Ktizo is Greek meaning ‘to form, shape, completely change or transform’ “with the creativity of God being the epitome of these actions that inspire us to do the same.” So says Ktizo Magazine, which did a recent interview with Rob Bell. You can download the issue and read the full interview here.
Ktizo: You love to incorporate art of all varieties with your ministries. How have you come to understand the creative approach as something that works so well?
Rob Bell: What’s interesting is in the rabbinical tradition, a sacred text is like a jewel. It’s like a precious stone and when you turn it the light refracts in different ways. The way that you think about the divine is that the divine is spoken and the rest is commentary. So we’re exploring. It was never like there is a finite endpoint, if you just get there then you’re right. It’s always about the hunt, the struggle, the doubt, the sweat, the stretching.
I would say a lot of what passes for Western religious systems nowadays are actually belief affirmation systems- I come, I tithe, I give some money, I vote the right way, I show up at the right time to keep the attendance up, and then you tell me what I already believe. So if we get some wing nut in here who tells us something slightly different we have to expunge them from the system because the system works in a particular way. but the actual way that we change is we experience a disruption. We hear something that grabs us and we can’t go on in the same way.
So it’s actually a disruption, and that’s the power of art.
Ktizo: We heard that surfing is a big part of your life now and probably therapeutic in a sense, too. How is getting up on the waves influencing you?
Rob Bell: Where else are you carried across the Earth’s surface by an orbital pattern of energy moving at a speed you can actually manage to keep up with long enough for it to catch you and then you’re floating along on pure grace? It’s…it’s…there just aren’t words. If I talk any more I’ve ruined it. As the Hebrews would say there’s a Selah* right here.
* rough translations of Selah are mine: “to pause and think” or “to stop and listen”
Jake Dockter talks with Rob Bell about art and faith (here). Here’s a quote from Rob:
People have to ask themselves questions about what they even want or desire. Because it all begins with a deep dissatisfaction of how things are. And we do not change without pain. So a person would have to be in enough pain and despair to say “I do not want to be a part of this anymore. God, please show me another way of understanding things.” As far as people who are in systems that don’t work, like a religious system or a church, then you have to leave it. Because it’s destructive and it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to give you life.
I’m very tired. To say that in French you say, Je suis tres fatigue. I said that in French class because I was tired.
I’ve started reading No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. It’s amazing. Read it if you get the chance. In other fiction I’m supposed to be reading March by Geraldine Brooks so I can write a paper on it. Also reading Face of the Deep by Catherine Keller, which has a beautiful book cover. Also, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson, which I’ll be blogging about here soon. Another book I want to blog about is Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, who are two 19 year old brother. Their book is about rebelling against the low expectations set for teenagers by society. Good stuff.
For music links I came upon The Bored-Again Christian (via JWinters), which is a site dedicated to indie Christian music, which is awesome, because as much as I like Air1, contemporary christian music stinks in the same way pop music stinks. It’s entertainment and populist driven. So you often get shallow music. When Sufjan Stevens is on Air1 then I’ll take back everything I’ve said.
Rob Bell is a big hero of mine. His The God’s Aren’t Angry With Us tour is out on DVD I think on Friday and I’m looking forward to that. You can view some sample clips here and buy the DVD here. Rob Bell references the book by Lawrence Kushner God Was In This Place and I, I Did Not Know It in both this new tour and in his Everything is Spiritual tour and is a book I’d recommend (with a disclosure). Bell’s new book out in November Jesus Wants to Save Christians is based on his sermon series he did last year and will offer some deep insight.
What are you reading…