Monday, April 25, 2011

Rob Bell and those probing-question-askers

we are ALL far from perfect, correct? "We all fall short of God’s glorious standard." no one has it all together. no one's life is beyond criticism. no one knows everything or has all the right answers. not you, me, or even Rob Bell.

i want to be clear that i am not a "follower" of Rob Bell, but occasionally i enjoy listening to his teachings, and i really appreciate his new book --because in it he asks the questions and poses ideas that i have also asked/posed (before and after my salvation) which have been shut down, more-often-than-not, by fellow believers.

i understand the fear of probing questions and different ideas/interpretations, especially when it comes to faith and/or theology. but since God made us to be creatures of choice, we have the freedom to wonder, or be solidified. we can choose to read ,or not read a book. we can choose to respond to people in love or not -- to those who ask probing questions/present different ideas, as well as those who judge and criticize the ones who have done so.

this is a difficult task, but one God is willing to help us/me with --since i keep choosing to ask questions/think-outside-the-box (i think He wired me this way) and choosing (and re-choosing) to love --like when i read misguided opinions and/or harsh criticisms about Rob Bell and Love Wins.

one review i recently read (which was not harsh, though perhaps misguided) warned that Love Wins is dangerous. now, truth be told, i believe there are far more dangerous and unscriptural teachings being taught from the pulpit and other "Christian" books that continue to hold people in fear and superstitious beliefs, and inflict more damage than Bell's book could ever do. ask me how i know. if anything, the main theme in Love Wins is that God is love, and that Christ's loving sacrifice on the cross is the only way to reconciliation --which, last i checked, is the heart of the Christian faith.

historically, the Catholic church was far from happy when Martin Luther produced his 95 Thesis, stating that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus --a teaching the church did not agree with at that time.

besides that, Martin Luther made some controversial statements that i imagine even Protestants today would criticize, such as, "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly" and "No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day."

in various writings, Martin Luther is portrayed as being egotistical, abrasive, and argumentative. Luther is also recorded as being anti-Semitic, and his anti-Jewish writings were even used as propaganda by the Nazis. now those writings were certainly dangerous, and written by the man that God used to initiate the Reformation!

i write about Luther because i imagine the current criticisms (and assaults) about Rob Bell and his book are probably quite similar to the ones made about Martin Luther and his writings 500 years ago --except that Rob Bell is not anti-Semitic, thank God!

i do not know if God will use Rob Bell to start a new movement as He did with Luther, but i know that God has used him to ask the questions and pose the interpretations of scripture that many of us have either been afraid to voice, or, like me, have voiced and suffered a right-good-verbal-correcting for --which is not very edifying or loving --in case you didn't know.

my hope, truly, is that Christians who are cemented in their Christian theology might take a deep breath and respond with loving room-and-space for those who are voicing these ideas, and refrain from scripture-lashing. i also hope that the Christians who ask questions/pose different beliefs and experience rejection from fellow believers will also take a deep breath and respond the same.

i wholeheartedly trust that the Holy Spirit of God is responsible for teaching and leading all of us, and that Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. so i believe that we can leave those with strange-questions-and-ideas (as well as those without) in God's faithful hands.

i imagine, in the end, that our great-big-opinions mean very little in God's grand scheme.

and i trust, that ultimately, it is His love that impacts us and wins us over. and i am beyond grateful for that.

please note: any attempt to post comments/responses in way of unsolicited advice, analysis, words-of-wisdom, and/or correction on this blog, on Facebook, or via e-mail are not welcome and will be deleted before read. only positive comments, such as, "thanks for sharing" or "i can relate" are welcome, as well as the ever-so-confirming "like" button on FB. thank you for being gracious. ~Heather

Thursday, April 21, 2011

tidings of comfort and joy

it can hurt to write. like retching. and i have been before a blank blog page many times only to write a few words and close the page. there is too much in my head and heart, you see, and this page is too small and i am too weak to try and expel it all and go through the process of writing about a particular subject or prove a point. this sounds negative, but it's not. it is just that, at this point, i would rather not share the things in me with anyone besides my husband and my friends.

i do like the freedom of not having to please that part of my ego that once desperately sought attention and approval and identity in writing, especially in poetry...and i have said all of this before. however, i have felt something of a return to poetry, or rather a new birthing of a new kind of poetry. but one way or another, if it happens or does not, i am good.

good --yes! that is what i am truly here to report! i have been feeling well, physically, mentally, spiritually --and it's been a long-time coming! for almost all of last year and bleeding into the first few months of 2011, i was not well. in one way or another my body was in pain: sinus headaches, dizziness, i became allergic to my birth control and tried many others only to have adverse reactions to them, my scoliosis, my lower back, swelling joints, limbs falling asleep, my ears, allergies, fatigue...and so many other things. i lived in my bed and recliner and put on pounds in the process. i had some good days, thankfully, but the various, nearly constant pain wore on my heart and mind, and my hope was very low.

then, with much prayer from my husband and close friends, God answered, and the last visit to my doctor made a tremendous difference. other blessings have come as well: there is more love and peace in my home than ever before, and i am grateful to God for doing this --it was a long road, mind you, but it was a road that He lead us down by the direction of His Spirit, and with support from the body of believers He joined us to, wonderful men that spoke into Jeremy's life, and an incredible, God-loving marriage counselor, God has mended us, given us wisdom and understanding, and made us whole.

our son has responded to the changes God has made in us too, and he has expressed, on more than one occasion, how much happier he is now that our lives are stable.

i do not know how long this time of blessings will last. i am aware that there are seasons in this life, but while we are here i intend to enjoy it fully, and grow in hope and love.

there now, that was not painful to write about, and i may even do it again sometime!

please note: any attempt to post comments/responses in way of unsolicited advice, analysis, words-of-wisdom, and/or correction on this blog, on Facebook, or via e-mail are not welcome and will be deleted before read. only positive comments, such as, "thanks for sharing" or "i can relate" are welcome, as well as the ever-so-confirming "like" button on FB. thank you for being gracious. ~Heather