Archive for the ‘Rob Bell’ Category

Watch Nooma | Shells Free

From the guys at Nooma:

We’ll be streaming NOOMA 020 | Shells on the NOOMA Facebook Group page from Monday, May 19th at 12 noon EST to Wednesday, May 21st at 12 noon EST.

NOOMA 020 | Shells will be available at NOOMA.com on Monday, May 19th and will ship on or before June 10th. This film will also be available soon in retail stores and through many of your favorite online retailers.

Thanks for watching and inviting your friends to preview our newest film in the Rob Bell series of NOOMA.

Click here to see the video.


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If you didn’t see this presentation by Rob Bell you missed something important.  This was one of the more defining discussions for me in terms of understanding the cultural component of when the Bible was written.  And it means A LOT.

The insights into religion from this discussion still resonate with me today.

My review here.

Get it here.

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In the spirit of the new book, Why We’re Not Emergent, the accompanying website, and this post, I thought I’d present the Top 50 Possible Reasons Why You’re Not Emergent.


50. They’re all a bunch of false prophets. Really, that’s what they told me

49. My mother will disown me.

48. I just don’t like Doug Pagitt. He scares me.

47. I heard from a famous pastor that Emergent is from the debil.

46. I don’t like Rob Bell’s hair.

45. The word Emergent is not in the Bible.

44. It’s just not allowed in the Vanderhoeven family.

43. I heard Calvin would simply not approve

42. Mark Driscoll told me I couldn’t.

41. I’m just not “certain” yet it’s the right way to go.

40. I heard from this guy who knew this lady who had a brother who was Emergent and he went blind doing it.

39. I enjoy being a skeptic.

38. I didn’t learn about Emergent in seminary so I’m not going to start now.

37. I like being on the bigger team.

36. I heard you had to take yoga.

35. I’ve heard from a famous prison ministry guy they don’t believe in the Bible.

34. Where would I be without absolute truth.

33. Tony Jones went to Princeton Theological Seminary…that liberal.

32. They didn’t teach this in Alpha.

31. I’m not white.

30. I’m over 40.

29. I don’t have any cool, black eyeglasses.

28. I don’t like coffee or Guinness.

27. It’s immoral to smoke pipes or cigars.

26. They haven’t yet come up with my denomination of Presbymergent

25. Emergents read unapproved books.

24. I’m allergic to candles.

23. I like Jesus but not Emergent.

22. Brian McLaren’s books are not theologically correct. I’m not sure why, I just know they are.

21. I like my Christianity strong and hot.

20. The orthodoxy police will bust me.

19. I’m not uber-cool. In fact, I don’t even know what “uber” means.

18. I don’t understand it and I don’t want to.

17. If it doesn’t have the letters SBC in it, I’m not interested.

16. All they want to do is love. Where’s the truth in that?

15. I’m a bullhorn type of guy.

14. I prefer Joel Osteen.

13. I just finally bought into fundamentalism and you want me to shift?

12. I don’t really want a generous orthodoxy.

11. I refuse to switch to Apple

10. I can’t. I go to John MacArthur’s church.

9. My friends will think I’m a heretic.

8. I already was a New (Kind of) Christian.

7. I refuse to grow a soul patch

6. Hell fire and brimstone works just fine, thank you.

5. I don’t like loud, rock music at church. It’s a sin.

4. Their hermeneutic of ecclesiology is unorthodox, fundamentally esoteric and meandering. It borders on epistemological ambiguity that is really troublesome. I’m afraid it will lead to heretical uncertainty of the most pernicious kind.

3. But then I might have to really have faith.

2. Brian McLaren is the debil.

And the number one possible reason Why You’re Not Emergent is:

1. The emerging church is so yesterday.


Just in case you were wondering. The answer is yes, this is humor.

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As I read that title it sounds so exploitative but it’s not for cheap thrills and readers. I really mean to go somewhere with this so stick with me.

I’m a huge believe in the value of technology. I bought my first Apple computer for $3,000 buck back in 1983. And since then I’ve seen technology literally change lives. It has so much potential and promise. Technology can be used to do great things in the world, one of which has been the empowerment of the average person with the ability to communicate. Email used to be so cool and now I send or receive on average of 50 electronic letters a day. Youtube disperses anything that is buzzworthy in a moments notice. Facebook is connecting me with people I haven’t seen in 15 years. And the podcast…I’m really beginning to wonder if this little invention won’t be the biggest technological monster of them all.

About two years ago I bought an iPod because I wanted to listen to Rob Bell sermon’s. With iTunes they eventually became instantly delivered to my computer. I didn’t have to go get them. And over time I began to rely on them, even feeling at times that I was more connected to Mars Hill than my own local church.

And then a good friend of mine, Paul Mayers, wrote this,

“I can find podcasts galore to download of top preachers from all over the world.”

And his statement made me really think for a second. Are other people doing the same thing as me? And yes they are. In droves. The Mars Hill podcast is the second most requested podcast in the Christian category. And I’m sure there are others as well. People are beginning outside their local church because of this technology simply because they now can.

But the nature of podcasting has changed the way we interact with our local body. It’s tight, cost-effective to produce, portable, and cheap to distribute. Television or video can’t reach that level of simplicity.

And then I really got chills thinking…in twenty years are there going to be a significant amount of people who derive a large portion of their spiritual dialog and discipleship from podcast? Is the next trend of church hopping to simply move to the podcast?

Paul asks,

“…after all with me and Jesus why do I need church anyway? It’s a much better investment of my time and energy to go and hang out with people i like who don’t go to church and be a missionary in my community.”

And I know it won’t replace the need for community but it will allow people access to quality teachers…that live thousands of miles away. So I’m wondering if when all is said and done this simply little technology will be one of the most significant player sin the reformation of the church?

What do you think?

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In Time magazine’s article on Rob Bell, David Van Biema references a quote from the Chicago Sun Times about Rob,

“That itch scratched, Bell, whom the Chicago Sun-Times has called an heir to Billy Graham”

I couldn’t find the original article. It seems to have been archived or removed but is widely referenced. But the comment begs the question. Is Rob the next Billy Graham? With Billy’s failing health, is Rob poised to step into his shoes. I think so but not for the reasons you may think. And here’s why.

Billy is an icon/hero for so many people. Billy’s strength was that people trusted him. He had tremendous credibility established over a long period of time. He was a trusted voice that people listened to. But Billy followed a more traditional approach to evangelism (large crowds, charismatic message, altar call). Billy was not the first to invent this process but his passion and charisma (and the Holy Spirit) reached a generation. He is widely considered to have spoken live to more people about Christ than anyone.

Rob to me is different. Rob is a speaker with a large audience but his message and medium are different. He’s really good at reframing the conversation in ways that people aren’t used to but resonate with. Velvet Elvis did this. Sex God is another example. Who writes a book about God and Sex? And yet Rob did. He broke down barriers with that book, even if it wasn’t as good as it could have been. His podcast is one of the most downloaded on iTunes. Nooma created an entirely new way of preaching. It’s his creativity that is refreshing. I’ve seen Rob in person for Everything Is Spiritual and The Gods Aren’t Angry, and in person at the Isn’t She Beautiful conference at Mars Hill. Rob brings the same passion that Billy did but his medium is more postmodern. From my perspective Rob is more interested in a more wholistic approach to following Jesus. And I’ve never seen Rob give an altar call but I have seen him call 2,000 people to find healing at the foot of the cross.

But the question may not be one of content or style. The question may be one of speaking for a generation. And this is where I think the comparison is valid. The church is looking for people who can communicate effectively for a larger audience. Billy did that and Rob is now doing that. He’s communicating a more wholistic approach to Christianity. It’s fresh but it’s old in a way that is new. He’s framing Christianity as an active following of Jesus in words AND deed. And like Billy he’s backing it up with his own community. I don’t hear people jumping on Rob’s bandwagon because Rob is a cool speaker. I hear people listening because he’s providing a fresh perspective that is resonating in a deeper way.

– As an aside, I used to think that Bill Hybels would follow Billy in the role of speaking for a generation but now I’m not so sure (and not because of Reveal). Bill is predominantly modern in his framework and is waning in terms of influence. Mark Driscoll has the charisma but is too polarizing. Brian McLaren also has charisma but is just too controversial. –

What do you think?

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Nice Rob Bell Article


Nice article on Rob Bell in Time Magazine. (ht)

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Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Rob Bell’s “The Gods Aren’t Angry” tour. The presentation was different from Everything Is Spiritual, but it was important.

When we arrived at the The Grand Ballroom, I had to laugh. Rob was being picketed by a group of guys like he was a some porn show or something. They were friendly but they had big signs reminding people of their condemnation. Oh well.

The Grand is an intimate college type venue off of Van Ness in San Francisco, which was perfect. Any larger and it would have taken away from the presentation. Rob felt accessible here. The crowd inside was electric.

The presentation began with a story about the nature of relating to forces that we assume affect our lives. In 4,000 BC the forces that moved around humanity were assumed to have a very real affect on the lives of people. Over time, humanity began to erect names for these forces, or gods. The nature of these gods created a paradox. If our lives depended on the gods for rain, etc, then we had better appease them. Rituals were created by people who had supposedly figured out how to appease the gods. The common method was an offering of some sort. Some gods could be appeased by a grain offering. Others needed blood. Other’s needed important male body parts (I’m not kidding). Molech needed children. The problem became that humanity could never really figure out how to appease the gods and ended up giving more and more and more.

It was then that Rob began to explain the nature of Abraham and Isaac. He brought up a really good point about why it appears Abraham is just willing to do so. The reality was that Abraham lived in this god culture where sacrifice was expected. I was considered normal during that day. His point was that God was showing Abraham he didn’t want his son as a sacrifice and offered a ram instead. God’s invitation was to Abraham was relate in a real way. This was unheard of in his day.

Rob then began discussing the nature of the sacrificial system as a ritual to appease the conscience of man. He talked about the many verses where God doesn’t need our sacrifice. So what was the sacrifice then about. It was about appeasing our own conscience. The ritual was a reminder of our own forgiveness and putting away the shame. Unfortunately the Sadducee’s had created an industry out of the ritual and were distorting its purpose. The offering of Jesus was then a way to reform the old way and do away with sacrifice. Rob talked a lot about how much of our life is still about appeasing the gods. He talked about the nature of Christ’s death was to do away with God’s anger. The early church kept rituals as a way of reminding themselves of what Jesus did on the cross. They kept one great offering though. That was to “do good.”

The last part was about how we make this last offering. Rob offered story after story about how we transform the world around us through love. It felt very much like an ending to a Nooma video with the music accompanying his message. His last words I believe were, “May you remember that God is love.”

I walked away with a very real impression that if you still were into religion, this was going to mess with your head. I found it to be a very liberating reminder not to get sucked back into trying to please God and embrace that He already loves me.

You can catch a snipper of Rob from the tour here. Rob starts about 1:27.

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