spent his entire adult life in the evangelical portion of the church, I cannot help but be sad at the reaction to the book by many conservative Christians. The Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution against Rob and the book. Bestselling author Francis Chan and Christianity Today’s Mark Galli have authored two of the six books opposing Rob. Leading evangelicals like Albert Mohler, David Platt, and John Piper have condemned him. Christian critics routinely use words like “unbiblical,” “heretical,” and worse to describe Rob. Most Christian bookstores refuse to carry the book. My heart goes out to Rob for having to endure this onslaught (which, in my view, he has weathered surprisingly well, thank God).

But why such hostility? Why would leaders attack as a threat and an enemy someone who shares their views of Scripture, Jesus, and the Trinity? What prevented leaders from saying, “Thanks, Rob, interesting views, but here is where we disagree”? When did “believing the right things” become equated with determining who is “saved” so that, as some have claimed, affirming Rob’s teachings might jeopardize one’s eternal destiny? (If salvation is dependent on having the right Protestant theology, how could the apostles be saved?) What exactly is so threatening about Rob’s expansive vision of God’s love and grace?

As a young evangelical, I was socialized to see the biggest threat to the church as theological liberalism. But now I think the biggest threat is Christian tribalism, where God’s interests are reduced to and measured by those sharing your history, tradition, and beliefs, and where one needs an “enemy” in order for you to feel “right with God.” Such is the challenge facing the church today and what the reaction to Love Wins reveals. So the success of Love Wins fills me with both hope and fear. But it has also made me thankful that I work for a publisher that is independent of these church wars and allows us to concentrate on books that offer hope and light. Because, with Rob, I really do believe that love wins.

Mickey's Signature
Mickey Maudlin
Senior V.P. | Executive Editor | Director of Bible Publishing

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