running,rob bell,sin


This week has been a mixture of frustration and hope. I have had little opporunity to go running lately, and as you may or may not know, running is a type of “centering” for my soul. I don’t mean to sound eastern/mystic with that explanation, but honestly, running is relaxing for me and it restores a balance to my life that is easily distracted with the demands of school. Anyway, I have a new trend that I am enjoying with running. I have been listening to a Rob Bell sermon everynight this week as I have been running, and it has been amazing. First off, I have about 115 of his teachings. And second, I am continually analyzing and learning his teaching style (though I am sure to say that no one could completely duplicate his style and graceful ease.) which is great as a means of learning for myself. One thing I already battle as a wanna-be pastor is the potential to look past a message when it’s being directed at myself or an audience. Somehow, after feeling called to vocational ministry, it seems the trend to somehow remove or elevate yourself from the masses is already happening and the tendency occurs that I allow the message to hit the spiritually “immature.” How wrong is this? And also, does this perhaps explain at any rate our expectation of the pastor or perhaps his demeanor to his congregation. I hate it. Lord, forgive us (me) for our (my) arrogance.

I am trying to go through Doug Pagitt’s “Preaching Re-imagined” and there have been some great lessons already learned which I believe Rob Bell echoes perfectly. For one, a preacher/teacher will only be as effective as a preacher as he relates to his audience. Secondly, it is imperative that the preacher/teacher experience the message that he is teaching, otherwise it is taught from a vantage point of what could be considered, “arrogant absolutism.” As Martin Luther’s spiritual father told him, “We preach what we ourselves need to learn the most.” Amen?!!?! Anyway, back to the main point I was wanting to get at. Here is the brilliance with Rob Bell’s messages and teaching style: I think he really understands sin. And by that, I mean he understands its beginnings, foundations, manifestation, effects, causation, etc. Let me see if I can go deeper with this: As his critics unduly point out against him, Rob Bell does not spend his time railing against sin. But rather, he spends more time explaining the psychological precurors that lead to sin. Of course, he believes sin is wrong, but I have to say that he has a wonderful ability to somehow go past what appears to be, “blunt individual sin” and rather explains its motivation and our desire to do such. For instance, he always says, “there’s a story behind the story” and “there’s a desire behind the desire.” By this, he means that there is something going on at a deeper level than just the committing of sin, but actually a fundamentally flawed outlook or perspective (maybe call it desire) of our own. Only hitting or railing on sin because of the mere committing of sin doesn’t do a lot to remedy the situation, but may infact only leave the sinner more confused because the sinner is now thinking, “man, this peacher must not sin.” But in reality, I would argue that pastors sin just as much as eveyone else, but for them, behavior modification (Derek Webb) is a way to remedy the problem, rather than fundamentally reworking our desires in accordance to how God has designed us. Blah, I am writing too much. But, do you see the failure of dogmatic preachers explaining how wrong your sin is, and then explain your need for a savior, and yet you still cannot explain “why” you sin other than the fact that you know you have?

I have purposefully been examing my own faith this week as I listen to these sermons. I only pray that God can continue to grant me humility as I seek to be a pastor that not only thinks, but “feels.” By “feels,” I mean one who is spiritually in tune with his congregation. Personally, a minister is someone who has the same junk as everyone else, but somehow knows how to deal with it differenty, thus comes the need to “minister” to other people.

“bridges are more beautiful than bombs.” musicatmars.com

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1 Response to “running,rob bell,sin”


  1. 1 matt creathhttp://www.xanga.com/matthewcreath October 6, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    hey man. totally agree with your post! i do think that the overall picture of why we sin is simple: b/c we are fallen creatures. but i appreciate and like the going deeper part. and you’d be surprised…i’m sure you look at where i go to school and think that they only teach the way that you are arguing against. It is actually not the entire truth. sure, you run into people like that. however, i’ve learned alot in my pastoral ministry class this semester (not that I have agreed with everything). your opening statements about the pastor not being higher and on a pedastal is teachings that we are currently discussing in class, and is being taught the exact way you are wishing it were more. so, be encouraged man.


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