This evening Rob Bell (author of Velvet Elvis, Sex God, and my personal favorite Drops Like Stars) did a live stream about his new book Love Wins. Luckily I was on Facebook at the right time and noticed a friend had posted a link about it. I want to reflect on the interview and the controversy that seems to have followed the book.
First, he talked a lot about Heaven, Hell, and Salvation. Most of what he said challenged me to think and a lot of his responses I agreed with. He asked the question about Heaven “How do we bring ‘there’ here?” (ie Heaven on Earth). This is one thing I wonder often, why are people so cruel, why can’t we be nice to one another and be in Heaven now? He also talked about a “human ache” for something better. We strive for a longing of change, that this (the world) isn’t it. He said this ache is part of what creates art. I think this ache also gets people to change. Great movements were started because something bad was happening. The Civil Rights Movement started because people were angry they were being treated unfairly. Water has been provided to countries that previously did not have clean water because someone got angry that people would be without such a necessity.
Second, was his response to works vs faith. He asked the question “Do you actually think this is a great story?” I believe that if you actually believe the story of Jesus that the question of works vs faith doesn’t matter because if you believe the story, you will live the story.
A few other bullets that I am not going to respond to but for you to think about…
He responded to a question about Matthew 7:13-14 and I thought explained it beautifully, putting it in layman’s terms. He basically said life is hard and we have to work at it everyday. The example he gave was marriage and that you are deeply in love with this person and yet everyday there is something that could hurt it, marriage is hard and you have to be intentional to make it successful.
Another question was about getting to heaven (the exact question, I don’t remember) and Bell said “He (Jesus) is very exclusive and yet fantastically inclusive.” How many times in the Bible are we shocked by something Jesus does? This answer touches on that.
One thing Bell did say that I don’t agree with is “God gives us what we want.” I was so distracted that he said this that I did not completely hear his explanation but I still do not believe this. There are several things I want that I don’t have. There are many things I don’t have that I think it is probably good I don’t have. Maybe his explanation would have given me more insight into why he said this because I think he, like most anyone has enough life experience to know “you don’t always get what you want.”
I love that the last question fit so perfectly with it being the end of the interview. I also love that Rob Bell challenged people to read their Bible and ask yourself what God are you serving. Are you serving a God that needs Child Protective Services called on him or are you serving a God that loves you and there is nothing you can do that would make Him love you less.
I believe the latter.