Rob Bell’s Drops Like Stars

I Know How You Feel

Alli and I had the great opportunity to go see Rob Bell’s “Drops Like Stars” tour at the Uptown Theater tonight.

I’ve talked about Rob Bell on this blog before. Read my post from last week, Rob Bell vs. Joel Osteen, and my review of Velvet Elvis if you want a bit of a primer.

Bell’s “Drops Like Stars” tour is basically a two-hour multimedia sermon focusing mostly on the concept of suffering.

Suffering connects us in a way that health and wealth and money cannot.

His two-hour presentation covers four major issues:

  1. The Art of Disruption, or how we are very good at making plans on how our life is supposed to go, but never does.
  2. The Art of Honesty, or how pain has a knack for bringing out our truest selves.
  3. The Art of Elimination, or what can you let go of?
  4. The Art of Possession, which is not the same thing as ownership.

Rob Bell's Drops Like Stars

I loved every moment and every lesson and every story of his talk. Bell’s message is on point. His delivery is conversational. He’s funny. He understands people.

One of his true gifts is his ability to teach and present. He engages the audience in so many ways, not just through his content (although that is a wonderful start), he does so through his rhythm and timing, through his body language, through the tone of his voice. He is so amazingly talented, not just in his interpretation of scripture and spirituality, but also in engaging his audience in the challenge of his words.

Bell is phenomenal at what he does, whether it be teaching sermons at his home congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, or writing books like Velvet Elvis and Jesus Wants to Save Christians, or touring different cities and helping people to come to comprehend the purpose of suffering as he does on the Drops Like Stars tour or just inspiring regular folks like me.

If you’re the least bit interested in anything I’ve had to say about him, next time Bell is in Kansas City, I highly suggest going to check him out. You won’t be disappointed. And I will most certainly be there.

Thanks, Rob.

Rob Bell vs. Joel Osteen

Jesus Wants to Save Christians

Religion in the United States has seemingly never been more polarizing. Christians have gotten a bad rap and in some ways it is deserved.

There are some big personalities speaking for Christians in America. Joel Osteen. Rick Warren. Pat Robertson. Glenn Beck? It’s just like different versions of the same voice.

There’s one voice that I wish was speaking a little louder.

Rob Bell.

From the Mars Hill site:

Rob Bell is the Founding Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church. He graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

He is the author of Velvet Elvis and Sex God, and is a coauthor of Jesus Wants to Save Christians. He is also featured in the first series of spiritual short films called NOOMA.

I was introduced to Rob Bell through his NOOMA videos and I’ve been listening to him since. Velvet Elvis is one of the best books on Christianity that I’ve read, not because it is cool, but because it is true.

He puts scripture into context (and man, is he ever versed in scripture), he uses wonderful analogies to make points and he challenges his audience to think critically about their faith. I like that.

This week, I listened to the audiobook Jesus Wants to Save Christians, the terrific book he wrote with his friend Don Golden. How can you go wrong with chapters named “Swollen Bellied Black Babies” and “There’s Blood on the Doorposts of the Universe”?

Bell is a voice of Christianity that is tolerant and aware, but also extremely well-versed. He uses scripture in a relevant way that puts it into the context of the age in which it was written to help us understand it and apply it today. Some of the voices I listed at the beginning of this post can be a bit extreme and some of the best intentions can get lost and they can drown out people like Rob, who really need to be heard.

Velvet Elvis

Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

I was a little hesitant to follow up reading The Shack by reading Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell’s manifesto on “Repainting the Christian Faith”.

I’ve been following Rob Bell’s work since I first saw one of his NOOMA videos, which really do a great job of making Christian ideas accessible to a wide swath of the public. Even his sample videos on the site do a great job of getting across the messages of the videos.

I had a decent idea of what the book might be, but I was still really looking forward to reading Bell’s thoughts on Christianity in long form, rather than in 10-minute video consumption. Even despite what I thought the book might be, I was so thrilled when I read it.

Sometimes, it’s tough to be a Christian. There are people and organizations that don’t exactly give Christianity the best face. However, when reading through Rob Bell’s book, I got a glimpse of what Christianity could be.

Through the pages of Velvet Elvis, I took copious notes in the margins, underlined passages and phrases that I loved, and overall just soaked in the ideas that I appreciated most.

Now, this book will not be for everyone. It treats Christianity and Scripture as a flexible, living, breathing organism rather than a rigid set of rules. This form of Christianity is not for everyone. But I found a lot to agree with and I thoroughly enjoyed it.