Sunday, December 16, 2007

Time Mag honours Bell

a Jesus thought...
Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders." (Matthew 9:12-13)

a Godly thought...
Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. (p165 Bonhoeffer)

a leading thought...
A leader must have an infectious optimism, and the determination to persevere in the face of difficulties. (p64 Barber)
a Dave thought... from TIME magazine
Evangelicalism worries chronically about its youth. Polling by the evangelically oriented Barna research group shows that at least half of regular churchgoers ages 16 to 29 think their church is too judgmental, too political and too negative about homosexuality. Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow describes today's young adults as spiritual "tinkerers."
Bell, 37, is guilty of none of the negatives. He is largely apolitical, thinks that only those with gay friends are positioned to judge homosexuality--and he tinkers marvelously. At 28, he founded a megachurch that threw out the conventional sermon-and-worship service and instantly drew thousands of attendees. He has sold hundreds of thousands of books with titles like Velvet Elvis and Sex God that find the sacred in the profane. And he has created a form of video message he calls Nooma (phonetic Greek for spirit or breath) that may make him to YouTube what Graham was to the arena. "He could be one of the most important 21st century Christian leaders," says Bible professor and evangelical blogger Ben Witherington. He and several other thinkers feel that in a "post-Christian America," whose basic assumptions are increasingly secular, the faith needs someone who can defend its tenets in the argot of the day. Bell does this effortlessly. The question now is whether he can sell his approach to the rest of Evangelicalism or whether, as Christianity Today editor Andy Crouch puts it, he will "remain more of a singular rock star in the church world."

Watching Bell there, I found it easy to see his appeal to the young. He delivers stand-up-style monologues, not three-point sermons. Comic riffs alternate with seemingly naive questions--Letterman crossed with NPR'S Ira Glass--until Bell tightens the rhetorical noose and produces tears or thoughtful silence. His stagecraft is legendary. To illustrate a passage from Leviticus on sacrifice, Bell brought on a live goat, which he released--underlining Jesus' role as the last and greatest sin offering--intoning, "The goat has left the building."

I am one who finds Rob Bell refreshing and the way he has come on to the scene with a message of hope that understands the culture of today is what people find so attractive. He now has 11,000 attend Mars Hill weekly & has sold 1.2 million Nooma DVDs, interesting though he never wanted to be a pastor of a mega church, but somehow still ended up there.

Just a thought.

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