Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hope from Ghandi and Rob Bell???

Ghandi: “Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected”

SO TRUE!  It needs to be REAL love, not this, "I know more than you, so I HAVE to tell you. Because THAT is Love",  type of love. Which probably isn't really love at all, is it??

In Rob Bell's "controversial promo video" for his book, "Love Wins", he shared that they had an art show at the church he Pastors. In it, they featured a piece of art that had a quote from Ghandi on it, and that somebody put a sticky note right on it saying,  "Reality Check, Ghandi is in HELL!"  I've always wondered what the quote might have been, and I BET this might be the one!!

I found that Bell's book was not really so much about the doctrine of Hell. He gave some varying thoughts on the subject and I am perfectly happy to leave that whole discussion up to the "Big Boy Theologians."  I personally don't believe that having the "correct doctrine of Hell" has anything to do with receiving Christ. My "theology" is, I DON'T KNOW, and neither do you! The Pharisees thought THEY had it right for quite some time as well!!!  Jesus told them differently. They found that God, come in the flesh, had a COMPLETELY different theology than they.  So they hung Him on a cross.

I feel  the book, "Love Wins" was MORE to expose the total UN-Christlike, Pharisee-like and Loveless attitude that has become orthodox, Evangelical Christianity today in America and often gets confused for a corporation or perhaps politics or a "Who's Who Club" or perhaps... (well, you fill in the blank.)

  I for one thought that the book itself made that very fact play out in my own life as well as others I've known and attitudes I've seen and articles I've read.  Most people decided to give their comments on this book before it even hit the shelves! Simply based off the promo video. Isn't that often how quick we are to judge?

(From page 182 of Love Wins)  "Let's be clear then: we do not need to be rescued from God. God, is the One who rescues us from death, sin and destruction. God IS the rescuer.  This is crucial for our peace, because "we shape our God and then, our God Shapes us."  (He is talking here about the things we believe ABOUT God)... Inquisitions, persecutions, book burnings, blacklisting - when religious people become violent, it is because they have been shaped by their God, who is violent. We see this destructive behavior alive and well in the toxic, venomous nature of certain discussions and debates on the Internet.  For some, the highest form of allegiance to their God is to attack, defame and slander (in "love") others who don't articulate matters of faith as they do.
We shape our God and then our God shapes us. A distorted understanding of God, clung to with white knuckles and fierce determination, can leave a person outside the party, mad about a goat he has never gotten. (he's referring to the story of the Prodigal Son) without the thriving life Jesus insists is RIGHT HERE, all around us, all the time. Jesus was very clear that this destructive, violent understanding of God can easily be institutionalized - in churches, systems, and ideas...." 
Rob Bell was calling out to FELLOW Christ followers (and yes, I said FELLOW) to challenge them in this arena I believe. He was labeled a "False Teacher" and a "Heretic" and, OH MY... a "Universalist" for doing so! Interestingly enough, Rob Bell says himself that he is NOT a Universalist (though, I believe he would never condemn a fellow believer in Christ for having that belief). 

So therefore, if you were bold enough to pick up the book and like it and maybe even want to talk about it, you ALSO would be looked on as a heretic or a false teacher or just "that type we can't even discuss Jesus with." The backlash from that book is that people were shunned and shut out of certain places for even admitting that they felt the book was a good read.  I, was one of those people.

  If you've EVER listened to his sermons, you would see that the fruit of what he teaches is INDEED filled with Love, Joy, Peace... etc.  Maybe you would disagree with what he says or chose not to listen to this teaching and that is FINE... But to me, it is wrong on so many levels to drop the name "false teacher". It is one thing to say that a certain Christian teacher does not have teachings you agree with.  Believe me, I could list off quite a few of my own for you off the top of my head. I don't begrudge people the ability to comment on who they agree or disagree with, but I try to not throw around terms like Antichrist and Heretic or even False Teacher loosely. For crying out loud, Jesus told us we were not to even call another person a fool or you'd be in danger of, what was it?... Oh yeah, Hell!  Yikes.

Here is a video of Franklin Graham calling Rob Bell a False Teacher and Heretic.

Well... gosh... then we have Billy Graham saying the exact type of thing that Franklin is calling Bell a heretic for...  I'm SO confused!

So, do we get to call CS Lewis a heretic too??  Because when I read the book Love Wins, I basically thought what he was saying was similar to what Lewis shared in his book, The Great Divorce.

To me, Bell's biggest "sin" was to market his book with a little controversy.  Here is the promo video he made...

Here we have Rob Bell sharing his heart with his church after ALL the crazy backlash from the video.

The reason some Christians didn't like his whole message, I think, is because it rained on their parade! Made THEM be the ones to feel uncomfortable and squirm in their seat for a change. They would rather have the challenges from their teachers remain to address how often you read your bible, or have prayer time and the sin that is "the really bad stuff".  Because we like to sit in our pews and feel good about what great Christians we've become and how perfectly flawless we've made our religion, don't we??  We don't want the challenges in OUR life to be something we can't seem to attain.  I know I don't. Believe me, I KNOW I have NOT mastered Love, grace to others, forgiveness, mercy, etc... but the truth is that it is what I feel the True Call from my Father to be for me.

  So when Rob Bell comes along and challenges people with this new way of living out your faith, (which is not new at all in my opinion. WWJD?) Some people become defensive, because it CUTS to their heart.  (As the Word of God promises it would do!)  The Word as in Jesus, as well as the scriptures! You may want to take a look at the Gospels and see how the Pharisees reacted to Jesus' teachings.

The theme of the book Love Wins, in my mind is, "The Good News is BETTER than that!"  You hear this throughout the book. Here is Rob Bell's take on telling people about Jesus,
"When you've experienced the resurrected Jesus, the mystery hidden in the very fabric of creation, you CAN'T HELP but talk about Him.  You've tapped into the JOY that fills the entire universe, and so naturally you want others to meet this God.  This is a God WORTH telling people about!"  (from page 181)
For me, Rob Bell and Ghandi have given me hope.  Hope in the fact that Jesus continues to make Himself known throughout ages and cultures to hearts that WILL receive Him. Hope in the fact that Love and Truth and Mercy and Grace are what Jesus taught and lived and died and rose again for and that these things do NOT have to come with a Warning Label!  

It's a beautiful thing... It gives me hope!

Let me also point you in the direction of two of my other recent FAVORITE books...  "Messy Spirituality" by Mike Yaconelli
"The Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning

1 comment:

We have this Hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hebrews 6:19