“I just finished reading Rob Bell’s new book, Dr. Dixon. I don’t there is anything there that you will need to criticize.” A former student wrote that to me. I believe my former student was, how shall I say it?, well, w-r-o-n-g.
1. I really like the colorful cover. That’s about it. Seriously, I believe Bell directs our attention to what theologians call “common grace,” the concept that God is active in His world in innumerable ways — and we need to become more aware of His presence in creation. I believe he reminds us of the massive concept of God’s “immanence,” a $64 theological word meaning God’s nearness and closeness in creation.
The seven one-word chapter titles are “Hum,” “Open,” “Both,” “With,” “For,” “Ahead,” and “So.” A few quotes from the book illustrate his conviction that God is with us and for us and ahead of us. And we need to become more aware of His pervasive presence in creation. He writes,
“I sometimes wonder if it’s as simple as saying yes, over and over and over again, a thousand times a day. It’s not a complicated prayer, less about the words than about the openness of your heart, your willingness to consider that there may be untold power and strength and spirit right here, right now, as close as your next breath. This isn’t about the same old message of making something happen; it’s about waking up to that which is already happening, all around you all the time, in and through and over you, trusting that God is with us and for us and ahead of us.” (210-211)
He talks about surfing with a guy who was an alcoholic atheist and he got sober and found God in the process. He looked around and said to Bell, “And now I see God everywhere.” Bell writes, “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” (211)
(I wonder if Bell had a long conversation with Oprah and got, ummm, converted).
[to be continued]