Since this is my first day blogging, I figured I would get the requisite Rob Bell post out of the way early so I can move on to other things. In case you’re not at all linked in to the North American Christian scene, let me explain…
Rob Bell has written a new book (which I haven’t read) called What We Talk About When We Talk About God. His last book, Love Wins (which I haven’t read) was a big controversy for the more conservative folks in the Christian world, and so of course his new book was derided and lambasted before it even came out (at which point no one had read it!). And if you are a Christian and have Twitter, Facebook, or ears, you would have noticed that there is a major stir over the book and Bell‘s recent announcement supporting new marriage laws…again, not the changes that the more conservative camp wants.
The point is, it seems like everyone has to blog about this.
Tonight, while dutifully helping my children prepare for bed, I slipped away to eat a dark chocolate Dove heart, which was leftover from Valentine’s Day. I opened it up to see what message of hope and inspiration I might find (it’s better than a fortune cookie!). It said, “Love Rules, Without Rules”. Hmmm. This immediately made me think of Love Wins, which in turn made me think about what real love is (for a real post on Rob Bell in relation to this, check our Tim Tennent’s post).
The idea that “Love Rules, Without Rules” betrays a vision of love that is mere sentiment. It betrays a view of love that is propagated by our culture, by our media, by the desire to be unbounded in modern America. The idea that love has no rules strikes me as preposterous. Love has many rules. And it is only in the context of these rules that love truly rules.
For example, love demands fidelity, and not just in marriages. If you are not faithful to your spouse, your family, or your friends…well, your love stinks! In fact, the Bible tells us a whole list of rules for love in 1 Corinthians 13. Love must be patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor, does not seek its own interests, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrong, rejoices in truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres, and never fails! What a serious rejection of the idea of love without rules. In fact, it is only when love (and we) follow the rules that it actually rules.
In reality, I have very little to say about Rob Bell. I would be speaking from ignorance (did I mention I haven’t read his books?) into a maelstrom. I don’t see the benefit. But love? This is important. This is what Jesus was all about. This is what I strive (and fail) to be about. If love can really rule (and if it can really win), it must be the real thing. It must be the love with rules.