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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rob Bell and the Fighting Christians [Take 2]

Sounds like a new boy-band, doesn't it? But sadly, it isn't. For not the first time, I am ashamed and embarrassed by those who call themselves leaders of the church. Many powerful Christian leaders have weighed in already to tell us what we should think of Rob and his new book, which hasn't been released, yet.

Who are these powerful Christian leaders, and isn't that almost an oxymoron? Where does their fame emanate from? Fame and fortune or from Christ?

We will never all agree on everything, but this public ugliness and bickering expose us for the frauds we are. Where is our love, patience, discernment? Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren, Andy Stanly, Eddie Long, TD Jakes, or whoever your personal guru is, may all be much more famous and much richer than I will ever be, but they do not know everything. And, as public figures, they make mockery of the peace that we all claim to possess.

The leader of my faith and my church is Christ. Certainly I have a pastor, who I hold in the highest regard; but we aren't Old Testament people who only have access to our Father through an intermediary priest. The destiny of my soul, working on and out my salvation is not dependent upon my Pastor's intercession (although it can't hurt), or even his interest in my final outcome. I have to put in the work myself. Who is the Captain of my soul?

It would be pleasant to think that this debate will cause people to examine their faith, and some will. Most won't. They will sit on the sidelines, spout the opinions of other and allow these others to continue to drag them around by the nose; telling them what to think and how to feel.

One of the most pressing thoughts I have had in this pre-release debacle hasn't really been about universalism, per se, and we will come back to this and other terms, but...

Have we become such inward and selfish thinkers, so insular in our faith thought processes, that we not only cast aside the "outsiders," the "others", but also cast aside and make pariahs of our children and all the other Christians who do not think exactly as we do? Rob has been a fair-haired poster boy for the Evangelicals, and it is amazing how easily they now write articles with titles such as, "Good-Bye Rob Bell."

My children do not believe as I do. I do not believe as my mother did. So do I throw out all of the things she tried to instilled me? I have many friends and relatives who practice other forms of Protestantism. Do I stay away from them so that my thinking isn't contaminated? Do I avoid family functions, because some of that other stuff might rub off on my pristine soul? Are my faith and understanding so fragile that I cannot it expose it to the light of day, nor stand firm under critical review?

Clearly the answer is, "No!" As Paul has said, "test it all".

Yes, we must make clear lines in the sand for what we believe and what we accept as true. However, I cannot make that decision based on someone else's thoughts. Being faithful is not meant to make us stupid.

What's next, book burning?

Does Rob have some views that I don't and won't agree with? Certainly. Does he have views that resonate with me? Of course. But I won't know that unless I invest the time to find out what he's saying.

[more to come, I'm sure...]

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