If you could have breakfast with Rob Bell, what would you like to discuss?

April 5, 2013

A New (Old) God, Quantum Physics, and Riding the Big Waves: Breakfast with Rob Bell
There’s nothing I enjoy more than having a deep one-on-one conversation with someone who likes to talk about theology and other ideas and isn’t afraid of questioning, challenging religious tradition, or even coming across as “way out.”  Deborah Arca, a member of the Patheos team and writer for its Progressive Christian channel, had an opportunity for such a conversation recently when she had breakfast with Rob Bell. In this conversational interview, Arca shares what they talked about, including Bell’s new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God (See our Link of the Day for March 11), and a host of other topics ranging from quantum physics to inspiration and resurrection to thoughts about  the institutional church to being human to surfing (both the web kind and the”big wave” kind). Arca’s post is written in a question and answer format, so you get to read Bell’s actual comments, not just a summary. It’s a long post, but don’t let that stop you. Its length is one reason I chose it for Friday, because that way it will be on our home page in our Link of the Day spot all weekend, reminding you to read it—even a little bit at a time. (Of course, it will be in our archives if you prefer to read it at another time.)  It’s bound to stimulate your thinking about God, about our relationships with others, about life, about being human. Here’s a sample from one of Bell’s responses:

“So I think there’s a sort of leap that people make at some point where you just become interested in different things. The terror of being right and getting it right or being properly understood isn’t interesting anymore. You know what I mean? It doesn’t mean that beliefs and convictions, and your brain and doctrines aren’t crucial and important; what you believe does matter, and how you think about things does matter. And, when you talk with 16-year-old girls who are cutting themselves, and you find out that they believe really horrible things about themselves, beliefs do matter. Part of the move to contemplation and to experience, for some people, is the reaction against beliefs that weren’t life-giving. To say, “it’s not about beliefs,” well, that is a belief statement. So to me this isn’t about a pendulum swing of “well, we used to be all about doctrine and now we’re not.” No, this is just about the proper integration of all of the ways that we are oriented in a healthy manner around our thriving in the world.”

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992).

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