Monday, October 23, 2017

Grace and Peace My Friends

Writer, speaker and broadcaster Rob Bell has been a useful resource to me over the years. He was the creative muse behind the NOOMA series of short discussion starter films. Click here for an example.

His books have intriguing titles such as Velvet Elvis, Or Jesus Wants to Save Christians. They are always nicely laid out with lots of white space. Easy to read for those who don't read a lot. Plenty of points at which you need to stop and say hmmm though.

He is American and Bible-based. But he is neither Bible Belt nor Brian McLaren. He prods all evangelicals with a stick but does it gently. He was once asked to leave a church because of his attitude to women. But not how it sounds. Turns out he was far too enabling and promoting of them for the likes of his eldership.

Now I have found The RobCast. If I might start with a criticism it is that he starts with 20 minutes material and crams it into an hour, but it is a light hour and feels like someone chatting to you in his shed. In fact for the most part he is in what he calls the back house - which I'd like to imagine is a shed.

The episodes are a bit like an interesting uncle chatting about life and faith in the corner. You can phase in and out of concentrating.

But he also has guests with whom he has conversations. Pete Rollins is a delightful guest. Pete's delightful Belfast accent totally baffles Rob when he talks about seeing a cow from a car. Both nouns sound the same. Identical even. Pete is also an ace Christian thinker. Sometimes I think he has read and memorised everything. But as Rob gets him to open up, and to explain the tricky bits of theology and philosophy, we all learn.

My favourite guest so far has been the episode where Rob's wife (Christen, I think) turns the tables and interviews him. And in overhearing this conversation we are party to the amazing happenstance of the marriage of a creative communicator and an editor. She is clearly the one who makes his books more concise than his podcasts.

I commend this podcast very highly,. If you have not found it already, seek it out.

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