Random Notes From What I’m Reading

The story of my life is the story of my faith…

Archive for the ‘Rob Bell’ Category

We Need To Keep Dancing

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“To pursue being naked, you have to believe that this person is worth getting to know for the rest of your lives. Being naked is peeling back the layers, conversation after conversation, experience after experience, year after year. It’s rooted in a belief that the soul has infinite depth and you’ll never get to the bottom of it.

Our understanding of what it means to be naked reflects what we believe about the human soul. Is it infinite? Or can you get to the end of a person?

The failure to understand the infinite depth of the human soul is often why people who are married have affairs? They stop exploring the person they married. They find somebody who appears more interesting.

Another couple I’ve known for a while just told me that they have been taking dancing lessons. They’ve been married well over thirty-five years, and they’ve just taken up a hobby together that’s new to both of them. It’s so simple, taking up a hobby together, and yet it’s so profound.

We need to keep dancing, don’t we? Because we intuitively know that is they keep dancing, the world will be better for all of us. We see God in their echad. We desperately need more Johnny and Junes.”

By Rob Bell in Sex God 

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Written by Ryan

February 25, 2008 at 4:16 pm

The Divine Hovering

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“The chuppah is a place of confidentiality. If one partner doesn’t know whether they can trust the other, they will not share certain things. And these may be the kinds of things that if there were trust, would bring them together.Is this between you and me,

or you, me and your friends?

Because that is going to change how much I tell you,

how much I let you in,

how much I trust you with,

how much I give you.

How naked I get with you.

Is this arguement between you and me,

or between you and me and whoever you are going to tell about it?

Is this quirky habit of mine something I let you see because I know you love me no matter what, or is this something you will entertain friends with at a party?

How safe are you?

There’s the profound, mystical sexual union that happens under the chuppah, with God hovering over the couple, blessing them. And then there are the endless conversations and gestures and glances and discussions as two souls let their lives become enmeshed in one another.

We live in a world that constantly tries to pull sex out from under the chuppah.

A culture that shows it,

films it,

examines it, comments on in,

analyzes it,

and then wonders why everyone has lost interest.”

By Rob Bell in Sex God

Written by Ryan

February 24, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Agape Love

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“Agape doesn’t love somebody because they’re beautiful. Agape loves in such a way that it makes them beautiful.”

Rob Bell in Sex God

Written by Ryan

February 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm

The Upside-Down Empire

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“Consider the story just for the sheer poetry of it. Jesus is born to teenage peasants under questionable circumstances. His mother gets pregnant before marriage. He’s born amid the dung and straw of a stable. He’s placed in feeding trough. His brothers and sisters think he’s out of his mind, and after his first sermon in his hometown, the people he grew up with form a mob and try to kill him.And who does Jesus identify with? The outcasts, the people of the land who aren’t good enough, clean enough, wealthy enough, and pure enough to be part of the establishment. He’s invited to dine with the elite and the rich, which he does numerous times, but he also eats with the lowest of hte low – and he enjoys it. He enjoys them.He touches people with infectious skin diseases, he lets questionable women touch him, he lays his hands on dead bodies, and he engages in conversation with promiscuous women alone in the middle of the day.

His entire life is about stripping away the power and control. Jesus always chooses the path of love, not power.

Inclusion, not exclusion.

Connection and solidarity rather than rank and hierarchy.

Touch rather than distance.

Compassion rather than control.

He comes on a donkey, not a horse.

Weeping and broken, not proud and triumphant.

This path Jesus has chosen, which he continues to choose day after day, takes on some ominous undertones. He finds himself at odds with those in power. Partway through the Gospels – the accounts of his life – he starts dropping hints that this path he’s on is going somewhere. Somewhere that involves suffering and even death. His hints, which start turning into predictions, are about a conflict that he sees as inevitable. A conflict between love and controlling power.

As we read the Gospels, we find Jesus’ message putting him more and more in conflict with the religious and political leaders of his day. He’s threatening their power. This is what love does, it threatens the empires of power and control and wealth and manipulation.”

By Rob Bell in Sex God

Written by Ryan

February 22, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Books, Christian, Rob Bell

Love Is…

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Love is handing your heart to someone and taking the risk that they will hand it back because they don’t want it. That’s why it’s such a crushing ache on the inside. We gave away part of ourselves and it wasn’t wanted.Love is giving away power. When we love, we give the other person the power in the relationship. They can do whatever they choose. They can do what they like with our love. They can reject it, they can accept it, they can step toward us in gratitude and appreciation.

Love is giving away. It’s surrendering the desire to control the other person. The two – love and controlling power over the other person – are mutually exclusive. If we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all of the desires within us to manipulate the relationship.

By Rob Bell in Sex God

Written by Ryan

February 21, 2008 at 3:58 pm

If I Just Had…

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Lust comes from a deep lack of satisfaction with life. This is why we have to slow down and reflect on our lives before we’ll ever begin to sort out the signifigance of this. Lust often starts with a thought somewhere in our head or heart: “If I had that/him/her/it, then I’d be…”

When we’re not at peace, when we aren’t content, when we aren’t in a good place, our radar gets turned on. We’re looking. Searching. And we’re sensory creatures, so it won’t be long before something, or somebody, catches our attention.

And if it always revolves around the “if,” doesn’t it?

If I just…

The idea creeps into our head and heart that we are lacking, that we are incomplete, that this craving in front of us is the answer.

The “if” means we have become attached to the idea that we are missing something and that we can be satisfied by whatever it is we have in our sights. There’s a hole, a space, a gap and we’re on the search. And we may not even realize it. When we are in the right place, the right space – content and at peace – we aren’t on the search, and our radar gets turned off.

Adam and Eve fixate on this one piece of fruit from this one tree when God has given them endless trees with infinite varieties of fruit to enjoy. Which is often our problem. There’s so much to enjoy, and yet we fixate on something we don’t have.

This is why gratitude is so central to the life God made us for. Until we can center ourselves on what we do have, on what God has given us, on the life we do get to live, we’ll constantly be looking for another life. That is why the word remember occurs again and again in the Bible. God commands his people to remember who they are, where they’ve been, what they’ve seen, what’s been done for them. If we stop remembering, we may forget.

And that’s when the trouble comes.

Rob Bell in Sex God 

Written by Ryan

February 20, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Lust is Slavery

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“We’re addictive creatures. We try things, we experiment, we explore, and certain things hook us. They get their tentacles in us, and we can’t get away from them. What started out as freedom can quickly become slavery. Often freedom is seen as the ability to do whatever you want. But freedom isn’t being able to have whatever we crave. Freedom is going without whatever we crave and being fine with it.”

Rob Bell in Sex God

Written by Ryan

February 19, 2008 at 1:00 pm