For the most part, I like Rob Bell. He speaks, I listen and I usually glean a thing or two from what he has to say.

Reading his interview on the Faith & Leadership site (an offering of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity), these particular words captured my imagination and I am having a difficult time shaking them.

After hearing a lecture by Gustavo Gutierrez at Vanderbilt Divinity School last night and coming home to read words that resonated deeply with my spirit & ecclesial understanding by Shane Claiborne, this interview is definitely right on time in more ways than one.

Good stuff to ponder.

I can only hope to be equally attentive both to suffering and to beauty as I follow my Lord, who experienced both Friday and Sunday.

Q: Your work seems to be equally attentive both to suffering and to beauty.

If you don’t have both Friday and Sunday, then neither of them makes sense. Think about pop music. Whether it’s the Jonas Brothers or their predecessors, ’N Sync, or theirs, the Backstreet Boys, they all sing, “Everything is great. I love you, baby.” Others sing, “Everything is terrible, dark and wrong.” You can draw a great crowd raging against the machine, but that doesn’t last if we’re just throwing stones.

Every once in a while somebody comes along who doesn’t say, “It’s a great day.” And they’re not stuck in how tragic things are. They have somehow made it to Sunday. When they sing, “It’s a beautiful day,” it lifts you up, and it isn’t trite, and it holds your cynicism at bay. That’s why people love U2. That’s why certain film makers, they can finish the movie, and everybody is happy in the end, and you buy it. You know what I mean? Like you go to “Little Miss Sunshine,” they took me through Friday.

This is why conservative Christian culture is so horribly anemic and shockingly disappointing in its inability to create art that sustains. It isn’t honest. They don’t spend enough time on Friday. Sometimes you have to linger on the book of Lamentations.

There is a woman in our church whose husband was a very successful professional. They’re on vacation in Chicago, her parents are there and the kids out sightseeing. He says, “I’ve got to go up to my room and get something.” He goes down the street, climbs up on the roof of a building across the street from a Catholic Mass that is just getting out, and jumps off the roof. This gospel has to have arms wide enough to embrace where she sits. Jacob limps. Do you know what I mean?”



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