Last week I shared my thoughts on Rob Bell's message after hearing him speak in Louisville on the gods are not angry tour. In that post, I made some critical comments in regards to the content of his presentation. In this post, I want to affirm that I have much to learn from Rob Bell. It's not as if I'm recanting my previous words, it's just that I've been personally convicted in how easy it is to point out (apparent) errors, instead of doing the hard work--and hopefully humble work--of drawing out what is good. So here are 6 (there are probably many more) things I can learn from Rob Bell: 1. He speaks to people not at people
Rob is a very personal, relational, and engaging speaker. He invites you into the story of his message and the story of his life. He looks right in the eyes of his audience making you feel like you are on the journey with him.
2. He understands the depths of pain in people's lives
Rob didn't shy away from sharing true stories of broken people in a broken world needing the love of God. He seems to be in touch with those who suffer in his community and all over the world.
3. He communicates God's compassion and hatred of legalism
I can tell Rob hates the thought of a God who demands obedience in order to receive acceptance. It was clear that he affirms that God is not impressed with what we can offer him. Instead, God is the One who has sought us out in his love.
4. He shows how the Bible is not detached from culture
I loved how Rob made bridges from the ancient cultures into the Scriptures. For example, Abraham's near sacrifice of his son Isaac took on a whole new meaning for me as I realized the cultural context in which Abraham lived (i.e. it would not have been inconceivable for people to offer up their most precious objects in order to please their god in his day).
5. He longs for the church to move into the lives of hurting people
Rob powerfully demonstrated through personal stories how the love of God must move through God's people in practical ways. He gave great illustrations of how we are to be "living sacrifices" as we pour out God's mercy to people in our community.
6. He is a creative communicator
Being somewhat of a creative person myself, I appreciated Rob's unique style of communication. He has a knack for telling stories with dramatic flair. Not many people can engage an audience for over an hour and a half like he did. Along with his use of story and personal illustrations, Rob also employed an altar as the one and only object lesson in his message. It was both a powerful and effective tool to illustrate his central point.
Like I said, I may not agree with everything Rob Bell says, but I can learn from him. And I pray that you and I would have discernment mingled with humility as we seek to be faithful stewards of God's Word advancing his kingdom in this hurting world.