Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grace and Love

So it's been a while since i've been updating. Insane couple of weeks. We cruised through February like it was sitting still then got into March and haven't stopped running since. We baptized my son the first week in Lent and it was amazing to have all the friends and family come to visit. Now they're gone and things are starting to settle back down to normal.

A couple weeks ago at our small group discussion we had a conversation that is as old as Lutheranism. We were discussing Matthew 6, and Jesus' comments on divorce, murder and adultery when the conversation turned to salvation. I can't say I was surprised, but it did happen at a very interesting time.

As you may or may not know Rob Bell has recently published a book called "Love Wins" that caused quite a controversy before it was even released. It was suggested that Bell had dismissed hell and become a universalist. Now, I haven't read the book yet, so I can't comment on what awesome level of heresy he's on, but if his prior writings are any indication, I will love it.

I'm not pre-loving this book because it is controversial, I'm pre-loving it because Rob Bell (along with many other missional evangelicals) are swinging towards the side of grace. From a tradition steeped in hellfire and brimstone comes a message as old as Christianity itself, and every time another pastor/preacher/author/heretic declares grace and love as the most important, I get excited.

I've been obsessing about Jay Bakker lately. His book "Fall to Grace" and his weekly sermon podcast from Revolution NYC have been keeping me coming back for more. It is another awesome example of the power of love and grace taking hold in the world. Everybody knows Jay's parents story. Jim and Tammy Faye were quite the scandal. But amidst all the turmoil Jay has emerged a champion of grace. Spreading the message of love and acceptance to an audience who might not otherwise listen.

Aside from the fact that I think they should come out as Lutherans, Bell and Bakker and others like them are inspiring me. As a Lutheran I've had a rich heritage of grace that I've celebrated. Eph. 2:8 was my confirmation verse and has shaped my own theology for all of my adult life. But there are disconnects. We don't always remember that Grace wins out. We get caught up in the message of Jesus telling us not to sin and forget that he tells us these things not that we might be saved, but in order that we might live a more Christ-like life. God's commandments aren't about heaven or hell. God's commandments are about earth. God's grace is what brings us eternal life and salvation, and thank God its not up to us.