I remember when Rob Bell released his book “Love Wins”. There was somewhat of a frenzy at our church about Rob’s teachings — whether or not they were heresy. Eventually, the church board at the time chose to ban Rob’s works from the church library. He was deemed dangerous, a threat to bible-believing Christianity.
I was still fully immersed in evangelical culture at the time, but writhing underneath only many of the core tenets. Most of that writhing was private. It became more private after I was what happened to Rob. I hadn’t read any of his books before, but I knew I was plenty exhausted of the whole world somehow being a threat to our rather small and judgy faith. Islam was a threat, secular humanism was a threat, mainline churches were a (nominal) threat, liberalism was a threat. There were very few people groups who were seen as somehow beautiful and wondrous because everyone else was to be feared.
I was sick to death of fear.
I was sick to death of God being found only in a remarkably small sect of one tiny expression of one religion.
I was sick of living in my own toxic echo chamber.
Enter Jesus manifesting God through foreign women (the widow at Zarephath), and diseased oppressive men (Naaman the Syrian). The crowd nearly did away with him permanently because he dared to manifest God in people who weren’t the in-crowd.
Farewell, Fear. I want no more part in your control.
But how, as the crowd, can we be different?
Let’s dare to step on a journey of something new.