To Hell With Heaven: For Whom The Bell Trolls

To Hell With HeavenGrowing up in the church can be tough. Growing up as the daughter of a “Mega-Church” pastor brings it to a whole new level. Now to protect those whom I still love and care for very deeply, I won’t name the particular congregation that I grew up in. Suffice it to say it was very traumatic, and “to hell with heaven” was a common thought. I say traumatic, but not for the reasons you may imagine.

Despite the pain and baggage that came with my upbringing, I still ended up at Bubbling Waters Ministry where I have been a Pastor for over 15 years. Now I am around the same age as Mega-Church Pastor Rob Bell, so I know a lot when it comes to the demographic and ethos of the people he was speaking to when he wrote his bestselling book Love Wins back in 2011. I read the book as soon as it was released, and I was furious…but not for the reasons most were. My issue was not that he went too far in his questioning but that he didn’t go far enough.

Now I need to say at this point that I have and continue to have a great deal of respect for Rob Bell and the work that he does. The problem I had with Love Wins was that it did a great job at deconstructing the reality of Hell while leaving Heaven perfectly intact. Can we really have one without the other? If we all end up in a good place in the end, then what is all the pain and suffering here in the middle all about? Doesn’t that make God a little sadistic too?

The Journey From “To Hell With Heaven” To Bubbling Waters Ministry

So here is what I propose: Let’s stop speculating on unknown realities that will never be known until we die, and let’s start engaging with people here and now with kindness and compassion…a novel idea I know. I believe this sentiment is one that Rob would agree with himself based on my understanding of His work. However I still find it very problematic when someone reaches a position of power and gets to a place where virtually nobody challenges them. Now I know what you’re thinking and yes I am aware that Rob came under a lot of criticism for his book, but for the most part these people were all written off as detractors and trolls.

I am writing as someone who respects Rob’s work, but at the same time doesn’t want to be a mindless sheep who follows and clings to every word he utters. This celebrity culture within Christianity is beyond problematic and it has turned theology into sport where everybody picks their team, appoints a captain, and it’s game on. This is why I believe we need more women in the ministry to combat all this ego and testosterone that is flying around. Please hear me well, I am not putting my hand up to take the job of any prominent position of authority…but someone needs to!

Sadly many of the female voices I hear are too emotion driven and lack the objectivity to see things clearly. I could go on a rant here against third wave feminism, but I fear I will lose much of my audience needlessly. Perhaps even the hint of speaking against feminism as a woman will lose people, but I have to be true to myself and I certainly don’t want to be handed any sort of privilege simply based on the fact that I am a woman. That is offensive to me! Now I am getting off track here (silly female brain), so in conclusion let us live free from worry about things we don’t know about and also cannot change. Let us appreciate this life, the one we know that we have, and may all third wave feminists realize that their cause is a dying one and give up immediately. Grace and Peace.

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