Like so much of Rob Bell’s work, What We Talk About When We Talk About God is really a sort of sermon: accessible, full of anecdotes, and with a clear persuasive thrust. The content, too, is what we might have expected. When We Talk About God shows Bell drawing on his whole back catalogue of tours, films, and books, now synthesising it more explicitly for a post-Christian audience. Bell has spent most of his career dismantling dualism and ‘escapology’ in Christian circles, and he now goes to work on its equivalent in wider Western culture. Read more
Posts tagged ‘Jesus’
In 2010 we hosted a debate for our theological college: Will the real Mars Hill please stand up? The debate invited the audience to compare and contrast two well-known American megachurches and the leaders behind them, Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll, whom we saw as representing powerful and differing forces in American Christianity — check out the comparison chart Dave Hughes produced for the debate. For us as Australian students, American Christian culture is often novel and foreign, yet also strangely influential — a source of both familiar comforts (Chris Tomlin) and bizarre terrors (Joel Osteen!). It also seems like a hyper-coloured version of the fate of Christianity that we’re witnessing in our own Western context, even though Australia has gone further along the post-Christian road.
And so we continue to watch for developments. Although I’ve written about Rob Bell here a few times, I’ve not followed his work especially closely, but I’ve certainly been interested in his motivations, methods and audience rather than simply his content (which is all that seems to matter to some critics!). James K Wellman’s short book, Rob Bell and a new American Christianity, takes all this into account. It’s an unusual mixture of anecdotes about Bell plus summaries of his work, interspersed with sociological categories and commentary. Wellman takes us chronologically through Bell’s life and work, surveying his preaching, publications, tours, and films (including Nooma). It makes for a good overview of Rob Bell, but also an accessible spiritual snapshot of America today. Read more
To think more about it, I’ve turned to the compendium on Jesus’ parables by Klyne Snodgrass, Stories with Intent. I always appreciate his careful and apt scholarly judgements, and the way he works methodically through each parable. Snodding fantastic.
You might know the quote attributed to Francis of Assisi: Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.
You might also have heard that he didn’t exactly said that.
The quote comes up for discussion because sometimes we’re concerned that words, and gospel preaching, might be downplayed. But while this may be a legitimate concern, the way we express it can lead to further confusion.
The Trinity is a profoundly hopeful doctrine. Not a ‘wishful thinking’ kind of hope but a ‘calm assurance’ kind of hope. Today I want to ask what it means for everyday life and in the next post I’ll ask what it means for the way we think about the future. We’ve already seen that it’s vital to knowing God and that it’s key to praying with confidence and enduring in difficult times. Read more
What if a generation of a nation’s leaders were living for Jesus? We’re spending the next 10 years working with university students in Dodoma, Tanzania’s new education capital.