When we started Mars Hill I would say that my understanding of the gospel that Paul talks about in Colossians, my understanding was that you believe in Jesus and you go to heaven. That’s how it works. “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.” So my understanding was that the goal, then, was to get other people to believe in Jesus so that you could all go to heaven somewhere else some day. And so the super fired-up Christians were the ones who could best explain to people how to turn or burn, and how to get out of here to the next place. But I realized that something really, really destructive happens when that’s how we explain the life of Jesus. Something gets missed in the process, namely this life.
What started to happen to me is that I realized salvation is holistic. That Jesus doesn’t just want to get me a ticket to heaven, but wants to heal and wants to mend and wants to put me back together here, now, today.
What happens when it all becomes about some other life is we end up being very fractured, broken people. I began to discover that you could be a Christian in a nice Christian church and be saved and be singing all the right songs and actually be miserable. And to have anger and rage and people you haven’t forgiven. I discovered it’s possible to be a super-Christian and yet salvation hadn’t even begun to (be) a part of your life. It’s possible to lead a church and to be like a shell of a person. I want to be the kind of person who’s pursuing wholeness and allowing every single area of my life to let the light get shone in, and let God make peace where there wasn’t (peace) before.
–Rob Bell, Directions 1.0 II, January 2005