If I speak in the tongues of popularity or of authority, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of speaking absolute Truth and can understand every secret God has concealed and conquer every doubt, and if I have a faith that can move trending topics on twitter, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I say I am only looking out for those who cannot look out for themselves and stake my reputation on the line that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are absolute Truths, they will cease; where there are persuasive arguments, they will be stilled; where there is no doubt in any theological position I take, it will pass away. For we know in part and we try our best to make sense of our world, ourselves and God, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away the childish thought that I could know as God. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Or as a friend of mine likes to say “Love Wins,”
Rob Bell sat down with Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe as part of his Drop Like Stars tour. Here is the definition of “evangelical” the Boston Globe quoted: “I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing.” You may want to follow the conversation at Out of Ur.
Here are Rob’s tweets in response:
* Ever done an interview and then read it and realized they left out most of what you said? Maddening.
* A bit of history: the word evangelical comes from the Roman Empire propaganda machine- it was an announcement proclaiming Caesar is Lord…
* The first Christians took the phrase and tweaked it, saying “Jesus is Lord.” That, of course, could get you killed. No one challenges Caesar
* To confess Jesus is Lord was to insist that peace does not come to earth through coercive violence but through sacrificial love…
* That is still the question, is it not? Whose way? Jesus or Caesar? Power and might and domination – or bloody, thirsty, hanging on a cross?