fist pump tuesday: love wins
This week’s FPT is a rather singular focus and one that is close to my heart. (It is also a day late, as my internet gave out yesterday.) As a fair number of you might have heard, a little book came out this week called Love Wins. This book was written by the pastor of my church, Rob Bell, and as such, I feel a communal connection to it. I’ve been attending Mars Hill for almost 4 years and have been a Covenant Member for 3 of those years. I am a deeply invested member of the community and I truly love being a part of it. I have met God in so many ways that I never had before and feel a deepness in my love and connection with Him as a result.
Now, this book has caused quite a stir for many people, good and bad. I’m not here to proclaim it prophecy or falsehood. I actually haven’t read past the preface yet, so my thoughts on this will not be lengthy or very deep. While I can’t speak fully on the book’s thoughts or theology, I did want to do two things with this post:
- Provide some resources for people who want to know more.
- Fist pump to Rob and to all people (not just Christians) who are willing to have an open and honest conversation about God’s love and what it means for us through the person, redemption and salvation of Jesus Christ.
From what I’ve heard around the interwebs and around town, this book has ruffled the feathers of a great many people, from its very open proclamation of God’s love and what that might mean when it comes to heaven and hell. Some of this feather-ruffling comes from viral lies that are whooshing around (he’s a universalist! he doesn’t believe in hell! — neither of which are true); some of it is actually credible. I’m sure there will be things in the book I don’t agree with, because as it is, I don’t follow Rob or Mars Hill, I follow Jesus. Mars Hill just happens to be the community in which I strive to do this; Rob happens to be the pastor.
There are many others much more qualified than I who are having really interesting conversations about this, like Matthew Paul Turner over at Jesus Needs New PR, Rachel Held Evans (she’s had several great and thoughtful posts about it), Greg Boyd and Jason Boyett (also several posts, a few of which are kind of hilarious).
Because that’s what this is — a conversation. That’s what much of the Bible and, in fact, Jesus’ teachings were. Conversations, questions, doubts and thoughts designed to push us forward into God’s love, into understanding the wide implications of it, and to be so moved and challenged by it that it affects how we live and treat our neighbor. I think back to a statement Rob actually made in a NOOMA a few years ago — “God loves you exactly as you are and loves you way too much to let you stay that way.” Sometimes God’s love does give us a warm, fuzzy feeling of communal humanity and other times, it’s a light shining on the parts and pieces of our lives that we’d rather not look at or address. Love may win, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt sometimes.
In the end, I don’t think the conversation is about all of us getting to a place where we all agree 100%. If people are holding out for universal agreement on all these questions…well, good luck. I’m more interested to hear people’s stories, to see how God’s love can change someone, to see how it’s changing me, to understand better what heaven and hell look like here and now, as well as in the redeemed earth Jesus seeks to bring back.
This isn’t a post to approve or bash anything. It’s mostly a fist pump that this is something that’s getting people to talk about the love of God — because really, in the end, that’s what it’s all about. If we are going to talk about anything, I’m glad it’s that.
Fist pumps? Thoughts?