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Generally speaking, you can succeed in to getting people to pity you. But the victory will be short-lived and over the long-term the results will be counterproductive.

Really? I mean . . .Really???

(Yes, this is a companion piece to “Wow Just Wow”, which is, apparently, out of date)

I’m pleased to see that more than fifty people have tweeted or retweeted my guest post at Stuff Christians Like.

Also, more than 150 people commented. The comments are quite funny – I recommend you go read them.

I thought I’d let you know that Jon Acuff, over at Stuff Christians Like, posted my article submission today.

Go read it!

The next time you are bugged by something someone says and you are tempted to think (and then say) that it’s because of the way they said it (too smarmy, or unfocused, or judgemental, or certain) consider how you would feel if they’d said something in the same manner but the content was something you agreed with. Would you still not like the way they said it?

Or is the real cause for why you don’t like their message the fact that you disagree with it?

If so, (or even if not) if you must attack, attack the content of the message, not the way it was said.



. . . who, quite likely doesn’t need defending from me, but whatever.

So Pastor John’s recent tweet – “Farewell, Rob Bell” has, to be sure, incurred a great amount of wrath.

It has been described as
obnoxious, smug, arrogant,

puzzling melodramatic madness,
and Pastor John has himself been called a belligerent jerk.

To those authors I say – Gentleman, let’s not be ridiculous. This tweet is none of these things.

“Farewell, Rob Bell” is not saying “You’re dead to me.” It’s saying “I’m grieved that you are heading out away from the truth”

But these blog authors are quick to speak and become angry. They should calm down.

Pastor Greg Boyd, who relishes any time Pastor John says something that can be considered controversial says: Rob is first and foremost a poet/artist/dramatist who has a fantastic gift for communicating in ways that inspire creativity and provoke thought. Rob is far more comfortable (and far better at) questioning established beliefs and creatively hinting at possible answers than he is at constructing a logically rigorous case defending a definitive conclusion.

Did you catch that? Rob Bell’s book isn’t a theological treatise, so he is off the hook if anyone comes away from reading it with ideas that aren’t Biblical.

Pastor Greg writes harshly about Justin Taylor calling Pastor Rob a Universalist and says “it would be misguided and unfair to apply any of these labels to him“.   But . . .

Pastor Greg also later says this: “Rob believes he has warrant to hope everyone will eventually be saved.”*

The publisher’s description of the book includes this sentence: “Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing that a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering.

If this is false, and people walk away from this book believing that there is good reason to believe it’s true, then (A) this book is extremely dangerous, and (B) all the fear in Justin Taylors post and all the sadness in Pastor John’s tweet are justified.

If you believe that it’s likely no one is going to hell, then say “Pastor John is wrong.”

If you believe there is a Hell and that many are going there, then say “Rob Bell’s book, from the accounts of the publisher and someone who has read it, is wrong.”

But unless you can see into Pastor John’s heart, let’s have none of this patronizing nonsense about arrogance and madness.

* Pastor Greg actually said “even if Rob believes he has warrant to hope everyone will eventually be saved” but he later says the book “expresses a hope for all to be saved”, and I like the first quote better.

Here on the first day of March, it’s lovely to wake up to a backyard blanketed with snow. On an unrelated note – all of the blankets on our beds are three feet thick. Yours?

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March 2011