“Fantastic piece, Todd. Here's my question- marriage equality is a political goal, we know what to do, how to accomplish it, and it looks like it will be a universal reality in the near future. When you say marriage equality is a step toward "a world free of legalized homophobic discrimination," what are the next steps? Because you use the word legal, I'm genuinely curious what laws we need to create or buttress after marriage equality is reached? Or, alternatively, is this a plea that is legal but also extra-legal, a call to pay closer attention to the attitudes and dispositions we all carry that cannot be legislated away? Anyway, I don't know that answers to these questions nor am I in a position to formulate them, so I'll take your word for it! Peace.”
Mark Van Kekerix on Jan 25, 2013 at 14:40:30
“There are still many legal protections enjoyed by other groups (like racial minorities) that LGBT citizens will lack even after same-sex marriage is legal. For example, employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is still allowed in 29 states; employment discrimination based on gender identity is still allowed in 34 states.
Imagine a world where you can legally marry your same-sex partner, but both of you can still be fired from your jobs for it.
In my mind, the next battles beyond same-sex marriage are about legal protections for LGBT folks in employment; housing; "public accomodations" (the right to be served by businesses open to the public); education; and healthcare. And we need to add "gender identity" protections wherever they are missing (like for military service).
Mr. Clayton is right; there is much to be done beyond same-sex marriage.”
“Sorry to miss this year, car broke down in Virginia along the way! Glad to hear that this year seemed even better than last. Thanks as always for being a great conversation partner, Frank. Hopefully catch you in NYC in the future!”
“Jon is an entertainer, he's always "pandering" but are atheists really the new sacred cow? But regardless, Jp, let's not go pretending like theism is the problem with the world so that we have all of these wars and terrorists, that's just intellectually shallow and self-righteous of you, as much so as any Christian who watches Fox or Muslim who believes the problem is "godlessness" in our society and the masses must be converted. Non-"God-fearing" people commit plenty of atrocities too, my friend. In addition, quit with the equivocation of associating all God fearing people with the particular God fearing people who flew planes into buildings. As an atheist, I hope Christians don't associate you with Stalin or Mao. Lastly, just because you AND I don't buy the bullshit answers Christians come up with as to why an all powerful and good God watches while evil happens doesnt mean we have to be so arrogant about it to assume that we are the final authority on these matters. While we both are certainly frustrated with the facile understanding of the world we perceive these other people to have, let's remember that we too are "other people" to them and at least learn to respect one another, and focus on our commonalities, not our differences. The life of most religious people differs very little from that of secularists, so really, let's all play nice... we're all made of the same atoms!”
“Jesus never spoke of "hell." He spoke of "gehenna" which was the valley of hinnom outside of Jerusalem where the ancient Jews dumped their garbage. It was a metaphor, not the literal, fiery reality many Christians speak of. Was Jesus referring to something? Yes, of course. He warned strongly against being thrown into "gehenna." But Who did he warn? Not the gentiles or pagans, but the orthodox believers, the Pharisees. Jesus never ran around spreading your "gospel." He warned those who were sure they were safe from "hell" (a concept foreign to Jewish thought in the Old Testament and until about 300 BCE) that they were the ones headed for it. Paul uses the word "hades," something different than what Jesus spoke of, and Peter used the word "tarsus" which was another greek word for an underworld where the Titans were kept. This is a complicated issue.”
“Thank you, Chris. This article gets to the heart of the issue here much more so than other articles about this controversy that have been published on this site recently. I'm glad someone is actually listening to what Rob is saying and not taking his teachings or questions out of context.”
“I don't think Jon has seen "Everything is Spiritual" where Rob uses an example of a two dimensional world in which three dimensional objects enter into experience. So for instance a 5 fingered hand reaching into the flat world will appear as 5 distinct small circles growing into larger circles. So a cycindral shape, like a marker, would appear as a circle. Rob uses this as an example of how free will and predestination may not be mutually exclusive. He points out that, metaphorically speaking, the two sides are always fighting about whether its a circle or a marker... but it can be both! If that isnt that both/and approach that Jon is pleading for, then idk what is.”
“the biggest problem is that, while I appreciate Jon's ecumenical attitude - I know personally that Jon is well intentioned - its not as if Rob Bell is setting himself against Piperian attitudes and doctrines, and that it takes the father to reconcile the two. Rather, Bell is already concerned with the both /and approach that Jon describes, and that is what Piper et al. are upset about. Essentially, while criticizing Rob, Jon is trying to take an inclusive Rob Bell like approach while paradoxically implicitly affirming the orthodoxy or correctness of the Neo-Calvinist's (e.g. Piper) exclusive theology. It's very strange and subtle. The fact that Rob Bell and younger, "edgier" folks like myself are placed in the role of the prodigal son is a bit insulting...”
“John, I'm a part of the Emergent Cohort here in Columbus. I assure you, Ive read every book ever published under the tag "emergent" and have friends in the movement. I only say this to assure you not many people know whats going on better than I do. Rob Bell has never, ever been affiliated with "Emergent with a capital E" or Emergent Village. Rob has never affiliated with any posse or group outside of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids Michigan. If yu dont believe me, check out this blog by Tony Jones, the former director of Emergent Village, stating that "Rob never joined up with Emergent Village — in fact, he has publicly disavowed the term “emerging church” in various interviews."
Of course, I should refute your other claims as well, but I can't speak for everyone who is "emergent" because there is no statement of faith, it is a diverse conversation. I would just like to point out, humbly, the irony of you saying that I am "out of touch." I will say however, that among the leaders and central figures of the Emergent movement and those associated with Emergent Village, namely the aforementioned Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren, and Phyllis Tickle, have never, in any public way, disavowed the deity of Christ, the Trinity, or the resurrection. The burden of proof is on you, my friend, as you are making outrageous allegations.”
hueyp6us on Mar 3, 2011 at 15:14:43
““But over time this belief [the Trinity], this understanding, this doctrine, has become central to how followers of Jesus have understood who God is. It is a spring, and people jumped for thousands of years without it. It was added later. We can take it out and examine it. Discuss it, probe it, question it. It flexes, and it stretches” (p. 22).
This appears to be a denial of the doctrine of the Trinity, which is an idea expressed by the Gospel writers (Matt. 3:16-17; Matt. 28:19).
“The Christian faith is mysterious to the core. It is about things and beings that ultimately can’t be put into words. Language fails. And if we do definitively put God into words, we have at that very moment made God something God is not" –Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, p. 32)
This quote appears to be a denial of the clarity and sufficiency of scripture, God's complete revelation of Himself and His plan of redemption through the person and work of Christ Jesus to the world, by which, the man of God is fully equipped. Mr. Bell makes several other "heretical" statements, which would lead me to believe that he is only using Christian language to convey his belief system, but that it is not Christianity. The nature of God cannot be denied, nor the fact that his word is truth.”
“Wow. Alright first of all, never, ever has Rob Bell taught anything unorthodox about the virgin birth. Let me quote to you Velvet Elvis,
"I affirm the historic Christian faith, which includes the virgin birthand the trinity and the inspiration of the Bible and much more. I'm part of it and I want to pass it on to the next generation. I believe that God created everything and that Jesus is Lord and God has plans to restore everything."
So about Rob Bell rejecting the virgin birth? About denying the inspiration if the BIble? Could he be more clear? Been reading blogs misquoting the book?
Furthermore, the Nicene Creed doesnt mention the inerrancy of scripture of penal substitionary atonement. the latter wasnt conceived of as a doctrine until Anselm around 1000 CE.
Please, please, do some research.”
JayMonaco on Mar 3, 2011 at 10:23:40
“Isn't it funny how the people who are the most rigid about theology seem to be the ones who have never actually checked it out?”
crparke on Mar 3, 2011 at 01:57:40
“I'm reading Velvet Elvis in pdf form right now. On page 26 he says that the word "virgin" doesn't refer to a woman to hasn't had intercourse. He says that we don't "lose anything" if we get rid of the doctrine of the virgin birth (even though we would lose the authority of scripture-- a very big thing!). He plants doubt into the reader's mind, tempting him to reject it, without coming right out and saying that it isn't true. It's a clever trick.
Without accepting the inerrancy of scripture one can not in truth accept everything in the Nicene Creed, as everything it says comes directly from the Bible. It says that Jesus was God in human flesh some down from heaven "for us men and for our salvation" through his suffering death and resurrection. That sounds an awful lot like "substituionary atonement" to me."”
“Jon you should know better. At least take the time to look up the title of Rob Bell's video series. Now, you can use broad strokes to stereotype your perception of young "edgy" evangelicals, I'm guessing a substitute for "emergent," but don't insinuate that what Bell is teaching is anything like what you are ascribing to these edgy heretics. Nothing Bell has ever taught is outside of the ancient creeds, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone you might associate with Bell outside of their parameters either. You perceive, because you are out of touch, these stereotypes about what's going on in the progressive circles of Christianity, and really it makes you sound a bit foolish. This idea that "more about the 'journey' rather than the destination" blatantly disregards what this entire controversy is about. If Rob Bell obviously cares this much about what we think about Heaven and Hell, you think its a book about the journey and not the destination? As Tony Jones has pointed out in his blog post about the issue, "Rob is not a theologian, in the traditional sense, nor is he a biblical scholar. He is a communicator — an artist, particularly of the spoken word." Greg Boyd has echoed the sentiment via twitter, "It's important to remember Rob Bell is first & foremost an artist/poet. He aims to inspire THOUGHT, not pronounce definitive conclusions." You, just like Piper, are completely missing the point. Sorry to be harsh, brother. Peace.”
John Camp on Mar 3, 2011 at 01:19:17
“You have to be kidding to say that Bell has never said something outside of the ancient creeds. He has denied the exclusivity of Christ, certainly eluded to a denial of deity, denied inspiration and a host of other serious errors. He is Emergent with a capital "E" meaning that he is/was associated with the Emergent Village, where he was associated with a huge number of people who deny apostolic teaching, including those who expressly deny the diety of Christ. I don't maean to seem harsh, but you seem to be totaly ignorant of post-liberal theology and the emerging church movement.”
crparke on Mar 3, 2011 at 01:06:35
“"Nothing Bell has ever taught is outside of the ancient creeds."
Really? I've seen several of his videos on youtube and I've read parts of Velvet Elvis and I can think of plenty of times where he rejects things spoken of in the Bible and in the creeds. He rejects Jesus being born of a Virgin. He rejects the Bible as being inspired by God. He rejects the gospel by saying that Jesus didn't die to save us from the wrath of God and in doing so makes his death on the cross insignificant.
He doesn't inspire "thought" so much as he inspires "doubt" in the authority if the Bible, the person and work Jesus, and the reality of the gospel.”
“Thanks George, this was a great angle to explore. I think that this idea of an evolving God is deeper than those such as Vernard Eller who have proposed similar ideas about God being misunderstood in the Old Testament. By realizing that Biblical authors aren't just conditioned to perceive these events objectively (I can still be a Biblical "literalist" in this way if I want- people recorded their literal experience!), we gain the condition of the possibility of societal evolution as well as the evolution of God or idea of him/her. If humanity must be dealt with in the same way now as 4000 years ago I lament our stagnation! Certainly, as you point out, the idolatry of an unchanging God holds humanity back in terrifying ways.”
hp blogger George Elerick on Dec 14, 2010 at 05:38:26
“thanks so much Bo - you said it better than i did.”