I’ve been fascinated, nauseated, angered, and inspired by the drama surrounding Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins. Not wanting to add to the conflict, I almost didn’t say anything, but one thought has been burning inside me: I can’t believe how quickly this devolved into us vs. them…who’s in and who’s out?…who’s 100% orthodox (a.k.a. “believes what I believe”) and who’s a heretic (a.k.a. “believes something different than me”)?
It has sounded more like a cable news show where two extremists shout across the table at each other…where the point is not to discover Truth together, the point is to demonize and delegitimize the other side. Either that, or simply yell louder.
No wonder so many people are disillusioned with politics… and disillusioned with religion.
In the sea of twitter name-calling, gloating, and unbelievable self-certainty, I stumbled upon precious few perspectives that appealed for a more open approach. Fuller Seminary president Richard Mouw wrote about Rob and the concept of “salvific generosity” and “salvific stinginess” here. Mathew Paul Turner insightfully appeals for unity here in a really honest post. I loved Mason’s perspective of “when everyone’s a heretic, no one is” here. And David Fitch talks about the end of Evangelicalism here.
I wish the Christian community was known for our love of each other, not our militant need to expose what is wrong. (Especially because it’s so easy to confuse “wrong” with “what I happen to disagree with”). I wish there was WAY more room for different perspectives, respectful disagreements, curiosity, and learning from “the other”. To be honest, I’m not always good at this – my fear and pride get in the way all the time – but I want to grow more open and more humble every year.
So, friends, let’s be the kinds of people who are learners in the widest possible sense. Let’s become experts at finding God’s Truth in the most unexpected places.
“. . all the beauty of the world, the beauty that calls our admiration, our gratitude, our worth-ship at the earthly level, is meant as a set of hints, of conspiratorial whispers, of clues and suggestions and flickers of light, all nudging us into believing that behind the beautiful world is not random chance but the loving God.”
N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth