Of course, most people enjoy having some kind of destination, not to mention some idea of where they are right now. But not Rob Bell’s wife Kristen who said this: “I grew up thinking we’ve figured out the Bible, that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel like life is big again …”
At times, the leaders of the Emergent Church seem to want to do anything to postpone making a moral judgment. Brian McLaren once said, “Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides, but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say ‘it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us’ … Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements … Then in five years, if we have clarity, we’ll speak; if not, we’ll set another five years for ongoing reflection.”
Personally, I hope Brian McLaren does decide to shut up for at least five years. That way, he won’t say anything as stupid as the following commentary on God’s decision to send Jesus to die on the Cross: “That just sounds like one more injustice in the cosmic equation. It sounds like divine child abuse. You know?”
It’s edgy. It’s provocative. It sells books. And it’s blasphemy. It’s the kind of blasphemy that can land a soul in hell.
But, if you’ll pardon the rhyme, Rob Bell doesn’t really believe in hell. He says “When people use the word hell, what do they mean? They mean a place, an event, a situation absent of how God desires things to be. Famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death, and slaughter – they are all hell on earth. What’s disturbing is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about hell here and now.”
The Emergent Church is cool, isn’t it? No hell, no death, and no resurrection. Just really good coffee and really good dialogue with guys who really aren’t sure they know anything or ever can.
Actually, Brian McLaren does know something. He knows how to ridicule people who aren’t convergent with the Emergent: “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, and if you don’t love God back and cooperate with God’s plans in exactly the prescribed way, God will torture you with unimaginable abuse, forever – that sort of thing.”
Above all, Don Miller and his friends in the Emergent Church want us to understand that Christianity is not about rules. It’s about a relationship. We don’t really know what the rules are and there’s no way God would want to share his “absoluteness” with “words” that could be used to form “propositions” which could result in “doctrine.”
This Sunday I’ve decided to take a friend to the local Emergent Church. I plan to steal from the offering plate, rape the pastor’s wife, and then kill anyone who gets in my way. Then, I’ll remind the congregation that Christianity is not about rules. It’s about a relationship with God. And one has nothing to do with the other.