Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Velvet Elvis Review 1

Currently reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. It’s a great read! It was on my list for Christmas . . . and received it gladly 

I have a fair bit of respect for Rob Bell from what I hear from his messages at Mars Hill and his Nooma dvd’s and wanted to read this book on ‘Repainting the Christian Faith’.

Teresea and I listen to Rob Bell’s messages when we’re manufacturing bricks. Teresea is a quicker reader than I am so she’s nearly finished it and loves it, I’m up to the third chapter. There’s a couple of reviews on line of ‘Velvet Elvis’ and ‘Sex God’, Rob’s other book, so I’m not going to reproduce the wheel, especially seeing as I’m no book reviewer anyway but I am going to write down some thoughts from my perspective and what I am thinking and would love to interact with anyone if they have the time.

Firstly ‘Velvet Elvis’ is a velvet painting of Elvis that Rob has lying in his basement . . . . My Bro’s use to have these velvet paintings in their room and I used to love them as a kid coz if you had a uv light some of the lighter colours would glow and it would look 3d ish, it was soooo cool, so I’d like to know if Rob's Elvis glows but that’s just a side point eh.

The main thrust of the intro to me is that the exploration of life, theology, and Christian faith has always been fluid and needs to stay that way. . . . not set in any one way but fluid, changing, reinventing, repainting, reforming. Recognising that Jesus, His truth, His love, His hope is never ending but how we embrace it and how it is perceived and communicated needs to mean something now, for today, for the person living in 2008 not in the 1800’s, 1970 when I was born, 1980, 2000 or even 2007.

This struck a huge chord in my heart. One of my major frustrations of formal ministry was the resistance of people who say they follow Jesus yet would not even consider or didn’t know how to consider, being the people who follow Christ in fresh and fluid ways. Just trying to dialogue about it was a threat to something that was held dear. My belief is that what was often held dear was not in fact the many beautiful facets of a loving God but the mere long standing traditions of a people who had become comfortable in their environment.

In this then I think Rob Bell is spot on and totally agree with his thoughts. I’m probably not so graceful (so I guess it’s an area of personal growth) when he says that it’s ok when a body of Christ in whatever form, sits with the current painting and says that’s enough. What if the current painting has faded and no longer looks like Elvis, is it still Elvis? If the faded painting was Jesus, is it still Jesus?

Don’t get me wrong, my love and acceptance of people in this boat still exists to a point that people probably wouldn’t understand but my grace is stretched when I see Jesus portrayed as something I think He is not and where people who need the faith, hope and love of the creator are served outdated rituals of something that used to look like Jesus but is now at times a fading memory.

My aim for my life and for 2008 is to keep discovering what it means to follow Jesus on this earth and to try and be His hands and feet in the places He sends me wherever that may be.

More in the future. Have an awesome 2008!


Michelle said...

Hey Ang just asked me today to buy her a copy of this book and bring it up to Darwin with me!! What a coinky dink (co-incidence for those of you who aren't fluid in 'Michelle'). Might buy me and the hubby a copy too - sounds like an interesting read!!! I've been reading 'Back to Jerusleum' there's an up to date picture of Jesus!! Obeying God in the moment....

Glenn Globber said...

Yeh those are a couple of reads to get your teeth stuck into. Neither of them, if you're sincere, will leave you the same as when you started.
Ang and Dave were over a couple of nights ago and we talked about it. She already was on the hunt. Probably like Teresea, before she starts she'll be finished :)

Mike said...

Hab=vent read the book yet. I must get a copy I have heard both good and bad.

Michelle said...

I got the book yesturday! (was it only yesturday!!) Havn't stopped reading it.....about half way through....Great. I've just read two very impacting books. I'm meant to be unemployed and resting not having my life changed......I would agree though...two very life changing books!

Toby said...

I like you're thinking fella. Just last night after small group I was having a discussion with someone about some of the observed difficulties in the formal church setting, and much of it came back to one question.. What HASN'T changed?

Certainly there can be great value in traditions, and whatever we do (new or old) should be held up against the truth of Jesus. But let's not live in fear of new ways of loving, living and worshipping. Our God is a creative God, so being creative seems like an honourable response!

Glenn Globber said...

Hey Mike thanks for dropping in, excuse the delay in commenting back we'll put it down to international time delay :) I've had a look at a couple of blogs with some critical review on Velvet Elvis, I'd be interested to hear what you've heard.

Glenn Globber said...

Good comment! I like your thinking too. It is amazing isn't it that God has given us these creative juices - actually, the mind of Christ i think it says in Romans somewhere, yet the very people who are called to be the mind of Christ to the world sometimes stifle it . . . what the!?
Michelle, you're beating me i'd better start reading a bit harder.

Anonymous said...

I hear you Glenn, esp when you talked about people "Christians" being happy with sticking with the current picture.I wonder though do they think the picture needs to they think that it is faded. Sometimes we look at the same picture so often that we dont even notice that it might have faded or lost something.Or we simply shrug and go oh well such is life. And recently these are the people who I have felt for so much.I battle sometimes with the sense that as follows of Jesus some of us seem to be ok to accept the faded picture and think it is ok. If we live like that then who will recognise us? Jesus came to bring life, passion, abundancy, a tapestry of vibrant alive colours..And i am realising more and more how many of us who claim to know the love of Jesus dont live with the alive picture, only the faded one and they are happy with not the heart of God!
When I first became a Christian, I thought that those who were lost and sick where the people who were not in "church" I am not too sure anymore..

Glenn Globber said...

Yeah Thanks . . . Suz (It's okay she text' me to let me know that she was pc challenged) (as if I didn't already know that?! :)
Great comments though!
I'm sure that many may not realise that it's faded, some may have not even experienced 'the tapestry of vibrant alive colours' that you speak of. Maybe it's like the frog in water that doesn't realise it's getting hot until they're dead? Too harsh?
My frustration is that the core of what it means to be as a Christian, being making disciples, hasn't been the priority, just settling as a faded painting has.

Michelle said...

Howdy gang of 'globbers'!
I was reading Acts this morning (think it was ch21..or20) and realised that this issue of settling for a 'faded picture' when God is offering a vibrant new one isn't new!! Paul nearly got killed in Jerusleum about 2000 years ago for telling people that 'hey you dont have to follow the law anymore! The 'picture' has changed - there is man called Jesus and a thing called Grace.' And they beat him so that he nearly died and arrested him!!! When the radical gospel is preached..there are radical results! In 'Back to Jerusleum' its pointed out that in the bible when the gospel is preached it either brings revival or a riot! I'm not really seeing either.....

Mikki Saunders said...

Hey, if you like reading and giving reviews on things, how about checking out my blog and telling me what you think, it's called Mikkis Novels :)