Skip to main content

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.



Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

building the church

Imagine two scenarios: 1) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Ask them to come together and put their sticks onto a table. Invariably, you end up with a random pile of sticks on a table. 2) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Show a picture of a popsicle stick bird feeder and ask people to come together and put their sticks on a table according to the picture. You will end up with the beginnings of a bird feeder on a table.

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In both, each person brought what they had and contributed it to the collective. However, in the first scenario, there were no guidelines, no plan, and no right or wrong way to pile the sticks. People came, placed their sticks on the table, and walked away. In the second scenario, people were given a plan to follow and as a result, something specific was built. Instead of walking away after they made their contribution, people huddled around the table to watch what was being built. Some were…