Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rob Bell, Blogging, and Responsibility

I thought I owed everyone a reason the blogging has been almost non-existent. While there are always several factors, one major one sticks out for me. And yes it does involve Rob Bell. I have been absent from blogging to try and catch up on the trends in the culture so I am better prepared to pastor the church. For me, it meant less blog time. I am just not one of those guys who can do both.

Rob Bell is the perfect example. Now everyone should know that I believe in hell, and Rob Bell is clearly a heretic for denying it. When his book came out the blogosphere erupted in criticism, as it should have. But it should have done it 6 years ago or more when Bell admitted "hell was full of forgiven people" in his book Velvet Elvis. Or when he said the "gospel is you" in his Nooma Video series. But instead we waited until he was a huge mega pastor being invited on CNN to discuss his denial of hell that sparked Newsweek, Time, and the Washington Post to declare hell was dead. It is good he was soundly condemned, but it should have happened much earlier. How does this affect me?

Well, it started back in Herreid, SD. I heard of Rob Bell then. No kidding. A town of 488, and I heard about Rob Bell. Someone asked me about him, and I had never really heard of him. I found out he was associated with the Emergent stuff, and I gave the rejection of that. But the people in Herreid are unfamiliar with terms like Emergent, as I bet most are. But they are familiar with names like Rob Bell. I should have known if someone was known in Herreid, I should know about it. Then I came to Lincoln, NE. Here every youth in the high school class already knew of Rob Bell and asked to use his video series in class. Now I knew I had to do something. A pastor in Sutton had the series and a let me see it. Now, I was ready to talk to the people about it. But this is far too late. I need to be on top of things more. The youth also wanted to see more about Francis Chan, and we had to deal with that as well.

It was somewhere in here that I realized I was behind the curve. The people were exposed before I could get on top of new theological trends. I was reactive, not proactive. I have since trying to be more proactive.

My wife aided in this when she told me, "You need to read this." It was a book that was selling thousands of copies without any push from any publishing house. They were selling because her blog was a success. The blog and book is by Ann Voskamp. The book is called 1,000 Gifts. My wife said that all her "mommy bloggers" are reading it and referencing it. Since then Voskamp has been mentioned twice in World Magazine, and has even written a one page article for it. Voskamp is an emotional writer who will bother linear thinkers. She is emotional more than logical. She does not say anything awful, but her teaching comes more from experience with Scripture backing it up than Scripture informing her experience. She is going to display this way of thinking and living life for many. Anyway the point is that I am ahead of the curve rather than behind.

So, this has meant a lot more reading and a lot more discussions with people. I have been trying to catch up, and blogging is what got the ax. Hopefully I can be a little more active on the blog now, but I hope you will all understand the necessity of what I was doing and forgive the absence.