I asked Margaret Feinberg if I could repost her thoughtful response to Rob Bell’s book release interview with Lisa Miller on Monday.
She is one of my favorite authors and bloggers and I think she raises all the right questions about what we can learn from this entire episode regardless of where you stand on Rob’s doctrine.
I have been a strong advocate for Christians using media to be heard in our celebrity-driven culture (See, Paparazzi in the Hands of an Angry God), but is this kind of intramural squabble that I envisioned? Absolutely not!
I’d love some thoughts on Margaret’s article and on whether Rob is using or abusing the principles I laid out in the Paparazzi post?
Does Love Even Have a Chance of Winning?
Tonight I listened to Rob Bell’s interview with Lisa Miller of Newsweek discuss his new book Love Wins. Miller’s questions were pointed and focused, much like those which were asked by the crowd and online viewers, but Bell’s responses were rarely direct. Instead, he offered a series of philosophical reflections blended with stories that left thick ambiguity hanging in the air.
Some will defend the thick ambiguity as the style of Jesus, who often answered questions with questions, but most of the people I know watching tonight were aching for a solid answer and explanation on what Rob really believes and why he believes it—which is a fair desire considering that at the end of the day this is still a book promotion.
Do I agree or disagree with Rob? The answer is neither. I found the responses so vague and nebulous I’m not sure what Rob believes.
So without a pre-release, I can’t comment on the book, and find myself wishing a whole lot of other people would hold their tongue and keyboards, too. I’ve been embarrassed by the number of online snipers taking shots at Rob in the name of Christianity who haven’t even read the book yet. Where are wisdom, discretion, and self-control?
As I reflect on what I watched tonight the image I have in mind is one of a boy playing in a mud puddle in the middle of a storm. He’s got a wide smile and glimmer in his eye. He’s joyful and delightful. To be honest, watching him puts a smile on my face. And I wince at the mudballs that are being thrown in his face by kids passing by. I’ve felt the sting and nursed the welts myself and wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
Not everyone is throwing mudballs though. Others are diving in and building their own mud castles on the shores of the puddle. Still others and gathering and watching the events unfold.
Yet when I look up to the sky, I’m reminded that we’re in the middle of a storm. Lightening peels. Thunder crackles. Flood waters rise. People are leaving the church and walking away from faith in droves. Maybe it’s not the best time to be stirring up the mud in puddles. Maybe it’s not the best time for ambiguity and murkiness.
I find myself wondering who will really win from Love Wins?
Some may say Rob wins as his book will sell…