Saturday, May 07, 2011
Some thoughts on "Love Wins" (part1)
I have split this post into two parts... and hope to post the next part later in the coming week.
Now... before I discuss some thoughts I have had on Rob Bell's book... "Love Wins"... I just want to lay out my perspective... and please note - I have disabled my comments on this post because I'm not looking for an argument!
I believe we engage with content from a point of subjectivity... and my subjectivity is inclusion. I believe that the "whosoever" can come to God... and that this is a message of inclusion. I do not believe the good news to be one of exclusion but one of inclusion.
I want love to win. I want as many people as possible to be part of God's kingdom... and I want that now.
This is what I want. As such, my reading of "Love Wins" comes from this bias.
I would also point out that I am not a theologian and have little interest in discussing concepts for the very sake of discussion. In fact, I think there is too much talk... I'm more interested in genuine application. I'm not in seminary... I'm in the real world.
As such, I approached the book with a degree of trepidation... anxious about the hype that came from both the "for" camp and the "against"... especially the "against". I am a big fan of Brian McLaren and am used to ignoring the vitriol that comes from people who don't get him. I have developed, I believe, a degree of discernment when it comes to his, and similar, writing... and getting to the crux of the argument.
But the "against" camp went nuts... bordering on blaspheming the Spirit in their very personal accusations against someone (Rob Bell) who I and many others have a lot of time for.
That said... I did something that I believe a lot of the "against" camp didn't do... I read the book and in it I found a very intriguing and compelling argument for love... and for the assertion that it will win, in the end.
I believe that for us to enter into life in all it's fullness... and participate in God's plan for this world... we need to decide to. I believe in intention.
Intention is deliberate... it is meant.
I believe we must intentionally follow Jesus for us to live lives to their fullest... lives filled with love.
As such... the first chapter of "Love Wins" made for interesting reading because in it Rob Bell questions our current understanding of this decisive moment... and of our understanding of who Jesus is.
But then... grace is not something we can "do" anything about... other than to accept and to trust.
It's all about trust... and it's in the 7th & 8th chapters that this becomes evidently clear...
"...we create hell whenever we fail to trust God's retelling of our story." (p173)
"...our invitation, the one that is offered us with each and every breath, is to trust that we are loved and that a new word has been spoken about us, a new story is being told about us.../
...Jesus invites us to trust that the love we fear is too good to be true is actually good enough to be be true.../
...Jesus invites us to become, to be drawn into this love as it shapes us and forms us and takes over every square inch of our lives. Jesus calls us to repent, to have our minds and hearts transformed so that we see everything differently.../
this invitation to trust asks for nothing more than this moment, and yet it is infinitely urgent." (p195-196)
In-between, Rob Bell talks about Heaven... as a place that comforts as well as confronts. He talks about Heaven as "the world to come" and not some "other place"... a real place where God's will and only His will... will be done.
As such, it becomes infinitely more important to consider how we participate now. God is actively looking for passionate people with whom to partner with... people who will take seriously their responsibility to love one another and to love the earth on which we reside.
"Jesus teaches us how to live now in such a way that what we create, who we give our efforts to, and how we spend our time will all endure in the new world." (p44-45)
In doing so... he highlights the oxymoron of current Christendom:
"...those who talk most about going to heaven when you die talk the least about bringing heaven to earth right now.../
...those who talk most about relieving suffering now talk least about heaven when we die." (p45)
***to be continued***