Rob Bell And The X-Files

John Vest got to see Rob Bell last nightAdam Walker Cleaveland heard him at the National Youth Worker’s Convention. Chad Andrew Herring used Bell’s Nooma videos for youth groups.

Bell was a household name a couple of years ago after he published a book saying that “Love Wins” and everybody gets to go to Heaven, a book that saw him definitively ousted from the inner circle of evangelicalism. For a while there, everybody and their Associate Pastor had an opinion about Rob Bell.

This is not a post about Rob Bell, though. This is a post about skipping a phenomenon simply because it is a phenomenon and whether that’s a good or bad quality in a leader.

I never read a Rob Bell book. I never used Nooma. I’ve never been to one of his events, and I’ve never weighed in on the controversies that surround him. And that’s almost entirely because Bell attracted so much attention. I didn’t jump on board because the boat was already really full, and I fancy myself more of a kayak person.

It’s the same reason I never saw The Passion of The Christ when it was the talk of every church and every talk show.

I used to hold a superior kind of posture towards phenomena like these, as if I was occupied with more serious matters and couldn’t be bothered to read Harry Potter or get into The X-Files or start listening to Kanye West. But I wasn’t really.

I realize now it’s more about fear, fear that, having once experienced the thing that everybody is raging about, I’ll need to have an opinion about it, and the requirement to hold an opinion makes me nervous. People will ask what I think, and I better have an answer. Better to just skip the whole thing and feign distraction.

That’s just a chump move, right? I mean, people who want to lead meaningful communities can’t just opt out of the things that are on everybody’s minds, can they?

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