Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday morsel: "dying to live"

This past week I've been reading Rob Bell's Love Wins.  This book, which challenges some conventional Christian assumptions, raised some controversy when it came out a couple of years ago, but I'm enjoying it:  it's bracing, like being hit with a splash of ice-cold water.  ("Thanks, I needed that!")  And I like Bell's style, which is both provocative and poetic.  Here's a passage I especially liked:

"When we say yes to God, when we open ourselves to Jesus's living, giving act on the cross, we enter in to a way of life.  He is the source, the strength, the example, and the assurance that this pattern of death and rebirth is the way into the only kind of life that actually sustains and inspires.

Jesus talks about death and rebirth constantly, his and ours.  He calls us to let go, turn away, renounce, confess, repent, and leave behind the old ways.  He talks of the life that will come from his own death, and he promises that life will flow to us in thousands of small ways as we die to our egos, our pride, our need to be right, our self-sufficiency, our rebellion, and our stubborn insistence that we deserve to get our way.  When we cling with white knuckles to our sins and our hosility, we're like a tree that won't let its leaves go.  There can't be a spring if we're still stuck in the fall.

 Lose your life and find it, he says.
That's how the world works.
That's how the soul works.
That's how life works 
when you're dying to live."


  1. Bell's theology in this excerpt is sound. He then goes on to say that there is no eternal separation from God - no hell - and that everyone will lose their life to find it. That's where he and the Bible part ways.

    Have you read Francis Chan's response "God Wins"? Really good stuff.


    1. My impression is that Bell says separation from God -- hell, a word he insists on keeping -- is available for anyone who refuses God's love. To be honest, I don't find Bell nearly as heretical as I expected to. I'm glad you brought up the Francis Chan response, though, because someone at my church had just mentioned that recently on Facebook and I thought, OK, now I definitely have to read that to get a fuller picture.

    2. Oooh I love it when books instigate their very own response books! I'm not familiar with Rob Bell, but I have heard of Francis Chan.

      Good thoughts today, Jeannie.

    3. Thanks, Adriana! It's so nice to have you drop by during your hiatus! Hope you're enjoying what you're studying. I have to finish "The Glass Castle" for our book study group this Saturday but then it will be time to start "Anna Karenina."


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