bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

There may be hope embedded in the “heresy”

Alright, so I’m enjoying the book. It’s a quick read—as are all of Bell’s books. As a writer, I have to sound a little haughty for a moment. Rob Bell doesn’t write very well. However, Rob Bell is an exceptionally gifted speaker and anyone that has studied English will tell you that there is a significant difference between spoken English and written English. Written English has the luxury of being dense simply due to the fact that someone unable to comprehend the depth of what’s being read can stop – reverse direction – and read it again if they like. Oratory English doesn’t necessarily enjoy that luxury. So it’s easy for a writer to read a Rob Bell book and snub it based on its lack of luxuriant uses of language.

But that kind of a criticism would be stupid. Rob Bell is an eloquent orator gifted with the ability to convey complex dynamic concepts by way of “putting the cookies on the bottom shelf.” You getting my drift? Having said all that, I’ll say that I like reading his stuff because you’re able to roll through the pages as if you’re skimming through a magazine in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. It’s comfortable and quite rhythmic—it’s oration dictated onto the page. It might as well be an audio CD of Mr. Bell speaking and I think that is a very good thing. It’s more accessible that way. All things considered, thumbs up on the style, rhythm, and fluidity of the book (not that anyone cares what I think).

So here’s the deal: Rob’s chapter on Hell (Chapter 3) is a good one. Somehow he’s able to use his strange “tweet-esque” writing style to reveal a very paradoxical analysis. And here’s what he’s saying—I dare say that I’m about to sum up Bell’s concept of hell better than he doesone does NOT live in Hell by rejecting Heaven—wait for it—wait for it—instead—wait for it some more—one lives in Heaven by rejecting Hell.

“A pause, to recover from that last sentence.”

That’s a big big huge collosal paradigm shift! Whether he convinces you of it or not is a horse of another color, altogether. But consider it for a bit.

If one does NOT live in Hell by rejecting Heaven and instead one lives in Heaven by rejecting Hell then Heaven is the default—not Hell. Are you feelin’ me? Can you smell what I’m steppin’ in? The prevalent Christian paradigm is that Hell is the default and Jesus is offering us a way out of it. It plays well with the theme of “escapism” and “elitism” touted by Christian theology. But what Bell is saying is that Heaven is the default and when we choose to reject the good—the benevolence—the God that is within each of us (made in the image of God) we are choosing Hell. That stands in stark contrast to the teaching of the current Christian paradigm which says that mankind is fallen, bad, sinful to begin with (Hell is the default) and the only way to escape the straight pathway to Hell is to accept the rope ladder being lowered down from the helicopter—which is Christ—so that you are saved.

Wow! My mind is reeling with possible implications of this idea. No wonder the conservative fundamentalist Christian leaders are going crazy over someone coherently conveying this message to such a wide-ranging audience. No wonder the criticisms of Bell making the Gospel “palatable” as a marketing ploy to attract na├»ve souls are so rampant. He seems to be telling people that if you’re born in a coma and never wake up from that coma and die at the age of 70 still in that same coma that you will enter into Paradise.

Wait! Don’t we all believe that in every culture—every faith—every religion—every historical context—don’t we all All ALL agree to that one. If so, then Heaven—Paradise—whatever your tribe calls it IS INDEED THE DEFAULT.

Ok, time to regroup. I’m going back in. I’m only through Chapter 3, but I had to get this down while it was fresh. Then I thought why not post it.

If Hell is a rejection of the default (Heaven) then the current Christian paradigm didn’t just get shifted—it just experienced the metaphorical folding chair from the top rope. I’ll be writing about this for weeks. Stay tuned if you dare…

“Hi, my name is Bonar and I’m a heretic.”