Yesterday MPT and I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rob Bell for EP36 of That God Show. We covered a lot of ground, from his new book, How to be Here, to leaving Mars Hill, why he seems so happy these days, and wide-range of other topics.
As Rob always does, he left us with a lot to think about and digest.
Since I primarily write for people who have undergone, or are in the process of experiencing an evolution in their faith, my favorite part of our discussion was on surviving a paradigm shift.
What do you say to the people who just aren’t sure what they believe anymore?
“The first thing that happens when the rug gets pulled out is people are most acutely aware of what they no longer believe or think… They say, “I don’t know what I believe anymore” but that’s not actually true, because the reason why you are walking away from that previous framework is because it didn’t work…
We do not move to later stages of consciousness without loss, pain, suffering, or a some usually cross-cultural experience where our previous categories and labels no longer work. Generally in times of stress, loss, pain, or when we’re confronted with some new experience that doesn’t fit our previous categories, we will either dig in our heels and entrench, or we will break through to greater expansiveness, freedom, complexity, or inclusion… So to the person who’s like, “Oh man, I’m just taking the whole thing apart, nothing works like it used to, up is not down, right is not left… that’s the only way that growth happens. And so, celebrate it! Because it means the old is going and the new is coming.
So, the first thing I would say is it’s not entirely true that you have no idea what you believe anymore. It just happens that in this moment you are acutely aware of some things you no longer believe, but the only reason you don’t believe them is because there’s something better that is pushing them out… This is how people grow— it’s totally normal, and you should celebrate it.”
There’s lots packed into our conversation, so you won’t want to miss the full interview. You can catch the entire episode right here, or download in iTunes:
Not quite sure why leading to discussion or: “As Rob always does, he left us with a lot to think about and digest.” is the end all to modern spiritual growth? As if Rob is the end all to spiritual depth. Seems a bit crazy that societal Christianity has numbed itself to a less than 10 minute nooma or an overspaced & fat fonted book to measure closeness to god. Sure Rob can make anyone question, discuss and think. But in the end does that lead us close to peace in our spiritual lives?
Before anyone pounces- this is not a condemnation of Rob, his writing, quality of little films or his speaking, preaching or talking. Sure people can and have grown from Rob. However, I do think that people with the bullhorn should be questioned and to date only Martin Bashir has been able to do that.
Appreciated this opportunity to listen to Bell. The fanboy theatrics of the interviewers annoyed me, but maybe my annoyance spurred me to listen a bit more carefully.
You asked one hard question: “What if ‘here’ sucks?” Bell answered by speaking of the self-improvement that occurs when we move toward the problem, not away from it.
It was a helpful yet inadequate answer, leaving the listener lots of space to conclude that “here” is ultimately about me and my development. Maybe next time you can follow up on that? I do not want to conclude Bell is a narcissist.
yes- fanboys is a great description. That is fine if one wants to interview someone who they are fans of but it should not be presented as a journalistic interview which is sortof what this page does. To learn there must be contrast and there just was not contrast in this recording.
Following in a rabbinical ways of this interview… “If I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you. But if I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you.” – Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk