Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jesus Wants to Save Christians

Rob Bell’s latest Jesus Wants to Save Christians, A Manifesto for the Church in Exile, (co-written with Don Golden) has been sitting on my “read” pile for a while so it is way past time to post some comments. Bell gets a lot of criticism from across the theological and intellectual spectrum, but I think his is an important voice in modern Christianity. One of the first things I learned as a first semester seminarian was that we all read and interpret scripture through a lens. Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a lens between us and the word of God that can work to clarify or can work to distort God’s message to us through the text. For me, what is most useful about Bell’s writing and teaching is that he forces us to consider the lens through which we look. A good preacher/teacher/writer will know his or her own lens. Bell tells about his in the “Introduction to the Introduction.” He names his theology, “a particular way to read the Bible, referred to by some as a New Exodus perspective.” (p. 8) If you are not familiar with the perspective, you will have to read for yourself. I really like this book, not because of this particular perspective, but because the authors make interpretation of this sort accessible. Looking at the Bible through the New Exodus perspective will make some people feel like they are reading it upside down. Passages that may have seem familiar, passages that you may have thought you understood look different. It is not that you will always land with a changed perspective but that you might realize you have a perspective and that the words of scripture might not look the same to everyone.

Jesus Wants to Save Christians is heavy one whitespace. Just like in Velvet Elvis Bell



play with space.

That has drawn some criticism. I even said to my wife as I was reading, “This could have been a pamphlet.” But, at the end of the day, I am glad it isn’t. When we are asking the average Christian to reevaluate the worldview through which they understand the word of God. Maybe

we should


some space.


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