Friday, March 8, 2013

"Well meaning, but..."

Jonathan Ryan [who has no Rob Bell books in his library] has been asked to review Bell's new book. Ryan thinks other evangelicals get altogether too worked up about Bell and he isn't inclined to consign him to the outer darkness — but he has identified what he thinks is Bell's most serious defect. From the review of What We Talk About When We Talk About God:
.... [Bell] reminds me of the annoying guy I've seen in campus ministries or youth groups everywhere. You know the one I mean. He dances during worship, raises his hands up and points to the heavens like God is a hot rock star. Youth Group Guy is also the type of person who'll come up to you and say, "Dude, God is awesome, man, He really is." Nothing wrong with the sentiment. However, you can't help hide your laughter at his over enthusiastic and somewhat superficial anthems. ....
So, what about the answers Bell proposes about who God is?
His answers are a bunch of rambling, rumbling, shucking, jiving, beat poet, train wrecks that make very little sense. They’re “Youth Group Guy’s” answers. They’re well meaning, but mostly incoherent. The answers might be fine for an open mike poetry night, but not as answers to the important questions Bell raises.
This is probably why he gets in so much trouble with people like Piper and Driscoll. Instead of saying, “Dude, Rob, your book kinda sucks because I have no idea what the hell you’re saying.” Instead, they’ll probably bring the rod of overreaction and bray like asses.
For me, I go back to Youth Group Kid. He says a lot of stuff that seems profound and good. In fact, some of what he says IS profound and good.
Yet, in the end, you keep wondering when the kid is going to make any sense. You wonder if he really knows what a jumbled mess he is making.
I’m sure there will be many blogs out there about Rob Bell being a heretic, etc. and so on. I’m not going to cast him out of the Kingdom. I like his questions. I hope he keeps asking them.
Yet I would say to him ”Youth Group guy, you’re scaring your brothers and sisters. They don’t get what you’re saying because you’re not making much sense.”