Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Rob Bell Post (cue the hate mail)

Whether you think Rob Bell is the greatest Christian visionary since C. S. Lewis, think he is a dangerous heretic leading countless followers astray, have an opinion of him that falls somewhere decidedly between the two, or even if you've never heard of Rob Bell and think Nooma sounds like a chocolatey delicious carbonated beverage, please view the following parody in the spirit in which it is intended (from me, anyway). I have seen only a few Nooma videos, but one in particular I found quite moving and thought provoking. (This is not that video.) I make the previous statements in an attempt to convey that I am not anti-Rob Bell. It's just that I find some of his mannerisms and the cadence of his speech sometimes amusing, and to point out that parody is considered by many to be a high form of praise.

While I posted this video primarily because I think it's funny, previous comments to me about Rob Bell and other highly visible Christians also lead me to this observation: It seems to me that society in general and some Christians in particular have become increasingly polarized and intolerant of opposing viewpoints. There are those in the hard core evangelical camp that would suggest that Rob Bell and other proponents of spreading the gospel through social justice are presenting an incomplete view of the gospel at best, and at worst are spreading heresy and leading unsuspecting followers to eternal damnation. At the other end of the spectrum, some in the emergent church movement might say that evangelical Christians ignore the plight of the marginalized in society and feel that it's perfectly acceptable to allow a man to be physically hungry as long as his soul is fed. To this point, I would offer the opinion that to some extent, both sides are right, and both sides are wrong. For a more in-depth, intellectual and insightful take on this subject, I would highly recommend The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith, by Timothy J. Stoner, and The Reason for God by Timothy Keller, both of whom are WAY smarter and biblically astute on their worst day than I am on my best.

In closing, I would like to thank fellow blogger Laz for posting this video on his blog months before I posted it here, and to gently suggest that any angry Rob Bell fans voice their opposition to airing of this video here .


Kris said...

i do not know which camp i would fall in. i am not even sure what the emergent church is. but i do know that i do not get this video. what was he trying to say? i have never heard of the early church rubbing themselves down with oil and rolling around on the floor. i do not know who or what is my Saddam. am i just too old?

katdish said...

To understand the satire of this video, I guess you might want to watch a couple of Nooma videos. (There's a ton of them on youtube.) Check out Wikopedia's definition of the emergent church. I think it's a safe bet that neither of us fall into the "emergent" camp. And in case my comments in the post seemed to suggest that I was opposed to evangelical Christians, let me just say for the record that I consider myself to be one. What disturbs me is extreme legalism on one end of the spectrum and the belief that there is no black and white - only grey - on the other side. Is it our calling to speak the truth boldly in love? Yes. Do we need to care for orphans and widows? Again, yes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out.

This vid is a beaut, I lol everytime I watch it and it only gets better after every viewing.

As for Bell, he doesn't consider himself part of the so-called emergent conversation. At the risk of being one of those hideous 'label hurlers', the AFLAC duck can tell us that he's not a duck but, well...

I recently finished a book about the emergent conversation,
"Why We're Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be" by Ted Kluck and Kevin DeYoung.

I thought it a pretty good take on the movement, its plus and minuses as well as the reasons for the authors' not being down with it.

Kris: the vid is a parody of Rob Bell, and if I do say so myself it is more than worthy of any current SNL skit.

By the way did you 2 watch Palin rock it on SNL?

JML said...

I won't lie, I didn't get a lot of the jokes in this video, but that's because I don't know Rob Bell very well at all. I know that my hero up in Seattle can't stand him, which is interesting because he's been associated with the emergent church in the he just calls himself emerging. I bet I know how to say where you lie in scope of being emergent or not... We should be fundamentalist in our approach to the Bible, and maybe this modifier is too much, but we shouldn't be afraid to be incredibly liberal in how we act that theology, doctrine, etc. out. What I mean, is that we should live by the Bible, but it's Ok to do certain things that might offend the evangelical camp! There are man-made traditions (I call them white Christianity) that are ok not to do. The easiest example is that we don't have to wear a suit and tie, or dress and all that lovely time consuming stuff to go to church every Sunday! There are other methods to doing church, as long as we have the right perspective on God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, etc. ANYWAYS, sorry. I just wrote so much, but I'm really interested in this stuff.... I'm going to go watch some Nooma videos.... THANKS!!!!!!

Kris said...

In the Oct 12th, The Lookout, (standard publishing magazine) there is an article by BoB Russell that is titled "Can worship be casual" The article is centered around a sign at a church near his home. The sign out front reads 'Casual Worship, wear your shorts'. Bob then describes how we may have taken the casual too far. There are many examples of worship in the OT and how they prepared to go to the house of God. He uses examples from Ecc. 1: 1-7

Another quote 'When we dress down to the lowest level, stroll in 5 minutes late, sip a cup of coffee while text messaging a friend, we are missing something of the holiness of God.'

The article had much more to say and other good examples. It ended with this. 'Maybe a more appropriate sign in front of a church building would be INTENSE WORSHIP, BRING YOUR BEST'

i found this interesting...