Thursday, September 20, 2007

come and jump!!

I just started reading a new book today on the bus, Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell. (I know, I know, I still have 2 other books unfinished!!) Some of the words in the book made me stop so that I could read the phrases again just to let the simplicity and truth of them sink in. If you ask me what the book is about I would say it shows off Jesus and cuts the legs off of the monster I will call, "Jesus AND...."

Here are a few quotes:

"Times changes. God doesn't, but times do. We learn and grow, and the world around us shifts, and the Christian faith is alive only when it is listening, morphing, innovating, letting go of whatever has gotten in the way of Jesus and embracing whatever will help us be more and more the people God wants us to be."

"If there is a divine being who made everything, including us, what would our experiences with this being look like? The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. We are dealing with somebody we made up. And if we made him up, then we are in control. And so in passage after passage, we find God reminding people that he is beyond and bigger and more."

Bell talks about doctrines, beliefs and statements about our faith being like the springs on a trampoline; they help give shape and words to the deeper realities that drive how we live everyday. They are most effective if they stretch and flex as we probe and question and develop in our relationship with God. Much less effective is a brick wall approach in which our doctrines appear strong and rigid but will collapse if just one brick is removed or found inadequate.

"Somebody showed me a letter from the president of a large seminary who is raising money to help him train leaders who will defend Christianity. The letter went on about the desperate need for defense of the true faith. What disturbed me was the defensive posture of the letter, which reflects one of the things that happens in brickworld: you spend a lot of time talking about how right you are. Which of course leads to how wrong everybody else is. Which then leads to defending the wall. It struck me reading the letter that you rarely defend a trampoline. You invite people to jump on it with you."

And I'm only on page 27.

This is a tree and a park bench near Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. And it is sideways just because I think it looks more interesting that way.


Shelley said...

I really liked this book too Matte. I have noticed that since I read it this summer I have been looking for God and truth and what he is doing everywhere, and not just within the bounds of things labelled "christian." and that is cool.
I think that it is in this book that he says 'christian' is a noun, and not an adjective.

shane magee said...

defend the bible? i'd sooner defend a roaring lion.

think it was g.k. chesterton who said that. apologetics in general is much too defensive - i speak as a recovering defender! it becomes a pising contest to see who's smarter, more well read, more logical - never who's more loving, humble, proactive in changing the lives of the disadvantaged around her.