Last night, my brother-in-law Ed and I drove to Cleveland Ohio. There are few things that would compel a person from Pittsburgh to drive to Cleveland Ohio. An away Steelers game. An offer of free tacos for any and all who show up. And of course, Rob Bell.
Now a word of caution is needed here before we go any farther. I'm open to discussion and disagreement, but for whatever reason Rob Bell is such a polarizing figure that the mere mention of his name causes people to feverishly hammer away on their keyboards hate filled rants against him as the anti-Christ or something like that. So for this post in particular, if your comment is a substantiative disagreement with a particular view point from Rob Bell, welcome to the discussion. if you're a jerk who just wants to be loud in their disagreement, I reserve the right to delete any comment I choose. Be warned.
I was at the very first Everything is Spiritual tour way back when. I believe it was even in the same auditorium we were in this time around. That first tour blew my mind. It was an explanation of how God was working in the world, including through the sciences we typically claim are antithetical to Christianity. It turns out not only can science and faith coexist, they actually compliment and enrich each other. In those days, Rob Bell was still a bit of an evangelical rock star, if such a thing exists. The place was packed. People from all over showed up to hear from the master of the Nooma.
This time was different. There was a much A) smaller and B) more diverse than I remember crowd gathered to see him. As Ed and I grabbed our seat, the thought hit me that we weren't there to see a rock star. We were there to see the Christian equivalent of a really good indie band.
And boy was he really good. This tour is completely different material from the first Everything is Spiritual tour, but follows a similar trajectory. He spent a great deal of time on science, particularly the origins of the universe (you know, a light and fluffy evening). We were all over the place in terms of topics, from particle physics to community living to racism to names for God to the very matter of our souls. Again, nothing major.
I left that auditorium (having met Rob at the meet and greet and praying with all I had I wouldn't trip over my shoe laces or say something stupid, both major successes) thinking about who would benefit from that talk. 1) Christians. We need to expand our narrative, and Rob does an excellent job of inviting us to do just that. There are avenues of the conversation with the rest of the world that we are just simply ignoring because we don't want to get involved, and the body hurts because of it. 2) People who want to believe in God but are afraid of what that might mean giving up. Do you have to reject science and love and progress to be a Christian? Absolutely not! There were flakes of Rob's book What We Talk About When We Talk About God throughout the night, of a God who stands before us calling us into a new and progressive future. I hope with all I have that there were some in the room who don't know the surpassing love of Christ in the room, because in terms of evangelism, Rob hit a note that the rest of the world wants to be singing.
There aren't many dates left on the tour, but I would encourage anyone who has a chance to go out and see a date if you can. It is stupendous, and gets an A+ in my book.
More tour dates available at www.robbell.com