>"The Internet Is My Religion"

>I think this is an important video, telling the story about how one man’s faith in God is replaced (to some extent) by the internet.  It’s where religion becomes the interconnectedness of separate individuals working for good.  There are a lot of very Christian themes that come through this talk and I think it’s an important video to watch.

It might make you tear up.

It might make you want to tell him all about Jesus.

It might make you wonder where the church is in the story.

It might help you see technology in a new way.

You might just agree with everything he says.

(Also, know that you might be asked to offer up an email address in order to watch more than about five minutes of it.)

HT/Matthew Paul Turner

http://cdn.livestream.com/embed/pdf2011?layout=4&clip=pla_8a026681-a944-4459-a735-6ff526f72b5a&autoplay=false

Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at livestream.com

>Two Things I’m Reading Devotionally These Last Two Weeks of Lent

>The 4th station of the way of the cross on the...Image via WikipediaStations of the Cross

I’m a big fan of the work of Michael Spencer, the “Internet Monk” who died last year.  I’ve not been able to read all of his stuff, but, during Lent, I’ve tried to go back and read some of his older posts. They challenge what is is I believe about the church and how I view my own evangelicalism, which I know doesn’t look like the “evangelicalism” I grew up around.  The blog is now being carried on by those who worked and talked and learned and journeyed with Michael.  I’m enjoying the daily reflections on the stations.

Reflections on “The Our Father”

Jennifer Fullwiler is someone I’ve gotten introduced to lately.  She grew up as an atheist and converted to Catholicism, entering the Catholic church on Easter in 2007.  While she dives into her new faith, she knows what it’s like to be outside of it as well. I have appreciated her reflections on The Lord’s Prayer.

Do check these devotionals out for yourself if you’d like.  I can highly recommend both of them.

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>Rob Bell in My Inbox (And Maybe in Hell, Too)

>

Well, this morning I sat down to go over my RSS feeds, using Feedly (which taps into Google Reader).  And, LO AND BEHOLD I FIND ROB BELL.  Not just a little Rob Bell, but A LOT of Rob Bell.  Rob Bell, for those who don’t know, is the Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Michigan and behind the very popular Nooma videos (which we’ve used at Girdwood Chapel) and the Velvet Elvis Book (which I really enjoyed).

Well, he has a new book out called Love Wins and it’s causing quite a stir as it appears that Rob either enters in to UNIVERSALISM or at least touches on it, perhaps saying that God’s love is so big that hell is an empty place.  Let’s be clear.  I’ve not read the book.  I’ll probably read it after it’s out next month.  So, all I’m doing now is reading reviews–by people who have not even read the book but all have their opinions.

But, I’ve been known to get my toes up to the line of universalism, but never able to cross over.  I want hell to be a small place because the grace of Christ is so big but I put my trust in God to make the final designation, knowing it will be good and just.  The words of one of my professors, Geoffrey Wainwright, still rings in my ears:

It may or may not be Christian to be universalist.  It is definitely NOT Christian to not want to be one.

There’s a lot going on here.  Is universalism heretical?  What does our understanding of hell tell us about God?  Are Jews who were killed by Hitler, now with Hitler in hell?  Does God’s holiness demand that hell is a big place and heaven for a select few?  Are those who believe in universalism damned to eternal fire? 

Hey, these are big questions.

So, it is with great anticipation that I saw all of these links today.

First, the cartoon above from Naked Pastor.

Second, an account of how the media has spread this from Challies.

Third, a post from Hacking Christianity which reflects on an anti-condemnation book getting condemned.

Fourth, Rachel Held Evans says Bell is asking some good questions that people are already asking:

Will only a few select people make it into heaven?

How does one become one of these few?

Are people like Ghandi and Anne Frank really in hell, along with millions and millions of other people?

Do we need a loving Jesus to rescue us from a hateful God?   Is this what the gospel is all about?

Is the gospel good news or bad news?

What is the essence of God’s character?

Fifth, over at Connexions in Wales, one comment on a post says:

The early church seemed eager to excommunicate people over such matters as having the wrong tonsure. You’d think we might have learned something since then. Apparently not. Pharisaic Orthodoxy is so much easier to try than Christian love and grace, it appears.

Sixth, a more critical (and theological one) from Trevin Wax.  Read the comments to see how it shakes up.

And, lastly, from Justin Taylor and The Gospel Coalition, another critical look at Rob Bell’s potential universalism.

Look, all of this is before the book has been released.

But I think we have here the classic debate between holiness and hospitality.  They are both good.  And I sometimes find it hard to camp out in the middle.

We’ll find out more after the book release on March 29th.

>Anonymous vs. Westboro Baptist Church — A Win For Free Speech?

>Well, one of the blogs I look at frequently, Jesus Needs New PR, is saying that Anonymous has released a press release saying that, contrary to the discussions happening on the web (even here) they really do believe in free speech and are not going to take time to attack the Westboro Baptist Church.  Here’s the apparent release.

I guess, if you’re gonna be a proponent of Free Speech, you need to be a proponent of ALL free speech.

>Wesboro Baptist Church Responds to "Anonymous"

>So, the hacker group “Anonymous” says they’re going after the WBC.  And now, according to the horribly named WBC site (NSFW), they’ve told Anonymous to “bring it.”  I’m not saying that I’m opposed to free speech here.  I’m only saying this could get interesting. 

And as a Christian, I need to be aware that the media could have a field day with this…and that’s partly what the WBC wants.  Even they note that it’s ironic that they rail against the media yet get their message out through the media.  I think I could even question myself and ask whether my mentioning them is bringing them more attention than they deserve or if it is a way to combat their ideology.  I dunno.

Anyway, here’s the press release from the WBC — linked from a different site.  I truly didn’t want to have any WBC links here.