Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love Wins... (Initial thoughts)

One of the many things that I love about Psalms is that they are written by people like you and I - real people, with real life situations and real emotions, often unedited emotions - conveying their hearts to God. 

Have you ever tried to read just 4 or 5 verses from the middle of a Psalm without knowing what it says from verse 1-3 or 6-end?  Really?  Their poems had beginnings and middles and ends. How can one even pretend to understand the heart of the writer when we take a snapshot from the whole and pretend that we 'get it'

This is how I feel about "Love Wins".    Before the book was even on the shelves, people had read the flap, or the back cover, or seen a controversial excerpt, and dared to pretend that they knew exactly what was on the heart of the writer. Or worse still, 'somebody' told them something about it, and they just accepted their views without even reading the book for themselves.

Then, when it came out, 'they' hurriedly grabbed the book and opened it on Chapter 2. Hell. Read it. Then scream 'Heresy and Universalism' all over the place.

What? 

If I had done that I would also have had BIG questions. However, as it is my custom to do, I begin at the beginning of a book and generally finish it at the end.  This is usually a good idea if one wants to understand what's going on.

I wasn't really suprised to find that there was nothing in there that I had not read in other writings in the last 5 or 6 years by other authors. Sure, there is lots in there in terms of conversation - but is that wrong? Should we be gagged from thinking or discussing?

It is his style to ask lots of questions and not necessarily answer them - making you think for yourself. There are parts that as you read, you stop short and think "Oh, so THAT's what everyone is on about, hmmm." and you can be tempted to close the book and think "They were right".... or, you can carry on, you can read more, you can get to the end and find that Rob isn't a unversalist, or that he does believe that people can and will be seperated from God through their own choice.

Seriously, in a nutshell. That's his message. God loves everyone. He desires for all to be saved. He desires to have a relationship with everyone. However, because of His great love for us, he has given us the freedom of deciding whether or not we believe that that IS what He wants.

The moral of the story is that God doesn't send anyone to hell, He wants to rescue us from it. (In fact, very similar to my post about a week ago.)

We, all on our own, choose to go there when we choose to disbelieve the story of his great love for us. His love can rescue us from our sin but only when we allow him to.

I will read it again - but honestly, I don't know what everyone is so uptight about because really, if we truly believe that God is who He says He is: JUST, MERCIFUL, GRACIOUS, LOVING, etc... then surely we have to believe that however heaven/hell etc work out, that He will be fair.

So, why argue about ones personal convictions about the future?
  • Let's live in this moment.
  • Let's live for Him in this moment.
  • Let's be part of His story as we extend grace and mercy, such as we have been shown.
What a privilege to have the freedom to love Him.

I'd be interested to know your thoughts.....

More about what Rob believes here.

4 comments:

  1. Amen Sister!

    We just love to put our God in a box and then still have the cheek to label the box. This made me think of the pastor that came to see us today and wants to get involved in our ministry. He does this by telling us that we have been doing it all wrong for the past 13 years, that we have too much love and too much grace towards our people. That they must be taught to obey God or go to hell. Really! He will be the sure way of getting people totally put off from following the judgemental and wrathful God he is preaching;-) He told me I am not spirit filled because I don't speak in tongues;-)

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  2. A point well made. (So you managed to put the universalist heretic's book down long enough to write the blog?!) Why is it that people react to and criticise that which they most fear or least understand, without trying to confront the fear or increase their understanding?

    Neither Bell, or McLaren, or others of the ilk, are faultless, but they do add colour to the ongoing conversation - if people will let it be a conversation - which requires talking AND listening.

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  3. isn't interesting how some Christians get really really wound up and upset by someone talking about a God who loves everyone and wants to accept everyone and wants to make it as easy as possible for everyone to receive that love and acceptance

    why is it these christians love talking more about keeping people out than calling all in?

    I agree with all your comments - thanks

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  4. Thanks everyone for your comments!

    Lynette... what to say to that? I'm speechless, horrified in fact. You just keep on going, clearly you have much love to give and that is so often just what people need. One can never have tooo much grace and love.

    Jeremy... Agreed. Listening and chatting = conversation. And not thinking about how you want to respond while the other person is talking - but really listening with an ear to understanding the other party. Not always easy when we are bent on being right...but its way more fun having a dialogue than a monologue!

    Rob...Great comment and question. Do you think it could be because we as humans are so desperate for justice? Possibly also some think they are 'good' and deserving, and therefore feel qualified to decide who is 'in, and who is 'out'?

    When will we learn that God is not like us and let him be God?

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So, what do you think?