Showing posts from March, 2011

More on Bell & Universalism

I'm still in the beginning of reading Rob Bell's new book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.  Meanwhile, the controversy over Rob Bell's book and whether or not he's a Universalist continues.  Now, Rob Bell has come out and said he's not a Universalist.  There are those who will say he is anyway, of course.  But it's not so clear.  The universalism he denies is one where, "a giant cosmic arm that swoops everybody in at some point whether you want to be there or not."  It's easier to not be something that you paint as ridiculous, of course.  I've been accused of doing that with theism, so I know.  I also know this because I teach the straw man logical fallacy in English composition classes to first-year college students. 

Rob Bell set himself up a bit as a straw man by saying that he's not a theologian and also "I'm not very smart but I do know that there is good news."  But th…

Bell & Ballou -- On Universalism

Today Rob Bell's new book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, is released.  Rob Bell is the minister of a mega-church in the Grand Rapids area, the Mars Hill Bible Church.  They meet in what was formerly a department store that anchored a mall, which should give you a sense of their size.  So this new book release has been much talked-about, and not only because Rob Bell has been accused of revealing in this book that he is a -- gasp -- Universalist!

As Unitarian Universalists and as religious liberals, we should welcome Rob Bell's book.  It's been a while since the theology of Universalism has been such in the public eye.  And I want to personally say, as a Michigan colleague, that if Rob Bell would like to sit down and talk with Unitarian Universalist ministers and exchange ideas, we'd be happy to do that with him. 

Universalism isn't a new idea, but it's still heretical in conservative Christianity, of course.…

Unions: Are We Agreed?

Joel Monka recently published a blog article on the union debate titled, "Umm, Hey, can we discuss this..." in which he cites several blog articles (mine among them) and an e-mail from the UUA Congregational Witness and Advocacy director asking people to join our UUA president in signing on to a group letter in support of the unions.  Joel concludes his post by stating in an update:
"But my primary point, the raison d'etre for this post, is that there is plenty of room for disagreement and need for debate on this issue- I don't want it declared a basic tenent of our religion until such debate has taken place. I don't want Boston taking a position on my behalf without such a debate. I don't want clergy out there declaring that support for the unions in Wisconsin is an extension of our faith, an inseperable part of our principles, until we have had that debate."I think this is a good point, and worth examining.  My initial response was to agree.…