God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

Archive for November 17th, 2006

The Bell keeps ringing true (apologies)

Posted by Martin on November 17, 2006

Ok, so I can’t find a wi-fi hotspot that works, so this will all kind of just appear at once. Sorry about that.

Interestingly, Rob moved from his famous Bible-teaching style into something far more hands-on and practical today as he finished the early day. He talked extensively and compellingly about Sabbath, most of the time from his own experience. Combining this with what I heard last month on the same subject from Mark Yaconelli (see older post) I am now pretty convinced that this is a good idea.

Well, duh. Here’s a little nugget – did you know that zookeepers have realised that after six days, animals need a day off from the public eye or they’ll start to behave strangely? It’s like even nature understands God’s rhythm of six and one: six days on and one day off. God has built 6+1 into the fabric of creation. Cool.

Today was a lot more bits-and-pieces than yesterday, but they were super-trendy-cool bits and pieces. On teaching I paraphrase – we need to be looking out for the work of God around us, all the time, because it’s going on constantly (John 5 v 17). And we need to become sensitive, developing a ‘radar’ for what God is doing right in front of our noses. Then we note these things, allow them to develop into ideas, and then mature over time into talks. It seems that to Rob, teaching is an organic thing – talks literally grow over time inside him.

Rob also made a brilliant and progressive response to criticism of the Old Testament, and over the whole day made it come alive in a way which I’ve never seen before. Oh you get the picture – it was great.

Excitement is now brewing as over 1100 delegates descend. Rob’s on tonight – I doubt this crowd will know what has hit them.

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I am Borat

Posted by Martin on November 17, 2006

MeOr at least, my interview skills are akin to his. Having managed to arrange an interview with Rob Bell today (see previous post) I was less than amused when he suggested that we just do the whole thing in front of 200 delegates, as part of his ‘early day’ event. Great – now my questions weren’t going to look so smart; for a start I can’t now edit them post-interview to tie in better with his answers…

I agreed anyway, and things were going well until I described his book Velvet Elvis as having a ‘super-trendy’ design. He looked at me blankly. He had never heard this word.

In fact, no-one there had. In fact, nor had I. My nerves had got the better of me. Super Trendy? What was I thinking? And then it hit me, as I announced:

‘Oh no. I’m Borat.’

To which Rob replied:

‘This is very nas interview, yes?’

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Rob Bell blows my head up

Posted by Martin on November 17, 2006

A different Rob Bell - sportierArrived in Eastbourne last night for the start of the Youthwork the Conference ‘early day.’ The speaker is about as high-profile as they come in Christian circles – Rob Bell, the founder of Mars Hill Community Church in Grand Rapids Michigan (they meet in a converted shopping mall [which they were given]) and the man behind the nooma series of teaching DVDs. Expectations then were sky-high, which in my experience is rarely a good thing. Remember how you felt going in to see The Matrix Reloaded? And then how you felt when you came out?

So I was cautious about expecting too much. I needn’t have been. Rob was spectacular – he did an ‘overview of the history of the story of God’ using what he termed the four locations that are key to the Bible. Those are – if you’re interested – Egypt, Sinai, Jerusalem and Babylon. Everything else is tourism I guess. I can’t do it justice of course – but I can say that it entirely upended my view of how Old and New Testaments fit together. Previously I’d kind of looked at them as an unwieldy first volume and a much punchier sequel… now they’re more like two sheets of overlaid acetate. The scales fell from my eyes.

Simultaneously, Rob used the stories in Acts 11 and 14 about the criticism he received in Jerusalem for his methods, then displayed in action in Lystra, as a metaphor for our work with young people. There are often people in the background who talk of the importance of religious tradition, and are forever trying to hold us back and call us to account – at the same time, we are also trying to journey into the culture and lives of real young people, and reflect Jesus to them in a way that makes sense. That’s what Paul faced; it’s what we face today.

A key question then – Paul asked, what would it look like for the Jesus movement to break out in Lystra (and in Acts 14 we find his answer – he practically re-christens God!). We need to ask – stripping away some of the traditions that we’ve added over time, what would it look like for the Jesus movement to break out in Brentford, or Swindon, or Grimsby, or Belfast? In all those places, culture and youth culture are subtly different. So Rob’s call was for us to reimagine what it looks like for true church to appear there, I guess.

Tons of phenomenal stuff anyway – I may post more when I’ve had a chance, as Rob would say, to ‘let it all marinate.’

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