LifeWalk

______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Faith, Doubt, and Other Lines I’ve Crossed July 7, 2013

faith_doubt

FAITH, DOUBT, AND OTHER LINES I’VE CROSSED:
        WALKING WITH THE UNKNOWN GOD
– Jay Bakker with Andy Meisenheimer

———

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book.  Very readable.  Both thoughtful, and thought-provoking.

This is my second read from Jay Bakker, my first being “Fall to Grace.”  (You can read that review by clicking Here.

This new book, written with Andy Meisenheimer, is such a huge encouragement.  It’s what I’d call a very “real” writing.  And for me, it’s easily relatable on so many counts.
There’s a lot discussed here; doubt, God, the Bible, heaven and hell, atonement, love, grace, relationships, society, church, theology.
We look at faith vs. certainty, reading the Bible differently, getting a new take on dying and rising with Christ, recasting eternity, rediscovering grace, standing for the oppressed, a self-centered view of God, and so much more. This is one of those books that, if taken seriously, has life-changing potential.

One of my favorite parts is in chapter one where we read about Paul in the book of Acts.  This is when he’s in Athens, and finds an alter with the inscription, “To an unknown god.”  Paul goes on to tell them that this unknown god is the God that Jesus came to tell us about.  Many Christians are familiar with this story, and the kinds of expositions usually given.  Here, our minds are expanded to a new possible understanding of this incident.  In part 12 (each chapter has numbered parts) we’re hit with what I found to be a beautiful revelation.  I won’t spoil it here.
Also in this chapter, I’m reminded of the times when what we read in our scriptures are quotes from other sources, as is the case with “in God we live and move and have out being.”  Here, Paul was quoting a Cretan philosopher named Epimenides.

In chapter two, we look at “Doubting Faith.”  Paul Tillich “believes that fanaticism and pharisaism are the symptoms of repressed doubt,” and that “doubt is overcome not by repression, but by the courage to embrace it.”  Jay says, as have I many times, “The more you find out, the less you know.”  “They don’t prepare you for this when you’re a Christian kid.”

The 3rd chapter is about reading the Bible.  It brings me memories of “Velvet Elvis,” and “A New Kind of Christianity.”  We read that “when we turn the Bible into an answer book, we miss out on the real story, the depth of all that the Bible has to offer.”  There’s a good bit on the writings of Paul, some material by Peter Rollins, and some quotes from Rob Bell.  We see that, for many, an “illiterate reading of scripture becomes God’s truth.”

Part of what we discover in chapter four is “Jesus’ version of fulfilling the law, in practice.”  Often, he “fulfilled the law by breaking it.”  There’s more insights into the “torn curtain” of the temple, during the crucifixion.  This is really good!
We also look at atonement theories, somewhat in the vein of Wm. P. Young, and some quotes from Sharon Baker’s book “Razing Hell.”  When we look at some of the teachings we grew up with, we have to ask “Does God practice what Jesus teaches?”  If so, we’ve gotten a lot of things wrong.

Chapter 5 is about eternity, and it opens with a Pete Rollins quote.  We also hear from Martin Luther King Jr., as well as James, Paul and Jesus.  In this chapter, concerning his alcoholism, Mr. Bakker says, “That’s when I finally got sober.  After I found out that I was accepted.”
I can so relate to that statement.  It was in the middle of a drug-induced stupor, when I was dangerously sexually promiscuous, possibly at the most irresponsible point I’ve ever been in my life, when I somehow realized that right there, right then, with or without any change in my life, I was totally accepted by God.  That doesn’t mean my actions were approved, but I, as I was, was both loved AND accepted by God.  No fear of rejection by God. Not even fear of death! THAT’S when things in my life started to turn around.
Yes, Jay Bakker, I really do get it.
Admittedly, there certainly was fear of the mortal consequences of my actions, here in this life. But I realized that would not be God “punishing” me. It would just be “sowing and reaping.” I thank the Lord that karma isn’t always the bitch she’s made out to be. 🙂
It’s truly a miracle (or multiple miracles) that I’m not dead or back in prison.
[And now, back to our review.]
There’s also some interesting material about when Jesus was reading Isaiah’s “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me” scripture.  What Jesus doesn’t say speaks volumes.

In chapter six we look at grace:  Wild, outrageous, vulgar grace.  We see how “we cheapen grace when we make it temporary, a ticket to an afterlife.”   “When we really understand it, we will always find grace offensive.”

The seventh chapter has us “Speaking Up for the Marginalized.”  We see, as many are painfully aware, how the “church” has so often been on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of civil liberties, and the wrong side of… well, just the wrong side all around.  We’re told that it wasn’t until 1967 that a non-white person could marry a white person in every state.  Much of “christianity” believed, as Bob Jones preached, that “segregation was preserving God’s plan for the different races according to the Bible.”  We look to the Bible to see how the church in Antioch was treating the “minority,” and how one believer (Paul) had to confront another believer (Peter) over his two-faced hypocrisy.
Here’s a good quote from this chapter:
“Separate but equal.  Remaining a pure people.  Not mixing seeds.  We look back now and think, That’s crazy.  Who could support that?  Who could possible think the Bible could be used to justify a ban on interracial dating?
The answer is – we did.
Christians.
Are we doing the same thing now?”
So, yes, we discuss LGBTQ equality in this chapter.

We re-discover some of the Bible’s parables in chapter 8.  The lost coin.  The lost sheep.  The lost son. Here again, of course, we step back and see things from a new perspective.  This is good stuff, people!

In the ninth chapter we look at what we call “the church service.”  Jay purposes that this is “an unnatural experience of God, just like the art gallery is an unnatural experience of art.”  “It’s amazing how quickly you lose touch if you’re always in a Bible study and everybody’s always talking about Jesus and Christianity.  When we hear mega-church preachers say something that seems out of touch with reality, we have to understand that they don’t live in the real world.  Christians live in a false world, one without the people that Jesus cared about.”

M. Night Shyamalan offers up some great food for thought in chapter 10.  We also learn from the example of Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as the 18th chapter of Matthew.

Chapter 11 addresses, among other things, death, suffering, grief, hope and hopelessness.  I think of all the cliches and platitudes that are frequently offered to those experiencing grief.  I know people may be trying to be helpful, but  “Death is a tragedy.  It’s important to walk through that grief without being bombarded with assurances that everything is okay.”  It’s important to say “This is horrible and awful.  It wasn’t God’s plan or God’s opportunity to make something good.  It was simply a tragedy.”

“Losing Belief, Finding Faith” is the title of chapter 12.  Here we compare and contrast faith and belief.  We discuss the “appeal of certainty.”  It’s easy to see why so many fall for fundamentalism.  But “certainty helps us cover up our brokenness and fears.”  It “allows God to become our alibi for hate and judgement.”  It causes “theologians and pastors [to] become lawyers, arguing nuances and loopholes that the original writers would never have imagined.”
“The freedom to have faith instead of beliefs is, to me, one of the most beautiful things about following Christ.”
We also look at the dangerous idea of “all or nothing.”  This is an idea that I’ve found destructive in most areas of life. (Check out “Do One Green Thing,” by Mindy Pennybacker.)

In the conclusion, we read the familiar story of Mary and Martha, again gaining a fresh perspective.  We take another look at bibliolatry, and the anti-Christ damage it continues to cause.
Then Jay wraps up this outing by looking at that which is of “infinite, ultimate concern,” and how our lives can truly be transformed.

In these pages, we walk with Jay as he discovers “something deeper and more lasting than the evangelical framework [he] inherited from [his] family and church.”  The story is both universal, and quite personal.  We touch on his relationship with his famous parents, including the deep pain of losing his mother at the end of her 11-year battle with cancer.

This really is an amazing read.  Interesting stories, and life-giving perceptions.
Don’t pass on this one.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

—————–

Seriously, you should read this book, wherever you are on the spectrum of belief or unbelief. Give it to friends and family. Start conversations around it. Then, tell Jay how much you love it. As a real shepherd of real people, Jay needs our encouragement.
– Rob Davis: an atheist’s review of Jay Bakker’s new book

—————–

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

* Doubt keeps me from thinking I’ve got a handle on God.

* I’ve found peace in the mystery.

* That any of us act like moral giants is pretty insane. We all add to suffering, and we ignore it. We know that our chocolate is picked by child laborers, diamonds are mined for slave wages, iPhones are assembled in inhumane working conditions. We can ignore all that, but we freak out when someone sleeps with their secretary.

* You would think that relationships would be more important than theology.

* The only difference between you and me and the “scandalous outsider” is nothing more than the labels we use to separate us from them.

* The type of inclusion Jesus practiced gets you in trouble.  This type of inclusion gets you killed.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

* “I-think-my-God-is-the-God” idolatry.  This is true idolatry.

* Somewhere along the way, we got focused on who does what with their genitals and forgot about love.

* I didn’t want theology to ever become more important than people.

* Our rejection of those who don’t fit without our clear-cut worldview is destroying people. Jesus said we would be known by our love, but when it comes to the LGBTQ community, we are known by our uncomfortable silence, our fight against their civil right to marry, our moral outrage, our discrimination, and our stereotyping.

* When you don’t know what to say [to a grieving person], cliches are the first things that come to your mind.  It’s our way of saying, “Holy shit, I don’t know what just happened.”

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

* Rather than being humbled and baffled by grace, we draw lines around who is in and who is out. [If we’re going to get angry], let’s get angry at how undiscriminating grace is.

* Jesus talked with all sorts of people without confronting them about their sin and demanding repentance.

* I can see the appeal of certainty. It promises that you’ll never have to rethink things or be confronted with a reality that you can’t understand. With God, you don’t get certainty.

* I’m going to work to free people from hell on earth.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

* The idea of heaven didn’t work for me when my mom died.  I felt certain she was in heaven… but all I could think about was never being able to see her, call her, talk to her, for the rest of my life.

* “Hope that is seen is not hope,” Paul says.  Hope comes from a place of doubt.

* We need to give people permission to embrace death, tragedy, the meaninglessness of life.

* I am no longer concerned with an afterlife, though I am concerned with eternity.

* I’m not trying to save anyone from hell or win people to Jesus.  I’m just trying to follow Jesus myself, and help people find grace and peace and acceptance in their lives.


Buy the book.  Click HERE.

Also check out www.JAYBAKKER.com, and www.REVOLUTIONnyc.com

 

Here I Am August 2, 2012

[“This post is now part of the July 2015 synchroblog that invited bloggers to write about “Gay Marriage”.]

Never. Never in a million years would I have imagined being anything resembling a gay-rights activist. Never a God-worshiping, Jesus-loving gay-rights activist. Yet, here I am.

If we’ve learned anything from history, it’s that religious fundamentalists have rather consistently opposed the heart of God. From the crucifixion, to the stoning of the saints. From the crusades, to the Salem witch-hunts, to slavery and racism, to the oppression of women, to the opposition of marriage equality and gay rights.
The organized church has repeatedly been on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of truth.
Yet the lessons go unheeded, and history continues to repeat itself. The unimaginable cruelty, torture, oppression, and even bloodshed and death have always been justified with “Chapter and Verse.” The Bible and a bloody sword, one in each hand. Using the name of God, but being farther from God than the east is from the west. No matter how much people recognize that the Bible has been falsely used in the past, it’s always “Well, we’re not doing that this time.”
Yeah.
That’s what “they” said.

There is a civil war in this country. I don’t use those words lightly. We were once split between slave owners, and those who sought equality for all. We are again split in fight for equality.  And once more, sadly, it is brother against brother, and sister against sister. Often with both sides praying to God for victory.
Despite the rhetoric, this has nothing to do with “free speech,” anymore than having separate drinking fountains was a matter of free speech.  This is a matter of equality in a multi-culture, multi-religion nation.
To paraphrase Senator Jamie Raskin, “People put their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution.  They don’t put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.” I fear the horrors that await if those who believe this is a “Christian” nation have their way. So, here I am. Taking my stand for marriage equality, and LGBT equality in general.

I’m one of those who, as a former fundamentalist, knows the issue from multiple viewpoints.  I know the faulty arguments and misuse of scripture because I used to preach and teach them.
Some friends have been lost.  Some bridges burned.
Accusations of deceiving and being deceived.
I’m sure there will be more of the same. (As an Ex ex-gay, in a mixed-orientation marriage, I get flack from “fundamentalists” on both sides of the isle.)

Mel White has said “Becoming an activist is simply a matter of putting love into action.”  For me, that’s easier said than done.  But being silent is not an option. I’m surprised at where life has taken me; at where the journey has led.  But it is what it is.  By the grace of God and the strength of Christ, I will continue to speak out against this religiously induced injustice.  I will make my small contribution.

Standing with my LGBT brothers and sisters, Here I am.

—————— Additional resources:
More About My Journey /
Freedom Indiana   /   Give A Damn / Indiana Equality   /   Holy Terror / Human Rights Campaign /   Crazy For God / A Time To Embrace / Fall To Grace   / For The Bible Tells Me So / Through My Eyes /

 

Rest In Peace, Davy Jones February 29, 2012

Davy Jones: 12/30/1945 – 02/29/2012

“Even if they never meant to be more than entertainment and a hit-single generator, we shouldn’t sell The Monkees short. It was far better TV than it had to be; during an era of formulaic domestic sitcoms and wacky comedies, it was a stylistically ambitious show, with a distinctive visual style, absurdist sense of humor and unusual story structure. Whatever Jones and The Monkees were meant to be, they became creative artists in their own right, and Jones’ chipper Brit-pop presence was a big reason they were able to produce work that was commercial, wholesome and yet impressively weird.”
– Poniewozik, James (February 2012). “RIP Davy Jones, The Monkees’ Daydreamboat”. Time (magazine).


Below is a brief telling of our recent concert experience seeing Davy Jones at Bearcreek Farms.
I’m so very glad we went.

  

Another fun concert experience.   At 66 years old, Davy still sounds great.
The six-piece band was absolutely top-notch.  When the concert was over and most of the crowd gone,
my wife yelled “You Guys Are Awesome!” at the remaining band members onstage.
Dave Robicheau did some amazing guitar work on “Valerie.”
Aviva Maloney is a multi-talented wonder.
You can check out them and the other band members here:  http://davyjones.net/djband.html

Davy sang some of his solo songs, did a number from his Broadway days in “Oliver,” and lots of Monkees favorites.



His wife was onstage for a couple of really good dance numbers.
Jones, of course, shared many stories and jokes, and had frequent audience interaction.

We saw The Monkees June 13th, 2001 at the Fort Wayne Embassy (with some of the same band members).
That was a great concert, but this was a more “personal” overall experience.
Especially since we got to meet him and get our pictures taken with him!


———————


AND here are some general pix from Bearcreek Farms:


  

        


 

Plan B January 15, 2012


Plan B:  Further Thoughts On Faith
– Anne Lamott

I don’t usually read just for “pleasure” per se.  I read for information.  For education.  For enlightenment.  For growth.
When I read Anne Lamott, I’m reading for pleasure.  In the process, I also get information, education, enlightenment and growth.

This is my third Lamott book.  If you’ve read my review of “Grace (Eventually),” you could apply most of what I said concerning that book to this one. Here we find more of Anne’s trademark humor, insights, and commentary on society, life, and faith.

This is a collection of 24 essays.
Lots of wonderful, funny, sad, real-life stories of real-life faith.
Stories of her son, Sam.  Stories of  animosity toward her mother, and of dealing with her mother’s death.  A tale of her experience on a cruise ship.  Talk of spider monkeys.  Harvey Fierstein.  South Park.   Dame Edna.  Getting old.  Metamorphosis. Hope.
There’s also quite a bit of her politics here, and how her faith in Christ directly affects her political beliefs.

If you have ever read Anne Lamott, you’re most likely already a fan.  It’s hard for me to see how you could read her and NOT be a fan.
If you’ve not yet experienced her writings, check out this, or one of her other books.
You’re in for a real literary treat.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

———–

Some Quotes:

– Peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet.
– I see people rising up, resisting, gearing up for another fight for decency, for freedom, for the poor, for the earth.
– Listen to your broccoli, and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it. (The 2000 Year Old Man)
– [The Bible] is a centuries-long reality show — Moses the stutterer, Rahab the hooker, David the adulterer, Mary the homeless teenager. Not to mention all the mealy-mouthed disciples.
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– “Help” is a prayer that is always answered.
– It gets darker and darker, and then Jesus is born. (Wendell Berry)
– This is how we make important changes — barely, poorly, slowly. [This is certainly how it has been for me (df)]
– I don’t know much about God; only that He or She is love, and is not American or male. I do love Jesus, and I’m nuts about his mother.
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– You don’t always get what you want. You get what you get.
– You can either practice being right or practice being kind.
– Everyone has come to understand that unconditional love is a reality, but with a shelf-life of about eight to ten seconds.
– If you want to change the way you feel about people, you have to change the way you treat them.
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– I was so angry with and afraid of the right wing in this country that it was making me mentally ill.
– Rule 1: When all else fails, follow instructions. Rule 2: Don’t be an asshole.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.


——————————-
Also check out “Grace (Eventually),”
and “Traveling Mercies.”
——————————-

 

Abomination July 21, 2011


    I’ve often heard things like
“Yeah, he say’s he’s a Christian, but he drinks beer and cusses.”
How about instead,
“Yeah, he says he’s a Christian, but he doesn’t feed the hungry, or stand for equality.”

Or maybe,
“Yeah, he says he’s a pro-life Christian, but he doesn’t stand against the death penalty or torture.”

Or,
“Yeah, he says he’s a Christian, but he still thinks the church is a building, and on some level, grace has to be earned.”

I could do this all day, but the point is obvious:
The way religion has twisted the gospel is truly an abomination.

 

Bill Maher on Christianity & Osama bin Laden May 17, 2011

[The following is a transcript of a Bill Maher monolog.
I’m not necessarily a big fan, but I think he pretty much nails this one.
If you click on his picture, it should take you to a Facebook page with the video segment]

{Explicit Language Warning}



New rule: if you’re a Christian who supports killing your enemies and torture, you have to come up with a new name for yourself.


Last week, as I was explaining why I didn’t feel at all guilty about Osama’s targeted assassination, I made some jokes about Christian hypocrisy and since then strangers have been coming up to me and forcing me to have the same conversation.

So let me explain two things. One, I’m not Matthew McConaughey. He surfs a long board.

And two, capping thine enemy is not exactly what Jesus would do. It’s what Suge Knight would do.


For almost 2,000 years, Christians have been lawyering the Bible to try and figure out how “love thy neighbor” can mean “hate thy neighbor” and how “turn the other cheek” can mean “screw you I’m buying space lasers.”


Martin Luther King gets to call himself a Christian because he actually practiced loving his enemies.

And Ghandi was so fucking Christian he was Hindu.

But if you rejoice in revenge, torture and war – hey, that’s why they call it the weekend – you cannot say you’re a follower of the guy who explicitly said, “love your enemies” and “do good to those who hate you.” The next line isn’t “and if that doesn’t work, send a titanium fanged dog to rip his nuts off.”

Jesus lays on that hippie stuff pretty thick. He has lines like, “do not repay evil with evil,” and “do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you.” Really. It’s in that book you hold up when you scream at gay people.


And not to put too fine a point on it, but nonviolence was kind of Jesus’ trademark. Kind of his big thing. To not follow that part of it is like joining Greenpeace and hating whales.


There’s interpreting, and then there’s just ignoring.


It’s just ignoring if you’re for torture – as are more evangelical Christians than any other religion. You’re supposed to look at that figure of Christ on the cross and think, “how could a man suffer like that and forgive?” Not, “Romans are pussies, he still has his eyes.”

If you go to a baptism and hold the baby under until he starts talking, you’re missing the message.


Like, apparently, our president, who says he gets scripture on his Blackberry first thing every morning, but who said on 60 Minutes that anyone who would question that Bin Laden didn’t deserve an assassination should, “have their head examined.”

Hey Fox News! You missed a big headline; Obama thinks Jesus is nuts!

To which I say, “hallelujah,” because my favorite new government program is surprising violent religious zealots in the middle of the night and shooting them in the face. Sorry Head Start, you’re number 2 now.

But I can say that because I’m a non-Christian.

Just like most Christians.


Christians, I know, I’m sorry, I know you hate this and you want to square this circle, but you can’t.

I’m not even judging you, I’m just saying logically if you ignore every single thing Jesus commanded you to do, you’re not a Christian – you’re just auditing.

You’re not Christ’s followers, you’re just fans.

And if you believe the Earth was given to you to kick ass on while gloating, you’re not really a Christian – you’re a Texan.


http://videos.mediaite.com/embed/player/?layout=&playlist_cid=&media_type=video&content=7J95QL1XT110LF4Q&read_more=1&widget_type_cid=svp

 

Love Wins March 31, 2011

Love Wins
A Book About Heaven, Hell, and
the Fate of Every Person Who ever Lived
— Rob Bell

NOW IN PAPERBACK!

Love Wins

The first thing that really needs to be pointed out:
Despite all the focus on the “hell” issue, this book, as it declares of itself, explores “a fairly vast expanse of topics.” Everything from “heaven and hell to God, Jesus, joy, violence,and the good news.”  Even the “age of accountability” is discussed.  It’s one of those issues where there are a lot of differing views. People like to agree that there is one, but no one knows what it is.  Mostly because it’s not in the Bible. We’ve created it so God has a good “out.” Now He doesn’t have to send babies to hell.

As with Bell’s previous books, there is plenty of historical and cultural context of the biblical narrative. I love that kind of material. It adds so much to proper understanding. It also tears down a lot of false beliefs.

We look at, not only the original language and meaning of words, but just as importantly, how the letters and stories of scripture were received and understood by the original audience. There is, to me, simply no true understanding of scripture without getting out of (as much as possible) the American Western mind-set.

I’ve said before that with over forty-thousand “Christian” denominations(1), most of whom disagree with each other, and still claiming to “just believe the Bible,” it should be obvious we’ve missed something major in our understanding and approach to our faith.

In “Love Wins” Rob asks which “God,” which “Jesus” we believe in. Some believe in a god who has them fly planes into towers. Some believe in a god who stands behind government sanctioned torture, if that’s what it takes to ensure our “freedom.”  Some believe in a Jesus that says, “Love your enemies.”  Some believe in a Jesus that says, “Blow them away in the Name of the Lord.”
I hear lots of Christians spouting things of which the God I know would NEVER be a part.

There’s much discussion of our responsibility to each other and to the Earth we were given to care for.  We see how much of the view “end-times” theology leads to disrespect and ill-will for others and our planet.

Then there’s this:  If I’m sent to “preach the gospel.”  What happens if I have a flat tire?  Will you go to hell because I didn’t get to you in time?
Is your salvation my responsibility?  If I’m to blame, how can you be held accountable.
(Reminder:  This is a book review.  Please do not send me responses to these questions without reading the book.  Thank you.)

Much of the religious furor and un-godly hatred toward Mr. Bell revolves around his writings about hell.
His discussion and views of heaven and hell are not new to me, so this book didn’t seem at all controversial. It probably would have at one time.
Early in this part of my journey, I felt disgust for ever being a person who could have believed many of the “monster-God” things I used to believe. This book addresses that, and helps us know that all of our journey is to be seen as necessary. It’s all a part of where we are now.
I’m not Samantha or Jeannie. I can’t instantly get to Indy from Fort Wayne. The only way to make that trip is to travel the space and time between here and there. Rob helps us see that all of that journey is sacred.

One of the things “Love Wins” does is help us examine the revelation of God in Christ in comparison to our various understandings of God. Will we believe “our version” of the divine story, or that of the Father?
In this context, we take a fresh look at the biblical story of the father and his two sons (often misleadingly called the story of the prodigal son). There are some truly great insights here.

This book is written in Rob’s usual style. Some have found fault with the very way he writes. I find it one of the things I greatly enjoy. His humor is also still intact.

Since so much has already been written about “Love Wins,” I’ve tried to keep this short; at least compared with my various “chapter by chapter” reviews.
This book is about so many things. But they all boil down to what kind of God we believe in. And, as Rob points out, whatever God we believe in, that’s the God we WILL be conformed to. That can be wonderful. That can be horrific.

PLEASE, don’t miss out on this book because of all the naysayers. I hope you NEVER avoid reading something because someone “warns” you about it. That may be one of the best indications you need to read it. Even if you don’t agree with it. Maybe, “especially” if you don’t agree with it.

Bottom line. I loved this book.
And I thank God that love wins.

-df

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

——————-

What Others Say:

Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God’s love and God’s judgment: Has God created billions of people over thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell? Is this acceptable to God? How is this “good news”?

Troubling questions—so troubling that many have lost their faith because of them. Others only whisper the questions to themselves, fearing or being taught that they might lose their faith and their church if they ask them out loud.

But what if these questions trouble us for good reason? What if the story of heaven and hell we have been taught is not, in fact, what the Bible teaches? What if what Jesus meant by heaven, hell, and salvation are very different from how we have come to understand them?

What if it is God who wants us to face these questions?

Author, pastor, and innovative teacher Rob Bell presents a deeply biblical vision for rediscovering a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. The result is the discovery that the “good news” is much, much better than we ever imagined.  (Amazon Product Description)
—————–

“One of the nation’s rock-star-popular young pastors, Rob Bell, has stuck a pitchfork in how Christians talk about damnation.” (USA Today )

Buy the book. Click HERE.

—————–

Some Quotes:

There is no question that Jesus cannot handle, no discussion too volatile, no issue too dangerous.

The discussion itself is divine.  Jesus responds to almost every question he’s asked with…
a question.

When we hear that a certain person has “rejected Christ,” we should first ask, “Which Christ?”
Some Jesuses should be rejected.

Honest business, redemptive art, honorable law, sustainable living, medicine, education, making a home, tending a garden – they’re all sacred tasks to be done in partnership with God now, because they will all go on in the age to come. In heaven, on earth. A proper view of heaven leads not to escape from the world, but to full engagement with it.

The big words, the important words — “eternal life,” “treasure,” “heaven” — were all there in the conversation, but they weren’t used in the ways that many Christians use them.

“Here it is, a big beautiful fascinating world,” God says, “Do something with it!”

Jesus doesn’t tell people how to “go to heaven.”  It wasn’t what Jesus came to do.

In Jesus’s first-century Jewish world, they did not talk about a future life somewhere else.

Jesus makes no promise that in the blink of an eye we will suddenly become totally different people who have vastly different tastes, attitudes, and perspectives.

There’s a point to what the prophet interprets and understands to be God’s anger and wrath.”  It’s to teach the people, to correct them, to produce something new in them.

The God that Jesus teaches us about doesn’t give up until everything that was lost is found.

We aren’t fixed, static beings — we change and morph as life unfolds.

A discussion about how to “just get into heaven” has no place in the life of a disciple of Jesus, because it’s missing the point of it all. It’s a cheap view of the world, because it’s a cheap view of God. It’s the gospel of goats, and it is lethal.

People choose to live in their own hells all the time.

Death, then resurrection.  This is true for ecosystems, food chains, the seasons — it’s true all across the environment.  Death gives way to life.

There is exclusivity [you’re in or you’re out].  There is inclusivity [Jesus doesn’t matter anymore].
Then there is an exclusivity on the other side of inclusivity.  This kind insists that Jesus is the way, [but that not all] those coming to the Father through him will even know that they are coming exclusively through him.

We believe all sorts of things about ourselves.  What the gospel does is confront our version of our story with God’s version of our story.

Many have heard the gospel framed in terms of rescue…that Jesus rescues us from God.  We do not need to be rescued from God.  God is the rescuer.

We shape our God, and then our God shapes us.

Our beliefs matter.

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(1) According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions of denominations in different countries, so there is overlapping of many denominations.
Center for the Study of Global Christianity (2011)

 

 
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