Friday, January 9, 2015

rob bell on fruit.

Two related blurbs from Rob Bell's superb What is the Bible? series on Tumblr (start here) that have been knocking around my brain lately:

"Why is it the more I evolve, or grow in knowledge, that I become more 'right' or 'better' in my mind? How is it that I can be so open, yet so closed off?

"Because knowledge puffs up, as the scriptures say. The brain makes a wonderful servant but a terrible god. This is why love is the deal, the point, the most important thing. Are you more loving than you were? Are you more generous? Are you more honest? Are you more likely to forgive? Do you worry less? Are you more at peace with yourself and others?

If you aren’t a better person, more mature, more like the kind of person Jesus teaches us to be, then you didn’t 'evolve.' You simply got some new facts that made you feel smart. And that isn’t very interesting. It’s often quite obnoxious.

Jesus talked about fruit—actually becoming a particular kind of person who is a particular kind of presence in the world. And you don’t need to be very intelligent at all to become that. Just open and humble and willing."

--Excerpted from "Part 47: Guns, Sons, Kids, Minds, and Money"


"Bitterness is not your friend. It’s easy to become cynical, focusing your energies on them and endlessly wondering why they aren’t more evolved and why they are still stuck back there, repeating the same slogans and going through the same motions. If you are filled with pride over how free and intelligent and enlightened you are in comparison to their backwards, antiquated ways, your new knowledge has simply made you arrogant. Watch your heart carefully, because if you aren’t more compassionate and more kind and more understanding then you haven’t grown at all.

For Jesus the criteria is fruit. You’ll know people by their fruit, by their life, by how they actually live in the world. Lots of people get excited about new ideas and then they shove these new understandings in other people’s faces and become the very thing they despise...If a new idea or understanding or interpretation doesn’t help transform you into the kind of person Jesus is calling us all to be then it isn’t worth much. Are you more forgiving that you were? Less judgmental? More present? More courageous? Less worried and anxious, more free and loving? That’s what interesting, you being transformed. You can debate and discuss and try to prove and show who’s right and who’s wrong-but living the life Christ invites us to…that’s where it’s at."

--Excerpted from "Part 53: A Shout Out To the Lonely"

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