***If you want my thoughts on Rob Bell and Hell, here’s where you can start. That is my “Hell Series.”
Thanks for sharing Kurt :O)
Love, love, love it, Kurt! Jesus didn’t present us with a free ticket out of here, but a message of heaven on earth, meeting one day, seen even in the here and now, culminating in the completion of all things by Jesus himself. This, is good news!
I was fine until Bell suggested that God is throwing a party and we’re all invited. In a creation as corrupted by exploitation, violence, and injustice as we have, I don’t think we’re invited to a party any more than Moses or Jesus were. We are invited to a revolution, and while it would seem silly to turn your back on a divine party, opting out of the revolutionary struggle for the Kingdom would not be surprising. Bell’s audience may have been less enthralled with the idea of a revolution instead of a party, too.
I would agree that more than one image can be used to describe what God is doing in the world, after all, what metaphor could capture the totality of who God is and his activity. However, the party image isn’t a negative one. In fact, I see if played out by Jesus in the wedding at Cana. Turning water into wine in some ways anticipates the glorious day of God’s cosmic renewal and the joy of the new creation. I also remember the parable of the great banquet where God’s throwing a party and invites everyone, from the highways and byways, to join in. So, I see where you’re coming from and the sense of uneasiness you have, but there is certainly a precedence set in the Gospels and ministry of Jesus. Party on!
Thanks for your thought provoking comments, Jeff. After reconsideration, I’m sticking with my unease nonetheless. As you seem to realize, the Cana story is indicative of the messianic banquet that comes at the end of the age, not in ch 2! The parable of the great banquet is about spurning the invitation, the blessed disregarding the greater blessing which is then provided to the poor and vulnerable. The messianic banquet comes at the end of the struggle, the end of the age. The great banquet is similarly situated as the “feast in the Kingdom of God.” So, I still have a hard time going to the party before the struggle of the revolution has been fulfilled that ushers in the Kingdom.
I’ve been preaching and teaching this very message for 26 years plus. It is good to know that given Rob Bell’s voice that it still unsettles much of the settled insiders who like to imagine they can make the call on humanity’s destiny. I am even more astonished at those whose “judging” has the audacity to assign eternal destiny at all. What is amazing is that among those who have “ears to hear” this truly “good news” message resonates and awakens the imagination to life right here. But being part of essentially a dead sect that minors in the majors and majors in the minors I have finally decided to no longer throw pearl before swine and decided to move into unknown pastures, hopefully to places where such goodnews will be embraced as the transforming grace Jesus intended.