What Does “Love Wins” Really Mean?

Apparently a good way to piss off a good number of Christians is to start asking questions.

If you really pay attention, that’s pretty much all Rob Bell does in his newest video and has caught all kinds of hell because of it. His newest book, “Love Wins”, isn’t slated to be released until the end of March, but it’s already causing an uproar. When Bell starts to ask questions about what kind of loving God would send people to an eternity of torment, people get all kinds of pissed.

A lot of conservative Christians with Twitter accounts felt the need to completely lambast Bell on charges of universalism. But if you pay attention to it, that’s not what he’s saying at all. Before we go any further… Take a look at the video in question.

It’s a pretty compelling piece. The music swells at just the right time and the thick-rimmed glasses are never out of place. But behind that is a pretty intense message. And, really, is this not the message we preach every Easter? Don’t we preach that “love wins”? That through Christ’s conquering of Hell we are reconciled back into relationship with God?

To that point, I think it’s important to get to the bottom of what “universalism” really means. Universalism has tended to be [warning: broad generalization ahead] a passive, anything-goes, whatever-path-up-the-mountain sort of mentality. Universalists emphasize the universal principles in any/all religions. Usually a belief in one common truth is an important tenet to what Universalists believe.

But this isn’t what the phrase “Love Wins” is talking about. It’s not saying any way that we choose will get us to Heaven. It’s saying that the cross and resurrection is a once-and-for-all, saving act of God for us. I forget which theologian said this, but at some point, someone said “God’s yes is stronger than your no”. We can resist. We can fight. But God’s yes on the cross is stronger than any resistance we can muster.

Do you see the difference? It’s not because anything goes. It’s because Christ has already gone. He’s gone before you into into the depths of Hell to bring you back to where you belong. Back into community with God.

I have no idea whether this will actually be in the book. But this is what “Love Wins” means to me.

Cheers,
Eric

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Recent Article on Insane Legislation

(via www.deathandtaxesmag.com)

“Georgia’s newest bat-shit crazy anti-women’s health bill that suggests the death penalty for women who have abortions will never become law. It will however, continue to waste lawmakers’ time and divert us from bills that are passable and potentially harmful.

The bill, presented by GA state Rep. Bobby Franklin—whose past suggestions include the bill that tried to change “victims” of rape and domestic violence into “accusers”—states that abortions and miscarriages caused by “human involvement” would be a felony that would be punishable by life in prison or death. The bill is amazingly offensive for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the clause about miscarriages—an extremely common, traumatic event that is not fully understood by medical professionals.

This isn’t the first amazingly offensive anti-women’s health bill this year. South Dakota considered a law that will expand “justified homicide” to make it possible to legally murder abortion doctors, and the GOP’s hotly debated Rape vs. Rape-Rape bill sought to redefine rape so that federal funds could only cover victims of “forcible rape.” It was quickly abandoned.

None of these crazy-ass bills will pass—all they’ll do is make the same divisive points about when life begins, offend thousands of women who can’t believe they’re still fighting this battle, and influence teeny-boppers like Justin Bieber and Kanye West to make confusing, poorly-conceived comments about reproductive health.

The problem with these right field bills is twofold. First, they’re a massive waste of time for our lawmakers who are extremely busy with much more pressing matters like trying to balance the budget, uphold universal healthcare and secure equal rights for gays.

Second, they’re a red herring for real bills that actually do have an impact on women’s health, like the GOP’s initiative to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. They also divert attention from laws like the one in Kentucky that requires doctors to give ultrasounds one hour before administering an abortion, forcing women to either watch or hear a verbal description of the ultrasound—a procedure which is tantamount to torture.

Abortion is a divisive, emotional issue. These bills, which are insane, are a waste of everyone’s time and they divert the public’s attention from bills that are actually passable as opposed to culture-war fueling nonsense.”

What do you think? I guess this post hints at mine.

Cheers (I guess),
Eric

Jesus in Every Book of the Bible?

I may have missed the boat on this kid, but I came across it this morning. I don’t know what to think of it. There’s a part of me that admires a kid with this much faith. And then there’s another part of me who, cynically, can’t stop thinking about how brainwashed this kid is.

Is this what we’re pushing from the youth of our church? I can’t really buy that this is the end-all aim of youth ministry. But it sure is interesting. Check it out.

Any thoughts? Reactions?

Part of me thinks the emotional swell has everything to do with the subliminal use of cymbals. Either way, what do you think of this?

Cheers,
Eric

The Civil Wars – “Poison & Wine”

I can’t get this song out of my head or off of my iPod. I keep going back to it. Over. And over. And over. Figured I had to share it. The video is pretty intense too. Enjoy it!

Cheers,
Eric

Slacktivism as a Hopeless Eschatology

If you understood all of the words in the title… congratulations! You’re a nerd, just like me. If you didn’t, do not fear; it means you are one of the normal ones.

This is a paper I wrote for a Youth, Culture and Consciousness class. It takes a look at the concept of “slacktivism” (slacker + activism = slacktivism) and what it’s implications are for the mission of God. It talks (implicitly) about the pitfalls of social media in ministry and mission. I hope this can shed a little bit of light on the ideas surrounding mission, hope, and our modern technological context. Without further ado… here it is!

Cheers,
Eric

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