Posted by: mylifeisepic | November 17, 2007

The Gods Aren’t Angry

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Went to see Rob Bell speak tonight at his “The Gods Aren’t Angry Tour.” I was going to try and write a detailed blog about the experience, but I found another’s at relevant. Here’s the quotes:

“Bell began the evening with no introduction, announcements or opening comments, and addressed the audience as a man telling a story. He asked us all to imagine the first people at the dawn of time—how they would have looked at their environment and how they would have imagined the forces that controlled their world. Slowly, this idea of forces beyond us—people would have evolved this thought into the idea of energies, or gods who “made things happen.” So then, to keep those forces “on your side” and to keep them “happy,” society would begin to try to appease those forces through the offering of gifts and sacrifices. But because the gods were far away, humanity was left in the dark. Because the gods were silent, you never knew where you stood.

Bell continued in his analogy and offered that with the beginning story of Abraham, a new way of thinking about God emerged—a God who is above all of the other energies, a God who speaks to humanity, a God who lets you know where you stand. He said that as Christians, we sometimes tap into this ancient idea that God is angry. If things are going wrong, then we must do more to appease Him. If things are going well, then we must do more to continue the blessing. But, Bell explained, Jesus came to do away with the old sacrificial system. Hebrews 10:10 says, “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (TNIV). The truth, as Rob so eloquently points out, is that “you don’t have to live this way anymore.”

Bell continued the narrative, telling us how God broke through the silence and offered another alternative. He offered His Son to be the last payment and final “work” in restoring the relationship. Rob commented that the only one remaining sacrifice that is to be made is the one where we lay ourselves down on the altar. In Romans 12:1 Paul writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship.”

The worship of God is brought to fullness in our living for Him; the disciplines, the worship songs, the mission projects—all of that should just be the outward expression of our love, not our obligation, Bell explained.

Bell closed the night by telling stories of people he had come across in his ministry. They were stories of hope, stories of pain and stories of people who reached out and became like Christ to a broken world—in fact, it felt a lot like an ending to one of his videos. Bell ended his benediction with these words: “May you remember that God is love.” The truth is that we are all free from trying to make God love us … He already loves us.”

But I really enjoyed it. I truly appreciate the simplicity of his presentation as well as his ability to weave multiple stories together.

So, go watch a nooma video, listen to a mars hill podcast, or read “Velvet Elvis” and gain a little.

(AA)

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