Rob Bell Calls “Bullshit” on Christian Radio [VIDEO]

Jay Bakker pointed this video out to me yesterday. Rob Bell, looking frumpled and tired from a long book tour, was on a Christian radio show in the UK. Instead of talking about his book, the host and a conservative pastor push and push and push Rob of homosexuality. Rob grows increasingly frustrated until he tells them this is the “bullshit that really, really, really pushes people away” (16:45).

I encourage you to watch the whole 20 minutes, and here’s why. We most often see Rob in scripted situations (on stage, in Nooma videos), but here you see his heart, his vulnerability, his frustration, and how much shit he takes for his open and affirming stance:

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Marriage Equality and a Day of Celebration


Last night, Courtney and I were on hand to help our dear friend, Jay Bakker, launch the new Minneapolis site of Revolution Church.  You can hear Jay’s inaugural sermon, “Vulgar Grace Throws the First Stone.”

The photo above is a detail shot by Courtney of the rainbow communion bread that we contributed to the service. We baked that loaf — the same loaf that Courtney baked with our friends Rachel and Rachet for our (sacramental) wedding — in support of marriage equality. Jay has been an outspoken proponent of marriage equality and has performed several same-sex weddings. When he broke the bread last night, Jay told us to remember not just the broken body of Jesus, but also the broken bodies and spirits of many GLBT persons who have been persecuted for their non-heterosexuality.

Today, Jay and Courtney and I and several other friends will be going to St. Paul to hold vigil as the Minnesota Senate debates and votes on a bill opening marriage in our state to same-gendered couples. It is expected to pass easily (my senator has already emailed me to assure me that she will be voting for its passage), and to be signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton tomorrow.

Our gay and lesbian friends will be able to marry in Minnesota beginning on August 1.

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Can Jay Bakker Redeem Minnesota?

Jay Bakker (Kyndell Harkness/StarTribune)

A month ago, my friend Jay Bakker and his wife, Karin, arrived in Minnesota. They moved here from Brooklyn, New York, she to start a new job, he to start a new church.

In Sunday’s paper, Rose French profiled Jay and noted the many connections he’s already got with my home state:

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Why Rob Bell Matters

My dear, curmudgeonly, friend David Fitch posted the above on Facebook yesterday. Before I respond to David’s question at face value, let’s get some things out of the way:

1) David could possibly be accused of professional jealously. Both he and Rob Bell had books come out last week. Both claim to say something fresh about God and the future of the faith. Rob has been on Morning Joe, Fox News, and many other outlets. David, uh, has not. (I have recently been accused of professional jealously of Rob and other authors, so I know that this accusation stings.)

2) David and I and others have a right to be frustrated by Rob’s style. I started reading Rob’s book this morning. 90% of the paragraphs are one sentence. It’s typeset in a san serif font. There’s a double carriage stop between each paragraph. There are no footnotes — Rob doesn’t show his math. Who is he reading? Who is influencing him? We’re left to guess and surmise. It’s not how I write books, but it works for Rob.

3) David and I and others have a right to be frustrated that Rob doesn’t engage with us. David and Rob and I are all the same general tribe of Christianity: post-evangelicalism. I engage with David (here) and he engages with my work in his book. Rob doesn’t engage with either of us, at least not in his writing. I got word to Rob this week that I’d like to interview him about his book on this blog, and I heard back that he’s not interested. That’s fine. That’s his prerogative. But it doesn’t engender warmth either.

Nevertheless, Rob Bell matters. Here’s why:

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