Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why I Love/Hate Rob Bell

Why I LOVE Rob Bell. Duh. He's brilliant. And real. And he has a way of communicating that gets to the truth of the matter without sounding judgmental or condescending. And he says what needs to be said. Why I HATE Rob Bell. Because I compare myself to him. Almost every week. I think about the talk I just gave, and then think, "the talk Rob gave this weekend was probably 50x better." And that's a personal thing -- I'll get over it. But I have a bigger question: What does the Rob Bell/John Ortberg/Donald Miller/David Crowder (insert favorite Christian celebrity here) mean to what I'm trying to do here in my local edition of the "big C" Church? What do I say to someone who might say to me, "I download Rob Bell every week. I listen to a couple worship CD's every week. And I have a few Christian friends. I really don't need a church." Rob Bell is a better teacher than what I can offer. The David Crowder Band is a better worship leader than anyone that we as a ministry can put on stage. And if you're going to be a part of our community, it won't always be easy because not everybody is like you and therefore there will be friction. Just to be fair, this isn't a new phenomenom. Only the names have changed, from Swindoll to Bell, from Michael W. Smith to Chris Tomlin. We seem to have an insatiable desire to create celebrities. Or maybe I'm just cynical, petty and jealous that I'm not one of them. So here's my question...am I making a mountain out of a mole hill or does the Rob Bell phenomenon undermine the local church? ps. I hope you understand that I really am a fan of everyone mentioned in this post, so please don't feel like you need to defend anyone.

8 comments:

JD said...

So you really like Michael W. Smith? How big a fan are you? Can we be friends for ever ...?

Seems like the heart of what you're sharing gets down to basic consumerism - It's why America shops at Walmart. Our society has evolved (or de-evloved if that's a word) to the point that we can easily get the best of everything -- that carries over into the Christian world as well. There's no denying that great good is done for the Kingdom by Rob Bell (and others) but it is not without cost ... and we (for the most part) don't see it. I've got to go and listen to my MWS - He rocks!

ckd said...

How can you not like MWS? I don't listen to his music very often anymore, but I really appreciate his worship-leading ability.

Chris said...

Charlie,

If you just had your name printed like this you would be famous and adores by millions...

Charles K. Dean Two

JGanschow said...

I think everybody likes/adores someone they can relate to. I think that's the draw with folks like Bell and Miller. They're down to earth guys, but they've been launched into the limelight because they've been published, filmed, recorded, etc. And they are accessable. If you were podcast, I'm sure people would listen (maybe not as many as Rob, but close). They are not any better or worse than any body else doing God's work. All anyone can hope for is to be the best they can be. Big name show-stoppers are a religious supplement to the community of the local church.

is michael w. smith in the same class with michael bolton?

Beth B said...

"Rob Bell is a better teacher than what I can offer. The David Crowder Band is a better worship leader than anyone that we as a ministry can put on stage."
OK i have not gotten on this soap box in a long time so.....Rob Bell is not better than you Charlie, he is different. he is the teacher God made him to be to the audience God gathered for Rob Bell. You are the teacher God made you to be for the audience He gathered for you. Just because he has written books (which you could do as well and in my opinion it would be amazing) and makes videos doesn't show he is a better than what you can offer.
Dave Crowder while he may be more entertaining than our worship leader is again, no better, he is just different. (here comes the soap box) this is why i dislike worship cds (gasp!)!!! they commercialize and desensitize us to the act and serenity of worship. to me worship (in the singing form) is a prayer to God. It is another way for me to connect to my savior and let him know how grateful i am. however when we listen to the cd in our car with all the distractions of driving, cell phone, ect, it becomes another song. no longer special and different, just a nice song about God. Don't market it as a "worship cd" at that point it is just another christian cd. nothing wrong with that! i love good christian music as much as the next person. it is just the wording that annoys me.
it goes back to formulaic teachings of the Christian walk: listen to this cd and you have worshipped, read this book and you will have prayer mastered, read your bible for 30 minutes a day and God will be pleased. there is so much more to it than just that!
ok soap box over.....

ableknife said...

great post. in fact, i wrote something that is similar on my own website under a post called :emerging the same:. might be of interest. also something you may enjoy, is a book by Rick McKinley called Jesus in the Margins. blesings on your journey~

mitchell said...

I both agree and disagree with Beth. Rob Bell is becoming a big name because he has a unique way of conveying ideas that resonates with people (through books, teaching, Nooma). I'm totally behind you Charlie, but you aren't Rob Bell.

On the other hand, I agree with Beth and JD. It is a little ironic that as an icon for postmodernism, Rob Bell has completely fulfilled the roll as the consumerist pastor. With this idea, I am with the line of thought that most factions of postmodernism are really just the next evolution of consumerism.

I think the real question is what is Dean's pastoral responsibility - and what makes him great in this role? Haven't we learned that we can't learn our way into being Christian? I'll choose a pastor over a preacher any day. It is this roll where you can succeed where no Rob Bell/Donald Miller/Erwin McManus ever could.

The Chad said...

I enjoy Rob Bell, mostly because he brings a different perspective than the one I get at my "home" church...I keep going because I'm part of a local body, but I like to hear outside influences...Bell's stop in Chicago was great and on the drive back to Milwaukee, I found myself wondering "how do I implement what I learned tonight into my daily walk"?