3.28.2007

good quote from a good book



"In the beginning.

In the first chapter of Genesis, when God creates the first people, He blesses them. This is significant. God’s blessing is the peace of God resting on people. The story begins with humans in right relationship, in healthy, life-giving connection, with their Maker. All of their other relationships flow from the health of this one central relationship, people and God. They’re connected with the earth, with each other. They’re naked and feel no shame.

And then everything goes south.

They choose another way.

And they become disconnected.

God goes looking for them in the garden, asking, “where are you?” The first humans make coverings of fig leaves, and then they’re banished from the garden.

Disconnected from each other.

Disconnected from the earth.

The woman is told that there is going to be conflict between her and the man. The man is told that there is going to be conflict between him and the soil.

And this is where you and I come in. We were born into a world, into a condition, of disconnection. Things were created to be a certain way, and they’re not that way, and we feel it in every fiber of our being.

Is this why the first thing newborns do is cry?

We’re severed and cut off and disconnected in a thousand ways, and we know it, we feel it, we’re aware of it every day. It’s an ache in our bones that won’t go away.

And so from an early age we have this awareness of the state of disconnection we were born into, and we have a longing to reconnect.

Scholars believe that the word sex is related to the Latin word secare, which means “to sever, to amputate, or to disconnect from the whole.” This is where we get words like sect, section, dissect, bisect.

Our sexuality, then, has two dimensions. First, our sexuality is our awareness of how profoundly we’re severed and cut off and disconnected. Second, our sexuality is all the ways we go about trying to reconnect.

Last year I was swimming in the ocean with one of my boys on my back in the midst of a pod of dolphins. They were swimming around us and under us and making their noises, which are incredibly loud and piercing, when one of them shot up into the air above us and did a flip. Right over our heads.

When we describe moments like these, the words we use are rarely about distance. The words are about nearness and connection, sometimes even intimacy.

Your friends just got back from hiking, and they say, “We felt like we could just reach out and touch the mountain.”

I just spent an afternoon with a doctor who donates significant amounts of time working with people who have AIDS and can’t afford proper treatment. He loves it. He talked with great passion about they joy it brings him. He’s a successful, educated, wealthy man who loves to spend his time with the poor, uneducated people who are from a totally different world than he is. He was telling me how his work brings him a sense of connection, an awareness of the simple truth that we aren’t all that different from each other.

These moments move us because they have a sexual dimension. They help us become reconnected. They go against our fallen nature, which is to be cut off.

That’s why music is so powerful. Have you ever noticed that when you ask people why a particular song or concert moved them so much, they often resort to ambiguous explanations?

You get words like emotion and passion and energy and relationship and connection. Music is powerful because it is sexual. It connects us. We generally don’t think of it in those terms but it’s true. The experience of a great concert, with everybody singing together, waving their hands in the air, and a feeling of oneness permeating the room, has a significant sexual dimension to it. We don't know each other, we come from vastly different backgrounds, we disagree on hundreds of issues, but for an evening, we gather around this artist and these songs and we get along. The experience moves us so deeply because it taps into how things were meant to be, and we have so few places where we can experience what God intended on such a large scale.

Whether it's a concert or a church service or a rally for a just cause, certain communal events draw us into something bigger than the event itself. We feel connected with the people we're having the experience with, and not just connected but aware of something bigger than us all that we're brushing up against in the process.

What we’re experiencing in these moments of connection is what God created us to experience all of the time. It’s our natural state. It’s how things are supposed to be."


Sex God
Rob Bell

CLICK HERE to purchase Sex God

16 comments:

Just a girl.... said...

Gina lent me this book last week. I'm halfway through it. I LOVE it! There are some definite points in there that I am taking personally, and I mean that in a good way.

VERY GOOD BOOK.

Linda said...

okay. i'm sold. i'm almost done, and should be tonight...good stuff!

RAVEN Deb said...

Let me offer some Biblical feedback to the Rob Bell Phenom. First, let us call this disconnection what it really is, SIN. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Genesis 2:17

So what do they do? They directly disobey God by eating of the tree (Genesis 3:1-6), then they blameshift (Genesis 3:12-13). This is sin. With the sin comes the consequences of separation and death into the world. Satan strikes a blow that is felt until Jesus comes into the world to redeem us. No matter how hard man tries, we can not redeem ourselves by ourselves. When Jesus CHOSE to die for us(he could of walked away at any time), a new covenant was made. Jesus made it possible to live a life with God here on earth. To be connected with God anytime we want as long as our hearts are right with Him 1 John 1:9, and we believe God raised Him (Romans 10:9). We still must live with sin and death, but Jesus stands in the gap for us. He makes it possible to be forgiven for our sins every day as many times as you can throw at Him, so we can have a relationship with God. So we can have those moments that Mr. Bell calls "bigger than ourselves" or "sexual". So we can go and do His work here on earth. Yes, swimming with dolphins(i have done this, sea turtles too) and music are powerful, but it is because these things, when enjoyed by a heart in line with God's are His gift to us to be enjoyed, not because they are sexual. We are connected by God. Thank Him, praise Him.

A life lived for God and with God because of Jesus sacrifice for us, is one that can experience His perfect will and timing, the heights of joy that are unexplainable and the depths of sorrow that only He can bring you through. God addresses sexuality, service, our needs, and anything else we need to know, in His Word. It is all there for the learning.

This next statement may not be taken well, but i mean it with my heart. As Christians i think we are obligated to give the Bible so much more attention than the latest best seller. To learn what God really wants for us and how much He loves us. The formula for a rich, successful, joyful, full and eternal life is in the pages of the Living Word and available to all who dare to read in the Spirit and let it change your heart. From the inside out you will experience a transformation like no other you have ever known or will ever know. Try it. Bury yourself in God's Word. God bless you all in your searching.

jamie said...

Jimmy,
You are right--it is an excellent book. It really got me thinking about many things.

Just a girl.... said...

I'm sorry, but I'm not really understanding the need to place a sermon as a blog comment, on anyone's blog. Nobody has ever said anything about replacing the Bible. There are plenty of good books to read out there that help reach those where they are. Sometimes they may even be the tool to get someone to the Bible.

Gina said...

"We feel connected with the people we're having the experience with, and not just connected but aware of something bigger than us all that we're brushing up against in the process. What we're experiencing in these moments of connection is what God created us to experience all of the time. It's our natural state. It's how things are supposed to be." Jimmy, this is exactly what I was trying to explain to you on Sunday. That "feeling" I have that this is where I'm supposed to be and I'm with those I'm supposed to be with and that things are just "happening". I am experiencing a deeper connection with people (including you and Katie) and I know deep inside that this is what it's all about. Thank God for Rob Bell and the connection that he has encouraged us to have with our Maker.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought.... Most of what Rob Bell says has no biblical truth. He sells books becuase he tells you what you want to hear. Always return to the Bible for your anwsers. Remember we were made for one purpose- To serve GOD. Not to create our own sexuality so that we feel connected. Be a follower of Christ and his teachings. Not Rob Bell.

jimmy said...

anonymous,

Your comment is laughable. Anyone who has listened to a sermon by Rob Bell, or read one of his books knows that Rob has a deep love of Jesus and a deep respect of the Holy Scriptures. You may disagree with his interpretations but it's just dumb to say that "most of what he has to say has no Biblical truth".
If you had read Sex God you would also know that no one is recommending that we "create our own sexuality" as you said.
Also, no one is saying that we don't need to read the Bible. I'm not even sure where you're getting that. Maybe your just assuming that I read these books instead of the Bible. That assumption would be false.

No one is suggesting following Rob Bell instead of Christ.
I am a follower of God. I also learn much from my brothers and sisters. Iron sharpens iron. That one's in the Good Book. That means it's OK to turn to other believers to learn from each other. There's nothing wrong with me learning from another believer and their walk with God. I've experienced a closeness with God and have learned much of God through the teachings of Rob Bell. I'm sure you've had a pastor, or mentor in the past that has had a similar effect on your spiritual walk.

In a meaningful conversation I find it useful to know who I'm talking to. Even if you don't have an account and you need to post anonymously, you could always leave your name in the text box. Otherwise you come off looking like a coward throwing rocks from the cheap seats.

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest problems with Rob Bell is that he is careless with biblical concepts. He handles them in a loose way with a license to manipulate and a rethinking kind of hermeneutics. He deconstructs the traditional/orthodox explanations of scriptural teachings and repackages them, sort of, in his own post modern way. Why is this necessary? It's not!

This is dangerous because for many doctrines in scripture it has taken hundreds of years of hard work to explain and convey by a great number of godly spiritual giants whose shoulders we stand on. The likes of which Bell couldn't hold a candle to. But in one or two books this guy, in cavalier fashion, tampers with foundational essential truths just so he can sell books and be a star. This leads to countless roads of logical conclusions that end up in error and heresy.

But Bell never owns up to this. He is ambiguous just enough so that he can irresponsibly back out of any thing he says if necessary. Jesus NEVER taught this way. He was always clear and direct. Rob Bell, (to borrow from Vance Havner) is and EXPERT AT THE ART OF ALMOST SAYING SOMETHING.

The sad thing is, that many church leaders and young christians think this guy should be admired and emulated and is a solid source of biblical teaching. They are deadly wrong! Let me say again: Bell's teachings lead to countless roads of logical conclusions that end up in error and heresy.


- Scott (panama)

jimmy said...

Thanks for coming by Scott, and thanks for leaving your name. You sound smart, so I'm not gonna fight with you... much.
I will say though that Jesus taught in parables, and hard sayings that had His followers scratching their heads all the time. Not exactly direct. Jesus was "an expert at the art of almost saying something" (to borrow your quote). He didn't give them easy answers. He made them think about it, He made them come to their own conclusions.
As far as the Fathers of the faith, there have been many Fathers of the faith who believed that the world was flat. Another Father, Martin Luther, had many great teachings but he also believed that Jews were scum that should be eliminated. Not exactly "loving thy neighbor" is it? The founding Fathers were not infallible, neither is Rob Bell, or you, or I. I can say that personally, I have learned a lot from Rob's teachings, and writings, and I feel like because of the influence of these writings and teachings I am closer to who God intended me to be.

There's still room to grow. There's still room to learn.

RAVEN Deb said...

For a great way to live your life for God, check out wayofthemaster.com This really brings the scripure to life for a searching evangelist. As with all books or audios, read or sisten with Holy Ghost discernment. Verify what you question in the Living Word. God Bless

jimmy said...

See what Deb said? She said, "This really brings the scripure to life". If you get inspiration when you listen to Kirk Cameron speak, awesome! Head on over to wayofthemaster and get inspired.
When I hear Rob Bell I feel the scripture coming to life. Things that I hadn't understood before, or things that just seemed wierd all of a sudden make sense. He digs deep into the historical context and the cultural setting to bring the word to life.
I've been to Bible school. I know all the big words like hermeneutics, and exegesis, and still there was a lot of stuff in there still seemed odd or out of place, or just plain wrong.
There are a few teachers that I listen to/read (Rob being one of them) that really open things up in a way that makes sense. It feels like when you're looking through a lense and all of a sudden everything comes into focus.
When everything comes into focus I feel like I can see a clearer picture of how I should be living my life. I see a clearer picture of what it means to live in the way of Jesus. It makes me want to be more like Him.

Gina said...

I have been a Christian my whole life. I've gone to church since I was born, been in Christian school, and have always had some sort of personal relationship with Jesus. I've heard a million sermons, but it all started to "click" when I heard Rob Bell. His words have helped me draw closer to God. Never in my life have I been so inspired to love those around me, read and study the Bible, dance with Jesus, worship my Creator, talk to the Holy Spirit all day long, and be proud to share it with anyone around me. Everyone is different. At different times in my life I have been inspired and encouraged and discipled by a variety of different people--each of them where exactly what I needed at that time to point me and push me in the right direction. God can use some crazy things to draw people to himself. As soon as I think that God will only work this way or that, or only through this person or that. . . he'll blow my mind and use something TOTALLY unexpected. Only he knows what words I need to hear to make me fall in love with him all over again. It just so happens, at this point in my life, that God is using Rob Bell to communicate those words to me.

Thomas Costello said...

Is there some kind of an email list I can sign up for when a fight starts on Jimmy's Blog. I really wish I could have jumped into the hot action earlier, instead of putting in this late response. But better late than never.

As a Rob Bell lover (97 percent of the time) myself i see nothing wrong with this quote here biblically. I know little about the etymology of the word sex, but the concept the is trying to get across here seems to be a biblical one. Most of the controversy seems to stem from what people think they know about Rob Bell. I have jokingly called Velvet Elvis Jimmy and Katies Bible before because they do seem to really like his books, but there is no doubt for me that it is a spiritual encouragement for them, not a spiritual replacement. As I was reading all of these comments I was reminded of a great quote from scripture. IT is similar to Jimmys remarks on Iron Sharpening Iron. Paul has a message for the Corinthian church in 1 cor 11:1. He tells them there that they should follow his example as he follows Christ. He doesn't say only follow jesus and have nothing to do with other believers who claim to know more than you. As Christians we are commanded to follow someone who is following Christ. That is what Rob Bell is for a lot of people. We live in a great time where more and more you don't have to be within 10 feet of someone in order to disciple them. We are just beginning to see the acceptance of this kind of distant discipleship in our culture. My Goal as a believer is to be able to say that same thing that Paul said to the Corinthians almost 200 years ago. What an honor for someone to follow me as I follow Christ.

Thomas Costello said...

comment moderation... weak.

Darla said...

my church used stuff about the disconnect when they talked about PUREsex last year...
www.thestirring.org
that is their website... podcasts are cool.