Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Missionaries as Tour Guides"

I have to admit, I am late into reading Rob Bell. I had heard of the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grandville, Michigan but I had never really felt like delving into his books. Now I am about halfway through his book Velvet Elvis and it has really been speaking to my spirit.

Some people might say "I am buying what he is selling." But that phrase is such a loaded statement. It assumes a consumer mindset that believes everything is a product that is meant to be sold and demand will determine whether it is true or not. I am not buying what Rob Bell is selling, but rather the truth that his perspective and story is telling is resounding in my being.
Rob Bell would say that Jesus is behind that. Jesus, the architect of truth. Jesus, the creator. Jesus, the primary actor in the story of the world. I think Rob Bell is on to something. He is struggling with the story of God and is struggling to see how his story and our story fit into that grand story (metanarrative). One paragraph really stuck out as I read it. Bell writes:
Missions then is less about the transportation of God from one place to another and more about the identification of a God who is already there. It is almost as if being a good missionary means having really good eyesight. Or maybe it means teaching people to use their eyes to see things that have always been there; they just didn't realize it. You see God where others don't. And then you point [God] out. (Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 87-88)
Bell then goes on to tell stories and share his insight into how as Christians really we are tour guides. We see the world through a story; the story of God and point to that living story to others who might not see it. God is already there. God is already present. Often we just don't see God.

But how do we become a tour guide? To be a tour guide; to be able to point things of importance out we ourselves have to see. We have to be able to recognize the story in the lives of others. Our best source of that story is the metenarrative of Scripture. The starting point where we read the story of God's people and how God interacted with them. By learning that story we are able to see how the story continues on today in our lives and the lives of others. We have to know the story in able to point to it and share it with others. To me that is profound. Rob Bell has spoken truth. He has pointed me to a reality of God that I had an inkling for but never could put fully into words.

I thank God this evening for working in the life of Rob Bell and speaking through him to me.

1 comment:

Jeff Ozanne said...

Just a thought ...
Light of the Lakes currently has something called "God Sightings" during time for Joys and Concerns, where we encourage each other to share how we have seen God in the last week. While unfortunately we do not always have an example shared of this, the times that people do share help everyone else to look a little closer for God in their lives. I think that could help with what Rob Bell is talking about. Though it is interesting I did not notice that when i read the book previously. Thanks for sharing it.