Here are three things I loved about Rob Bell’s latest, What We Talk About When We Talk About God.
Rob Bell is a gifted writer. You may hate all the margin space in the book. You may hate the
And I get it. But a Rob Bell book is not a Amish romance or a Christian inspiration or a dense work of theology. It’s a Rob Bell book. He writes like he speaks and he speaks more like a poet than a professor. And it’s actually rather beautiful if you sit with it a while.
We’re made of dust and we come from the stars. (Kindle location 664)
I move more slowly than I used to because I don’t want to miss anything. I find more and more beauty and meaning in everyday, average moments that I would have missed before. I need fewer answers because I see more. (Kindle location 1528)
At times, it felt like the words of the book broke out into prayer. And maybe they did. I found the book prayerful and encouraging of a prayerful posture. Whatever qualms you have about Rob Bell, and I’m sure you have some, Rob affirms a God who is at work in this world – in individuals, in systems, in communities, etc. A Resurrected God. Living, moving, breathing, acting.
And an active, breathing, moving, living and resurrected God is a God worth talking and praying to.
God is in the best,
and also in the worst.
God is in the presence,
and also in the absence,
God is in the power,
and also in the powerlessness.
God is there, too. (Kindle location 1738)
Because there’s always something more,
depth and fullness and life,
all of it a gift from the God who is with us. (Kindle location 1528)
This is where people get antsy. “He’s too positive.” “He doesn’t believe in judgment.” “He’s a softie-liberal neo-orthodox cotton-headed ninnymuggins.”
Sure, I understand what you’re saying. But good news is supposed to sound like good news to those who recognize a need for good news. And how we frame the story has an awful lot to do with whether the news sounds good or bad. To a great many people who ‘have ears to hear,’ the old ways we have framed the good news do not sound so good anymore. There’s all kinds of creative work to be done thinking theologically and communicatively about the gospel and the language we choose to use when we talk about God and the gospel.
[Jesus] is living, breathing evidence that God wants everybody, everyone, to be rescued, renewed, and reconciled to ourselves, our neighbors, our world, and God. (Kindle location 1720)
Gospel is grace, and grace is a gift. You don’t earn a gift; you simply receive it. You don’t make it happen; you wake up to what has already happened. (Kindle location 1644)
The peace we are offered is not a peace that is free from tragedy, illness, bankruptcy, divorce, depression, or heartache. It is a peace rooted in the trust that the life Jesus gives us is deeper, wider, stronger, and more enduring than whatever our current circumstances are, because all we see is not all there is and the last word about us and our struggle has not yet been spoken. (Kindle location 1779)