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The Rob Bell Kerfuffle

[Edit: since this post was originally, um, posted, I have read much of the book and my review is this: phfthftt!]

Rob Bell has written a book, Love Wins, in which he repackages universalism to appeal to the tragically hip. It has caused quite the hubbub about the Evangelical www. I thought it might be helpful to post a couple of links dealing with the issue for those interested.

First, you can watch the video promoting the book here.

Justin Taylor links a bunch of things here.

Doug Wilson answers very well.

And, finally, Martin Bashir interviews Bell and seems to make him a little wiggly.

Of course there are both defenders and detractors in such a conversation as this. Feel free to use your Googler to hunt it down  if you’d like to learn more.

Time and Liturgy

Here’s a fifteen minute video of George Grant explaining the liturgical calendar and it’s relationship to time.

I was impressed by his use of academia as an example of how an external imposition of time as a regulator is both demanding and freeing. There is obviously much to develop in this line of thinking, but I do find it attractive.

A Church that Moves the World

Chesterton said that “We do not need a Church that moves with the world; we need a Church that will move the world.” He knew that it was a fallacy that people would ever flock to a church where nothing of substance is preached, where doctrine is avoided, where beliefs are kept quiet, where everything that happens inside the church apes what is happening outside. As he said, “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

(From Randy Booth)

The Horror of the Same Old Thing

Screwtape to Wormwood:

The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call ‘Christianity And.’ You know – Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Physical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing.

From The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

Best Toys of All Time

Time Magazine has assembled it’s best 100 toys of all time. It has a lot that you would expect, and some you’d forgotten about but will say to yourself, “Oh, yeah!”

At any rate, the real best toys of all time are nowhere to be found on Time’s list. For that list, you’ll have to go here. You are sure to agree with my assessment.

The Idolatry of Individualism

Individualism: As God is one and three, as God’s being is being in communion, so human being is being in communion. Made in the image of the triune God, we are always embedded in networks of relationships, long before we are conscious of that fact. Before we could talk or “make up our own mind,” we were addressed, talked to, kissed, smiled at. The only “individuals” in the Bible are idols and their worshipers, who have all the equipment for relating to others and the world but cannot make use of it (cf. Ps. 115). Because of our individualistic bias, we cannot recognize that the “sacraments” are rituals of a new society, public festivals of a new civic order.

-Peter Leithart, Against Christianity, p. 77

How and Whom

The superficial silliness of many misguided contemporary attempts at “Celebration” and the dulled predictability of many traditional Sunday morning services may speak more to our adoration and protection of ourselves, our desires, and our notions than to the living God who calls us together. This is what Paul was saying when he admonished the saints at Corinth: “When you get together you don’t eat the Lord’s Supper, you are selfishly eating your own supper and you are eating it to your own destruction!” (see 1 Corinthians 11:2-29). Perhaps, as Paul went on to say, one reason that we and our congregations are sick, one reason that our worship does not hurt or help and rarely heals, is that we do not worship the Wholly Other but only a limp, idealized image of ourselves.

– William Willimon, Worship as Pastoral Care, p. 23