Rob Bell

Even Thor Owns an iPod

This is a comic I purchased recently and I find it completely erroneous. This is Thor an Asgardian God of Thunder listening to an iPod. Yes, they are everywhere evidently. However the message the illustrator, Marko Djurdjevic portrays is epic. We have here the image of a god that is leaving his people, leaving the world he knows and entering into a new one. However, this is not what Paul has in mind. God doesnʼt leave us in our suffering. God joins us in our suffering, he yells right beside us as it is evident by his actions on the cross. Our sufferings bring us solidarity with Christ. To be in Christ, then, is to possess what is often spoke of as full salvation: everything necessary to our past, present, future and eternal welfare has been secured for us by the action of God in Christ and is stored up in Christ for us to share and enjoy. But, it is not only benefits and blessings that are in Christ; we are in Him ourselves.

Jurgen Moltmann and many others that continued his theological thoughts within the Emergent Church have adapted what they call a hope filled eschatology. Meaning it was good news when Jesus came the first time, and it will be good news when he comes again. Moltmann echos Paulʼs hope in his greeting when he wrote about Auschwitz.

“…Like the cross of Christ, even Auschwitz is in God himself. Even Auschwitz is taken up into the grief of the father, the surrender of the Son and the power of the Spirit… As Paul says in 1 Cor. 15, only with the resurrection of the dead, the murdered and the gassed, only with the healing of those in despair who bear lifelong wounds, only with the abolition of all rule and authority, only with the annihilation of death will the Son hand over the kingdom to the father. Then God will turn his sorrow into eternal joy… God in Auschwitz and Auschwitz in the crucified God – that is the basis for a real hope which both embraces and overcomes the world, and the ground for a love which is stronger than death and can sustain death.”

1 Cor. 15 from The Message says this,

“If corpses canʼt be raised, then Christ wasnʼt, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ werenʼt raised, then all youʼre doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. Itʼs even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because theyʼre already in their graves. If all we get out out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, weʼre a pretty sorry lot. But, the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.”

The hope of the resurrection sees a future for those who have past, and those that are living in the present can gain courage for the future. It is because of this abundant hope of overcoming death, our little hope for the future, better times can strength, and do not fall victim to doubt and cynicism. In the midst of a culture filled with anxiety and doubt, we hope and do not give ourselves up to despair.

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Servanthood and Paul

Verse One, Paul and Timothy servants of Christ Jesus… wait servants of Christ Jesus is a little bit of an odd greeting.

What do they mean by servants?

Isnʼt the term “Servant” negative in connotation?

The only servant that I could think of well writing this is Alfred Pennyworth. The trusted butler to the one and only Bruce Wayne. keeper of the Wayne household even before little Brucey was potty trained. Well taken care of by billionaire Bruce Wayne and at most times the sole confidant Alfred was, to Master Bruce. Actually this is not the only servant that I could think of after this summer. The children in Uganda are all to aware of the strife contained in being servants. These children are taken in the night to fight in a war that has drastically changed their culture. These are the Invisible Children of Uganda and if you ever want to know more just come chat with me anytime.

But, why does Paul insert this negative image in a greeting? It seems as if Paul is already letting the people of Philipi and the reader aware of a couple of major themes to his letter, First there is an attack being made on the church, which leads into the second theme of the hope of a better day. Very applicable to the Invisible Children and any other servants out there. A hope of change, a hope of unity and a hope of a future.

The image I think of when I hear the term servant is suffering. The importance in the greeting is not found in the word “servant”, but how Paul finishes the greeting. He addresses the people of Philipi not as Philippians, as he does in chapter four, but instead he calls them saints … in essence he is calling them Christians. Yet again though, the importance is not in the title it is in the thought of the greeting. Paul is getting at the very centre of Christian belief, there is creativity, meaning, and hope in the fulfillment of suffering.

Tonight in Toronto – Drops Like Stars Tour

We plot, we plan, we assume things are going to go
A certain way and then they don’t and we find ourselves
In a new place, a place we haven’t been before, a place
We never would have imagined on our own,

And so it was difficult and unexpected and maybe even
Tragic and yet it opened us up and freed us to see
Things in a whole new way

Suffering does that—
It hurts,
But it also creates.

How many of the most significant moments in your
Life came not because it all went right, but because
It all fell apart?

It’s strange how there can be art in the agony…

The Drops Like Stars tour is a two
Hour exploration of the endlessly complex
Relationship between suffering and creativity—
And I’d love to see you there.

ht to www.robbell.com

Today is Rob Bell Day

Well, only a little. drops+like+stars

I have been waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

It seems like forever, but the book that has

eluded me for so long is finally in my hands.

It’s huge!!! (Literally.)

Tomorrow, I will post a review on his previous book Jesus Wants to Save Christians. The post in its original form can be found at ThinkYouthMinistry as I am a contributing blogger for them.

Well, I am off to a wedding shower and it is supposed to be a hot one outside today… better not forget the sunscreen!

Jesus Wants to Save Christians

First off, I’d like to state that although I am extremely positive about this book and the author, I did indeed  read other reviews to consider some other perspectives. So, in retrospect, my views are not completely unaffected by outside sources. On that note, my favorite quote comes from Chapter Six where Rob Bell states: “A church is not an organization that surveys its demographic to find out what the market is demanding at this particular moment and then adjusts its strategy to meet that consumer niche.”

In a time of buzz words and societal conformity, I find this statement refreshing. The honesty in verbalizing the need to let the words and teachings of Jesus be the “hook” that brings people into the church is what will allow people to come to a personal relationship with Him. As for conforming to our culture, I truly believe that the draw for our students – to keep them coming to church and youth programs – is allowing them to experience something that is beyond what they get in their homes, on their computer, or within their schools.

 

A fresh, honest experience delving into the words of Jesus is what they are yearning for.

I think that if they were not looking for a relationship with Jesus, as well as fellowship with other believers, they would not be attending.

 

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:22-25 in the Message or page 159-60 in the book.)

 

As for the writing style of Rob Bell, whether for or against the short passages, my family and I came to think of it as a written account of the spoken word – almost an oral history of sorts. His syntax is very much a mirror of the spoken word used to account the history of the Israelites. This, unfortunately, is disrupted by those who choose to critique his style rather than excepting it as a reinvention of an ancient technique.

 

Throughout the book, the current state of the church in society is equated with Israel as they were as slaves in Egypt, Israel as they were in exile, and Israel in their post-exilic state. The authors continually talk about a “new exodus” idea where God will rescue his people from slavery and oppression once again. The primary proposition of the book is that Christians need to remember the poor, give thought to the oppressed, and work toward healing the perception of the church in mainstream society.
I would recommend this book in terms of a personal read. I wouldn’t say this is a necessary tool for youth work, but it is a great social commentary on the culture that surrounds us and, at times, penetrates the church. (See quotes below.) If you are looking for resource material, this book is of the wrong genre, however helpful and insightful.

The new humanity is not a trend.

Or when a church is known for attracting one particular kind of demographic, like people of this particular age and education level, or that particular social class or personality type. There’s obviously nothing wrong with the powerful bonds that are shared when you meet up with your own tribe, and hear thins in a language you understand, and cultural references are made that you are familiar with, but when sameness takes over,

when everybody shares the same story,

when there is no listening to other perspectives,

no stretching and expanding and opening up—that’s when the new humanity is in trouble

A church is not a center for religious goods and services, where people pay a fee and receive a product in return. A church is not an organization that surveys its demographic to find out what the market is demanding at this particular moment and then adjusts its strategy to meet that consumer niche.

The way of Jesus is the path of descent. It’s about our death. It’s our willingness to join the world in its suffering, it’s our participation in the new humanity, it’s our weakness calling out to others in their weakness