I have some Christian friends who are struggling to do some of the batshit crazy things Jesus asks them to do, this radical generosity he talks about. And I think the biggest problem for them are other Christians.
I have had to do a great deal of personal work along those lines as well, just coming to terms with that, so that I don't end up spending a good chunk of my energy sort of angry about that sort of thing. So I've worked through 'Not my problem -- I have people I would love to talk to, I have a message I would love to bring, there are a lot of people I think need to hear it, and would enjoy hearing it, and it might help them.' At some point I would be guilty of spending precious energy on something that isn't my calling. But your friends are dealing with a very real thing. I think it's a defining moment when you realize, 'Wow, I have spent so much energy in my anger and bitterness and trying to bring people on who don't want to come along.' And I would say to your friend that they are like, a precious sacred resource. We need them; we need their energy, talents, passion -- we need them at their very best. And they rob us of their gifts when they're so bogged down in the wackiness of others. That's just how it is! REE-LIG-ION. You turn the light on and you attract all kinds of bugs.
Did you make that up?
I'm sure I heard it somewhere. But if I came up with it, it's pretty sweet. And that's just -- just how it is.
There are a lot of people who have been saying you're no longer a Christian. But it sounds like you ARE trying to build a new kind of Christianity.
I'll let other people make evaluations about what this all leads to. It's interesting, because lot of people say, 'Thank you, I feel like I've finally understood what being a Christian means!'
There are people who have written critiques of you where they're very, very upset that you suggest that God DOESN'T have it out for them. I mean, the Jews know that God has it out for us, but Christians usually say 'God is Love,' so it's very confusing.
Hahaha! You're funny.
To be honest with you -- I don't know how to put this -- Jesus was KILLED by some very religious people. So at the center of this faith is somebody is who came along and said, 'Tax collectors and prostitutes and sinners and lepers -- anh, they're all part of what God's doing. I'm going to love 'em all, I'm going to dine with them and hug them and let them wipe my feet.' And this got him killed. So . .. The religious spirit that wants to draw hard and fast boundaries about what God is up to in the world has been around for a long time. So that's nothing new. And it's painful and can be really difficult to be on the receiving end of, and causes lots of people lots of agony, but it's nothing new. It's been around.
Rob Bell speaks at Trinity Church in Boston on May 25 at 7 pm.