Ode to Rob Bell; Love Wins
Something crazy happened this week. Rob Bells upcoming book “Love Wins” created quite a stir in the religious community, leaving him with the title of heretic, false teacher, and pretty much pissed off some conservative Christians in the community. Little did I know, my previous blog on my visit to the Unitarian Universalist Church would fall in line with the stir and gain some eyebrows as well. I didn’t think I would write anything about this new book or Rob Bell because my blog is just a fart in the hurricane with all the other blogs that have been written this week either in support or opposition of his religious viewpoints. But something came to me this morning so here goes.
The first thoughts that came to my mind were about the whole Protestant Reformation Period and the rule of the Catholic Church, the rule of King Henry VIII, the Church of England, and the challenge of that rule by people like Martin Luther and John Calvin and his followers the Calvinists, The French Huguenots of which my family ancestors were a part of. It reminded me of the religious history I’ve found myself immersed in over the last couple years and how far “The Church” was at war with itself, and how those in power, specifically the Catholic Church and Church of England by King Henry’s hand, went to defend, protect, and control that religious reign. Murder; that’s how far they went. As I’ve delved into the archives of my family ancestry research, I’ve even found documented proof of my ancestors’ escape from France into Germany with the French Huguenots, followers of John Calvin and his teachings. Because of all the murdering going on back then, it’s also probably why none of the family researchers can find any French surviving ancestors that remained in France during this time after the migration into Germany and other surrounding countries that were part of the Protestant faith.
I see Rob Bell and his religious viewpoints in that same category as Luther, Calvin and the other martyrs who fought and sacrificed so that we could have the religious freedom we now know today. Think about that. Think about the sacrifice all these people made so that you, who sit in your “right” position of Protestant, conservative faith, whatever denomination that may be, all the while some of you doing the very same thing the early controlling church did to these kind of people for questioning authority, questioning what the words in the Bible are really saying, questioning theology, questioning what Jesus was really trying to tell us with His message, among many other theological debates that will never go away.
A really cool quote came in through my twitter this week from Jeff Deyo that I think sums it all up: “Overwhelmed about what the Bible is really all about? Confused about what God wants from u? Here it is: Love God. Love people. Mt 22:37-40”
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I think that’s all that is supposed to matter, yet we as the Church continue to make it about everything else, to the point of murdering others for having any thoughts beyond what our current church doctrine is. We still live in Condemnation, counting every offense of others and keeping track, instead of doing the very thing that should make us Christians; Love God, Love People. It makes me think that we’ve given Christians the wrong label over all these years. Because most of them haven’t really been Christ followers at all. They’ve followed men who used Christ as a religious focal point but have distorted it into a monster.
So I’m excited to read Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins” and I have it on pre-order. I’m excited because I am very open to learning, to being challenged beyond my current knowledge and view points. Because I really don’t know it all, and neither does anybody else out there. I think that when people like Rob Bell challenge those who think they do know it all, it ruffles feathers, it shakes their insecurity and closed-mindedness. Why? Because they are living for “religion”, not Jesus. Ouch. Sorry, was that too judgmental? But it’s the truth. Religion is the focal point, not love. And I look at people like the Westboro Baptist Church who are just a joke and would do anything to attract media attention, even stage a media stunt and present a false situation on public television, and who are no better than the early murderers in the church, pompous in their “right”. It gives Jesus a bad name. Let’s all just ignore them, shall we? Maybe they will go away once nobody cares anymore about their stupid “wanna-be religious media rock stars” campaign.
We will always have our religion wars. We will always have changing church beliefs. Social norms we once held on to as “right”, like murder, slavery, bigotry, are no longer supported, as they shouldn’t be. I’m glad there are people out there like Rob Bell and Tony Campollo who won’t be controlled by religion, but are forging the way to a new era of knowledge and thinking and as I put it, “Get back to Jesus”. It’s probably going to be rough, but we are in a new age of change religiously. Gay freedom is just one of the many issues involved in that new religious age. One day we will all look back, our heirs will look back a hundred years from now, and we will be ashamed for the way we, as a Church, behaved and believed and carried on, and how we truly did not do what our very Christ said to do, to Love. In the end, I believe Rob Bell has it down in the book title. Love Wins.