I’ve heard for a long time that Rob Bell is affirming of gay marriage and of full gay inclusion in the church. It is alleged that this is why Zondervan broke ranks with him, and some have wondered if it’s part of the reason that he left the pastorate of Mars Hill Bible Church.
Well, this morning there seem to be two pieces of evidence that Rob is, in fact, no longer holding his tongue about GLBT issues:
First, at HuffPo, Greg Carey reports that Rob said this at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco last night:
“I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
Greg provides the link to the recording as a source for that quote. Grace Cathedral is an uber-liberal Episcopal church, and has been supportive of gay rights for many years. It doesn’t surprise me that Rob got this question here, nor that he answered it in this way.
Second, I received Jeff Chu’s new book in the mail last week. Jeff is an openly gay Christian and editor for Fast Company. His book, Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America, is not a book like Justin Lee’s or Andrew Marin’s that struggles through the biblical verses and looks for ways to be gay and Christian. Jeff is gay and Christian, and unabashed about both (he interviewed me for the book, and he’s sat in my living room.
On the back of the dust jacket of Jeff’s book is this endorsement:
“In telling these stories–chief among them his own–Jeff has done an extraordinary thing, showing us all to the God who is big enough and loving enough and true enough to meet all of us exactly where we’re at. This book is moving, inspiring, and much needed.” (Rob Bell, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About God and Love Wins )
Surely, Rob knows that endorsing a book like this, and affirming marriage equality at Grace Cathedral, would out him as a supporter of gays in the church and in society. We’re still waiting for an unequivocal statement by him, but I think that’s just a matter of time now.