Person after person that I have talked with have commented that this is the way church ought to be. Walking in the door there were smiling faces, tables of food, wine flowing, great live music. Right away you knew you were entering a party and you were welcome.
Certainly an interesting atmosphere for a church service, I must say. I haven't seen all of the movie "Dumb and Dumber" (a fact for which I have no regrets), but maybe from the snips I have seen or from somewhere else, there is the quote that comes to mind when I read that, "and the beer flowed like wine".
Seriously, the sheer shallowness of those statements is laughably pathetic. People the world over risk life and limb to meet with other Christians and worship God and learn about Him, and these over here say that church should be like a party. Sad.
But, that's not my point for writing this. My point has to do with this.
He asked Rob Bell to talk about his new book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians (Zondervan) coming out in Fall 2008 Everyone there loved his talk, so much to think about.
Quite a...provocative title. It reminds me of a couple of things, from that (in)famous interview he gave a few months back for Relevant Magazine.
One thing that it reminded me of just now is this.
Secondly, I have not set out to be shocking or controversial. That's a horrid goal--and, I believe, a very unredemptive one.
Well, it's all well and good for him to say that; however, if you're going to name your book Jesus Wants to Save Christians, then you probably just put paid to the idea that your not trying to be shocking and controversial.
(In fact, probably naming his last book Sex God showed how that statement really just doesn't hold water)
The second has to do with this statement, which is actually in that same answer.
...when followers of Jesus can think of nothing better to do with their time than to pick apart and shred to pieces the work of other followers of Jesus who are trying to do something about the world, that's tragic, and I don't owe those people anything...When a Christian can find nothing better to do with their time in the face of this much pain and heartbreak, you start realizing that some Christians need to be saved.
So, does this mean that Bell and Co. are finally going to drop the facades? Does the title of his book imply that he will tell us straight-out that he thinks us orthodox evangelical types who are more concerned about beliefs then nice feelings and know that the Bible tells us there is a hell and that salvation is found by grace through faith in Christ and don't say that the Dalai Lama is all that holy and don't think that diapers are an assault on the earth, that people like us are really not even really Christians?
I'd welcome it. From a confirmed and dedicated postmodern as him, I would so welcome such a clear statement.
Of course, that's a lot to take from just a title. Still, there does seem to be a trend.
One other concern of mine is, has the Vineyard been hijacked by these people? I've visited one in Lexington a few times, and while it seemed ok, their small book section did have some things by Bell and a few other questionables in it. I hope not, I know some people in the Vineyard, in fact I went to a Vineyard church in Perm, and have a good bit of respect for them, and I'd hate to think they've either succumbed to this crap, or are fighting it in their own fellowship.