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

Friday, February 15, 2013

On NOT Judging Rob Bell - "What We Talk About When We Talk About God"

On the Count of 3, “Let’s All Pre-Judge Rob Bell”
by Peter Enns
February 15, 2013
Rob Bell has a new book coming out in March 12, What We Talk About When We Talk About God. Today is February 15. March 12 hasn’t happened yet, because it’s in the future. That means the book hasn’t come out yet.
Still, based on a 2:55 teaser video, some have already gotten ahead of the rush and offered their opinions.
Here is the video.

Here is what I saw.
(1) 0:00 to 0:31–Many people today have trouble with traditional organized religion, yet they also sense some transcendence in the universe.
(2) 0:32-2:29 –Rob talks about his process of writing the book, which includes jotting down ideas and phrases on 3×5 cards over many years, how hard it is sometimes to write daily, writing primarily because you need to get it down on paper rather than how people will receive it.
(3) 2:30-2:45–A brief summary of the book: ”The book is essentially, God is not behind us dragging us backwards into some primitive regressive state. God has always been ahead of us pulling us forward into greater and greater peace, integration, wholeness and love.”
(4) 2:46-2:55–Image of the book cover, release date, where to buy.
If you saw something different, let me know.
Based on this, I have a general idea what the book is about: introducing God to an unchurched–and for whatever reason unlikely to be churched–population. Other than that I know nothing about what Bell is going to say in substance. I did learn some information on how the book came to be and that Bell likes using index cards to organize his thoughts, neither of which I found terribly interesting or informative about the book itself, and certainly not enough upon which to form a sound basis for judgment.
Based on this video, however, some are offering pre-publication opinions, e.g., Bell isn’t relevant anymore, his book will prove to be “bullsgeschichtlich [sic] Abfall… its own refutation,,, laughable, self-important gibberish,” or more yet another ode to Bell’s penchant for “non-truth…error…confusion.”
Please hear what I am saying. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but a book should be judged by a fair reading of what it says and to whom it is trying to say it, not on a 3 minute pre-publication video that is largely devoid of content read through already formed opinions of past books and strong negative feelings toward Rob Bell.
What I would rather hear his pre-publication critics say is,
I realize that judging a book before I have read it isn’t fair or rational–since I would not want someone to review my own work in this way–but I feel so strongly about Rob Bell’s insidious influence on the gospel that I can’t help myself but get ahead of the game and shoot first and read later. I hated his last book, where he called into question whether hell is real, and that got me so mad and worried me so much that I can’t bear to see him write another book that might be just like it.
A post like that would be fine, and it has the added benefit of being accurate: it tells us about the reviewer rather than an un-read book.
Let’s hold off opinions until the book is read. Even on the internet, Christians shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

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