Why Mainline Christians Don’t Care about Rob Bell

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Rob Bell is leaving Mars Hill Bible Church, which he founded, in Grandville, Michigan. He’s moving his family to California and developing a television show for ABC.  Knowing Rob as I do (I don’t), I’m guessing he’s also working on a movie script, a tour, and probably a time machine.  He’s a person of unique aptitudes.  Thinking that he would stay indefinitely in a parish church situation is akin to thinking that Steve Jobs should have been the manager of an Apple Store.

Zach, a mutual friend of Rob and me (see, I’m only one degree of separation from Rob Bell!), has written a provocative post in the face of criticism that Bell’s departure has received from conservative Christian leaders like Mark Driscoll and Rick Warren.  Zach writes,

In a nutshell, more conservative folks seem to be more skeptical when a successful, well-known pastor decided to leave their churches behind.

Then he continues,

Nowhere have I seen any prominent liberal voice object to Bell moving on. (If so please point me to it)

Well, I’ve got an answer for Zach:

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Three Predictions for 2011

Yesterday I appeared on Doug Pagitt Radio to look back at my predictions for the year in religion, entered a year ago, and to make some new predictions for the coming year.  I’ll post the video of the show when it’s available later today.  Until then, here’s a recap:

Regarding last year, we agreed that Muslims were less deference in American society.  I had predicted last year that politicians and pundits would stop calling Islam a “religion of peace,” and Pres W was so fond of doing. Indeed, the Religion News Service rated the NYC mosque debate as the number one religion story of 2010, and that was surely a debate ginned up with angry rhetoric from the right.  And not many prominent lefties weighed in — when Obama did, he did so tepidly and had to semi-retract a day later.

None of my other predictions could be so clearly declared accurate or inaccurate.

As for the coming year, I made three predictions:

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"Jerry No Too Fat for Me"

Here’s another portion of my book that didn’t make it into the final version.  Remember, it’s rough and unedited, but it is a story that’s dear to my heart.

I’m a volunteer police chaplain, and when my pager starts buzzing, most likely, I’ll be gone for the next several hours.

Last December, the tell-tale vibration happened at about 9:30 p.m., just two days before Christmas. I called into the police dispatcher, and she told me, “We’ve got a DOA.”

“What more can you tell me?” I asked, after she gave me the address.

“Well, he was big. Really big. They couldn’t get him out to the ambulance.”

“Oh. Okay. Which officers are there?” I asked.

“Everyone’s there.”

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