In a week that has seen the internet in the UK explode with a wave of racial tension, I came across this cartoon on my desktop.
This is at the heart of the good news of Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t matter what perspective you come from, if you are in any way involved with Christianity you will probably have an opinion about Rob Bell. This past weekend at Greenbelt was buzzing with talk of the man who would take to main stage on Saturday morning. People were intrigued by what he was going to say or do. Everyone loves a a scandal or controversy. Later when talking with people about who they had seen so far, Rob Bell seemed to be the topic of conversation that they would inevitably return to.
I don’t really have an opinion about the Rob Bell I saw at Greenbelt weekend. When I went to the big top for a later talk he was sitting on the grass four feet in front of us. I can confirm that Rob Bell is a mortal man. He eyeballed me as he left the venue and they are very much the eyes of a normal guy looking down the road in front of him.
There is a much more interesting take on the engaging nature of an encounter with Rob Bell on John Khurt’s blog. Here there is a fascinating post entitled “An Atheist’s Encounter With Rob Bell”. I suggest you read the whole thing as it is a great read. For now I will leave you the concluding paragraph (spoiler alert).
We live in in an age of continuous scientific development and this continues to raises doubts about all forms of faith. Rob Bell and like-minded Christians offer a potential conduit towards the restoration of credibility for Christianity. Furthermore, from a self-interested perspective, although not ‘a believer’, I feel more involved and included and, most importantly, open and curious towards faith and the message of Jesus.
Whatever your view of “that book” this is the sort of encounter with Christianity that the world is seeking.
The issue of how to share faith within a multifaith context is one that the church has been struggling with in West Yorkshire for many recent years. I attended a two week residential training course as part of my ministerial training where we looked at issues of social cohesion and multi-faith working and was left feeling a little desolate. My experiences were that other faith groups were derogatory and proselytising whilst we ourselves were discussing how as Christians we were to try to avoid these issues. And at the same time there was always a nagging doubt in the back of our minds… something about… good news.
It is with this in mind that I excitedly read the news that The Christian Muslim Forum have come up with guidelines for how to share faith with integrity and respect for each other. Living and working in West Yorkshire, this isn’t a hypothetical situation! Lets hope that this filters down to the ground!
So the Simpsons Christmas special has just presented an interesting outlook on the church
Let’s just say that on this day a million years ago, a dude was born who most of us think was magic, but others don’t and that’s cool. But we’re probably right. Amen – Homer Simpson
I was also tickled by this…
Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ. – Bart Simpson