RELEVANT MAGAZINE Reflections: Rob Bell on Pools

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I subscribe to RELEVANT MAGAZINE (God. Life. Progressive Culture.), which arrives every two months. The last subscription I had was to Sports Illustrated, and that was over 10 years ago, so I thought it would be nice to have a magazine delivered to my home every month or two. And $15 for two years isn’t a bad deal.

While reading RELEVANT (why is it in all capital letters? I feel like I’m yelling) I often get new thoughts stirring in my mind, so I thought I’d allow those thoughts to spill over onto thirtythousandpeople.wordpress.com. (the number of $1 donors has hit a plateau at 6). The first mind-stirring thought comes from Issue 24: Jan_Feb2007 in an interview with Rob Bell (as well as Mark Driscoll, Lauren Winner, Rick Warren, and Erwin McManus). Part of Bell’s answer to the question, How should Christians be involved in the political realm? is this:

In our city they’re shutting down community pools because they say there isn’t funding for it. So there are all these kids, especially in the urban center of Grand Rapids, who won’t be able to swim in the summer. We think that would piss Jesus off. For us it’s not right that on one side of town they’re building pools and on the other side of town they’re shutting them down. That’s an injustice. We think Jesus is about pools.

Is Jesus really about urban kids getting the chance to swim in the summer, or is he more interested in somebody knocking on the door of their house in August and telling them that Jesus offers eternal life so they can go to heaven instead of hell when they die? It all depends on your view of hell, heaven, eternity, justice, and Jesus.

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4 comments

  1. You hit the nail on the head in your conclusion, Victor. That is key. At the conference today the speaker on narrative theology (which was actually a crappy breakoff session, unfortunately) said that most churches teach from a “damnation theology” where Mars comes from a “creation theology.” I’m drawn very much toward the latter.

    So thanks for you comment over at my blog! I appreciate it, and I’m interested that you tracked me down. It seems we have similar interests – I’ll be subscribing to you, keep up the interesting stuff.

  2. I appreciate the comments about approaching from a damnation theology as opposed to a creation theology. That’s a helpful descriptor in my current mullings over the Emergent movement. Personally, I think that Jesus is more interested in those kids being able to discern who he is and if that takes a pool, then so be it. It took miracles and a cross to help people get it the first time!

    The gospel is not about building pools. It’s about people knowing Jesus and acting accordingly.

  3. About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

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