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Crazy All Around

In my early teens, I became very interested in music as a way of understanding and expressing my feelings, something I felt like I couldn’t do through speech or any other means. I tended to latch onto specific songs that resonated with some part of me (though unfortunately since all non-Christian music, and much of Christian music, was suspect of “leading me astray”, many songs I latched on to I wasn’t allowed to listen to). I always sort of felt that if I could share those songs that really touched me with someone, if we listened to them together, maybe they would understand me and we could connect with each other.

Dad and I fought a lot during that time, something that had been the case going back many years but which definitely got worse in my teens. I remember there was this one song, Crazy All Around (by Christine Glass), that I heard on a Christian radio show and really liked, so I got the CD. Once during a car trip to church on some weeknight with just me and Dad, I got the chance to play my CD in the car, and I was hoping we could enjoy the song together and connect through a shared experience of it. He was quiet for most of the song, but it got to a line near the end “Felt the angel bend and kiss me/ran away and hid in fear” and he exclaimed “What the hell is this!?” I was deeply disappointed; once again I felt like I’d tried to share my feelings, my unique experience of life, and I was rejected. I remember feeling, “Really? Is there nothing I find meaning in that’s pure enough for you, that you can appreciate the beauty of without picking apart any small hint of worldliness you find?” After that, I gave up hope of being able to connect with him through music.

At some point, I don’t know when, I developed a dislike for the song and never listened to it again.

Living a Fantasy

A study has been done that suggests that children raised in religious households are less able to distinguish fantasy from reality. This morning I was wondering how this could help me understand some of the particular quirks I’ve noted about myself in contrast to other people. Ever since I could remember, violence in movies has felt unsettling to me. Actually, unsettling isn’t the right word–the feeling is more that my existence feels fundamentally threatened. A similar feeling occurred also in English class when I started going to public high school (newly out of being homeschooled) and I had to read disturbing literature (like The Yellow Wallpaper or The Handmaid’s Tale). I remember after reading some of those things, I felt a black dread inside that I couldn’t shake and had no idea how to handle.

As I’ve gotten older, the reactions have mellowed (to the point where I kind of want to re-read The Handmaid’s Tale), but I still find it hard to watch movies or TV shows with cruel violence (either physical or psychological). Even with books, I generally find myself more comfortable with young-adult fiction than adult fiction, because I find the raw emotion in the adult fiction to be overwhelming (as an example, I thought I Am Legend told rather an interesting story in an interesting world, but it left something of a black feeling in me after I finished, with the result that a lot of time has to go by before I try reading something like that again).

I feel like my reactions to these things could come out of an extremely-delayed development of the ability to distinguish fantasy and reality (although it could partly or fully be due to other things, like being a Highly Sensitive Person or the like). I think perhaps due to my fundamentalist religious upbringing (combined maybe with my staying at my parents’ home until I was almost out of college), I’ve had a hard time distinguishing between “threats” to myself from horrifying situations in literature and media and actual threats to myself from the objective world. It’s not that I couldn’t tell any difference, obviously–that’s why I think I felt a conflict about these feelings. I knew there was no real threat, yet I felt like there was a real threat, and I didn’t know how to understand that conflict.

Potentially this inability to distinguish fantasy and reality could explain some of my other quirks that result in my being mocked in social situations, too. One that comes to mind was an instance when I had been reading about the bacteria that live in your mouth, and why it’s important to spit out your mouthwash after swishing it around (even if the mouthwash was inherently edible, e.g. oil pulling)–the idea is that you can harm yourself by loosening the bacteria from your teeth and then ingesting them.

Around that time, I ended up eating a rather large quantity of Swedish fish, and then I rinsed my mouth out with water to dislodge the pieces that stuck to my teeth. I was lazy, so after swishing the water around in my mouth, I swallowed it. Shortly thereafter, I developed an extremely painful feeling in my abdomen, and I had to leave work early. I told some of my coworkers that I thought it might be due to swallowing the water I used to rinse my mouth (instead of just blaming it on eating too much sugar at once, which in retrospect seems more reasonable). That haven’t stopped making fun of me for that since. I wonder why I stuck on that rather unlikely explanation at the time instead of putting more weight on the more acceptable idea that eating a large amount of sugar can hurt you–perhaps it’s a lingering effect of a delayed ability to separate fantasy and reality.

Trump and Evangelical Infidelity

I remember when W was being elected for the first time. The semi-fundamentalist community I grew up in was desperate for him to win. He was “our guy”, a true follower of G-d (determined using the fundamentalist superpower of being able to know who’s a “real” Christian on the inside), and just as importantly, a Republican, the chosen party of G-d. On the other side was Gore, who, if elected, would bring G-d’s judgement on America, and “probably wasn’t the Antichrist” (as we so reasonably conceded) “but would likely usher him in”.

The second time W ran was similar. I remember a woman at my university saying she’d probably vote for Kerry “to give him a chance and change things up”. She was in our Christian group on campus, and I remember feeling the default fundamentalist horror at someone who had deliberately blinded herself and was now walking in darkness. Kerry was evil, and if he got elected we would never escape G-d’s judgement on our country.

Things started to get weird with the Obama/McCain election (or possibly they were always that way but I finally started to see it). First, when Hillary was making her bid for the Democratic nomination, the fundamentalist email trains were aflutter with Biblical references to Deborah and grave pronouncements that a woman leader was a sign of G-d’s judgement on a country. But after Hillary lost the nomination and McCain chose Palin as his running mate, suddenly people were talking about their visions of bees (Deborah is Hebrew for “bee”) and praising her as a Deborah who would save us (what happened to the judgement?).

I also remember people struggling with McCain’s nomination, since the he had no kinship with fundamentalists. He was the one selected for G-d’s Holy Party, but he himself wasn’t holy (evaluated using the above-mentioned fundamentalist superpower). Someone else on this email train reported struggling over this very issue until she got a vision in which she heard “McCain, McCain, why are you rejecting My anointed?” (note that “anointed” is the English translation of the Hebrew word Mashiach, which is commonly translated “Messiah”).

That was the first time the whole thing struck me as odd. It made sense to me to vote Republican when the party nominated a “good Christian” like W–obviously any group would feel more comfortable with one of their own running the country. But McCain wasn’t one of us. Why would he be G-d’s “Messiah”? It could just as easily have been the Democrat in that case (although Obama, with his Arabic-sounding name, was being explicitly predicted to be the Antichrist by some of my friends).

Obama got elected, life went on, and then came Romney and with him the unbelievable attachment of fundamentalists to the Republican party got even worse. Romney was Mormon, a group that when I was growing up was synonymous with “infidel” (and was viewed in much the same way as Muslims are today by that group). Yet once again, the conservative Christians rallied behind the Republican former-infidel-now-brother as the savior of our country (though admittedly with less enthusiasm than I saw for Bush or McCain).

Now it’s 2016, and Trump is the front runner, and more and more evangelicals are falling in line behind him. This is insane. There’s nothing Christian about Trump. He uses people, he promotes immorality (via the “immodesty” of his beauty pageants), he’s on his third marriage (divorce was considered an unforgivable sin when I was growing up), and he obviously doesn’t even know the Bible! Yet Liberty University welcomed him enthusiastically, Jerry Falwell Jr called him a “servant leader” in the tradition of Christ (the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard from a Christian leader), and after Palin’s endorsement Christians are increasingly supporting him.

Trump is everything we despised growing up: an “obvious” unbeliever, an immoral and liberal businessman, and not a true conservative. The fact that he’s now being accepted as the chosen one shows that evangelicals are no longer even pretending to be choosing who to vote for based on their religious principles. They have merged with the “non-Christian” (their words) conservative culture and established that over their own religion and over the Bible. And consequently, they’ve lost their voice to talk about G-d in our society, and they’re deceiving only themselves with regard to what their political motivations are.

G-d’s Love for His People

R. C. Sproul Jr. has an article on “hesed,” which he translates as “loyal love:”

God loves His people genuinely, immutably, loyally. Both the love and the loyalty are, of course, tightly bound together. That is, just as one cannot love capriciously so one cannot be loyal without love. God is for His people, and will never cease to be for them.

It’s a beautiful idea. But the irony is not lost to me of using an Old Testament Hebrew word to motivate an idea about G-d’s commitment to a group of people who’ve replaced the original group of people that the term referred to. If G-d’s election is irrevocable, then how is it that His election of Israel has been revoked? If His grace ensures the perseverance of the saints, then how is it that the entire original nation that He elected has failed to persevere?

And if His “hesed” for them has failed, then how strong can the idea of “genuine, immutable, loyal” love really be for us?

Christianity and Mysticism

I read an article on Challies Dot Com about the increasing influence of mysticism on Evangelicalism (http://www.challies.com/articles/the-boundaries-of-evangelicalism). The author is concerned about this influence, given that the two ought to be opposed.

I find the attempt to distinguish between Christianity and mysticism interesting, because one thing that becomes readily apparent when one studies Judaism is that Christianity is mysticism. That is, the topics that form the core of Christian belief are, in Judaism, the material of mysticism: heaven and hell, the nature of G-d, the nature of the soul, the Devil, the supernatural understanding of history. The idea of Jesus dying on the cross for sins is a mystical concept. So is the idea of becoming part of his body. And so is the idea of the trinity.

Core Judaism isn’t as worried about making sure your beliefs on hell, or the structure of G-d, or whatever, are correct. In Judaism, you don’t follow the Law so that you don’t go to hell. You follow the Law because you’re a Jew, and the Law is what Jews do. G-d founded the Jewish nation, yes, and you’re obeying Him by following the Law, yes, but at the end of the day, the Law is proscriptive. You’re supposed to do–why isn’t as important. (To be fair, due to the influence of Chassidism, this description isn’t entirely accurate.)

Christianity is mystical to its core. Its main concerns are the nature of G-d in the Trinity, the meaning of Jesus’s death on the cross (understood as the ultimate victory), and eternal reward or punishment in heaven or hell. As a whole, it rejects the idea of following the Law. Some parts (Protestantism) even reject the idea that doing anything has any importance. Everything happens via the vehicle of the mystical Grace of G-d for the purpose of the Glory of G-d, and the only proper goal of life is the understanding that everything that exists is only an emanation of that Grace. The goal is understanding, not action–that’s mysticism.

What’s really interesting is that for some reason (or reasons), much of Christianity has felt the need to see itself as non-mystical. Thus came the “canon law” of the Catholic Church, that tried to essentially become a new law-based religion while still rejecting Judaism. So also comes the article at the beginning, trying to strictly and logically define what is proper, based on rules and guidelines–including rules for the proper way to feel awe at a sunset! It is certainly a curious experiment: making a practical religion out of a mysticism.

Do Unto Others

I’ve had some discussions where I’ve tried to defend Muslims against being painted with a broad stroke as following a religion that inherently produces evil. Sometimes in the course of those discussions, I’ll make some argument against my opponent based on what the structure of his/her beliefs appears to be–based both on other things the person said and assumptions about what the person might believe based on group affiliation. Trying to make those kinds of arguments then results in an angry rebuff in the form of: “I hate it when people assume they know what I believe!”

But wait…isn’t that what you’re doing to Muslims?

Movie Review: Follow the Prophet

We watched the movie Follow the Prophet the other night. I was expecting a scathing criticism of a fundamentalist sect of Mormonism (and perhaps religious fundamentalism in general). What I didn’t expect was to spend over an hour being subjected to the type of high-quality argument you might find in the comments to an article on the Fox News web site.

The story focuses on 15-year-old Avery, the daughter of a bishop of the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints. On her 15th birthday, she’s told that she is to become a “secret wife” of the Prophet. More horrifying, her father attempts to rape her under the pretense of “preparing her for the Prophet.” She escapes and elicits the help of an ex-Delta Force soldier, Jude. The rest of the movie is about how Jude obtains evidence of the Prophet’s child abuse so that he can be arrested and charged.

Unfortunately, Jude pretty much ruins the movie. He is a weak man, driven more by his emotions of outrage and grief (the grief is over his daughter, who was killed in the army) than any sense of justice. He plants video cameras in private homes without any apparent concern over the breaking-and-entering and surveillance laws that he’s breaking. At the end, Avery goes back to marry the Prophet in order to get a video of child abuse that could convict him. As part of the plan, Jude is to monitor the house to protect her. He prepares by assembling his sniper rifle, promising a couple times that he’ll “ventilate” the Prophet if Avery sends the distress signal. She does, and Jude fires, almost accomplishing the murder he very much wants to commit.

The way that Jude does whatever he sees fit without any sense of consequences makes the movie feel surreal–a feeling that is only heightened when agents of the Prophet show up in dark suits, swarm the hotel that Jude was staying at, and shoot Jude with a sniper rifle in broad daylight. It makes it hard to imagine most of the movie actually happening in any part of this country.

The movie then ends by showing some text making the outrageous claim that it has shown the evils of polygamy. Wait, what? Where was the polygamy? All I saw was a movie about child abuse! In theory, the movie was set in a polygamous society, but any depiction of polygamy in the movie was very subtle and played no significant place in the plot development. How does a movie showing the evils of child abuse demonstrate that polygamy is bad? Is child abuse only bad if polygamists do it? (I speak as a fool.) Or do you have to be polygamous to abuse children? Obviously not, since the “zero-gamous” Catholic clergy seem perfectly capable of it.

The text also complains about how there are polygamous societies in several states, living in “violation of the law.” But having failed to make a compelling argument that polygamy is bad (I’m being generous by saying the movie failed to make a compelling argument, since it in fact failed to even present an argument), the fact that it may be illegal is anything but motivating. What, just because something’s illegal makes it bad? Was forced segregation of blacks and whites right while it was the law then?

Child abuse should be stopped. But if polygamy doesn’t necessarily result in child abuse, then that’s no argument against polygamy. If two women and a man love each other and want to get married, why is that anyone’s business?

Lashon Hara

Recently during a discussion with someone, an argument came up that the idea of lashon hara (the evil tongue, loosely defined as gossip) was a rabbinic tradition that was not found anywhere in the Bible. Consequently, the idea put forth by some Rabbis that the sin of lashon hara is the most severe sin there is was seen as repugnant. But on the contrary: of all the rabbinic traditions, this is one that has a very clear and easily discerned foundation in the Bible.

Psalm 34 says (ESV)

What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue (lashon) from evil (ra)
and your lips from speaking deceit.

What is the greatest punishment that could come from sin? Death. How do you gain the opposite, life? It’s explicitly stated: keep yourself from lashon hara.

A further point of note: the early Aramaic version of the New Testament regularly uses the word “live” for the word that’s generally translated into English (from Greek) as “be saved.” In other words, people didn’t ask Yeshua “What must I do to be saved?” They asked, “What must I do to live?” In light of that, the verse above could easily be translated “What man is there who desires to be saved…Keep yourself from lashon hara.” The teaching that lashon hara is the greatest sin, far from being a rabbinic tradition with no support in the Bible, is explicitly taught by the Bible!

Of course, this verse doesn’t explain exactly what lashon hara is. This is very typical of the teachings of the Torah, and is one of the foremost points that demonstrates the need of an Oral Torah. Much is derived through careful exegesis of the verse in Leviticus 19 that says (ESV) “You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.” The word “slanderer” in that verse comes from a root that indicates the idea of traveling around: thus, a “slanderer” is someone who travels around, spreading stories about other people. From that foundation are derived the many details of lashon hara.

The apostle James knew this exegesis well and endorsed it. In his letter, he exhorts his readers (ESV)

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James re-emphasizes the idea that everything depends on how you use your tongue: if anyone doesn’t stumble with regard to his speech, he is a perfect man. That’s the inverse of the rabbinic teaching, that lashon hara is the greatest sin. If you refrain from it, you have no sin at all. That’s how great of a sin it is. The tongue is a world of unrighteousness–that’s how great the sin is, equivalent to the sin of an entire world.

Once again, now that we know how much depends on our speech, what are the details? Surely something so important can’t be so ambiguous. James alludes to it (ESV): “With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” The sin has to do with speaking badly about other people. That’s a starting point, but in the thick of the daily struggle with the myriad of forces that influence us, what are the exact details of this terrible sin?

The author of the book Chafetz Chaim, with divine grace and inspiration, took the time to carefully study, think through, structure, and explain the particulars of lashon hara in his book. It is correct that the exact details that he lays forth are frequently not found explicitly in the Bible. However, with meditation and study, one comes to see that psychological principles, experience with people, and logic confirm what he says, even if you don’t accept the sanctity of the Oral Torah.

Hashem has not left us to chance. He taught us that this is a terrible sin, and He gave some the capacity to elucidate it, and the means to disseminate their understanding to those who would otherwise remain in darkness. Baruch Hu uVaruch Shmo.


This is something I wrote back on June 9th, but for a number of reasons, I haven’t found it easy to post until now.


A good friend of mine is converting to Judaism. I found out a few weeks ago, but my reactions seem to be really slow. This past Shabbos, everyone at my congregation was working through it, since he had revealed his decision publicly the week prior. It was a really rough Shabbos. The Sunday following, I spent half a day with him, talking about stuff.

I don’t really know how I feel. I seem to feel a lot of things, but they rise to the surface and then disappear into a murky sea of emotions again. I feel really sad. I’m losing a friend, the one I prayed Musaf with on Shabbos, with whom I discussed hard questions of how Jewish theology intersects Christian theology, to whom I could relate openly my theological and personal discouragement. He made the congregation an encouragement, a soothing touch to my troubled soul. He brought life and joy to the Chanukah program, and inspired the use of some very touching Hebrew songs.

I feel discouraged about facing people in the congregation now. I’m too tsetimlt to defend myself against their concern: Is he going to do this too? I feel like the only way to cope right now is to sit very still and try to let everything come to rest. I wish I didn’t need to worry about proving myself when I’ve been left all on my own to figure out how to put my world back together.

What do I do now?

למה עזבתני?

Review of Love Wins by Rob Bell

Reading Rob Bell’s latest book Love Wins was something of a bipolar experience for me. When I began reading the book, I found it insightful and inspiring. However, as I got to the end of the book, the ideas seemed to peter out into typical wishy-washy Evangelicalism. In the end, I found the book to have a lot of really interesting and illuminating ideas, but the book as a whole seemed to be weak. What this means is, if you have some kind of well-defined worldview in place that allows you to adopt the ideas effectively, you could get some inspiring ideas out of this book, but if you’re looking for someone to help you construct a well-defined worldview, you’ll probably be disappointed.

In general, the points I found to be the most inspiring in the book were the ones that more or less cohered with a more Jewish theology and worldview (to the extent that I can judge something to be Jewish or not). I’ll give some examples. In Chapter 2, Rob Bell considers the story about the rich man who comes to Jesus and asks him what he can do to be saved. Jesus responds with a list of commands. The rich man says he’s kept all these since childhood, to which Jesus tells him that he’s lacking only one thing: sell everything he has and follow Jesus. Rob Bell makes the point that this is the perfect place for Jesus to clearly explain the process of salvation (accepting Jesus into his heart, etc.), and yet he doesn’t. It seems that we’re missing something. If someone asks an Evangelical how to be saved, he responds with a formula that sounds nothing like what Jesus said to the rich man.

The more general argument of Chapter 2 is that “heaven,” contrary to how we usually think of it, isn’t a spiritual place disconnected from this physical reality. Rather, it’s really “the kingdom of heaven,” or, “the kingdom of G-d” — the age of the world when G-d finally (and explicitly) rules over His creation. The discussions about “heaven” in the New Testament are really instructions for how to live now in order to become a person who best aligned with the nature of the age when G-d rules over the world. As the principle goes in Judaism, we’re forming (by our actions) in this world the kind of person we’ll be in the next world (see, e.g., the references to good deeds as garments in Revelation).

Then in Chapter 3, Rob Bell makes a very interesting point that when Jesus spoke of hell, it was not in conversations with heathens trying to get them to follow him, it was with the people who were believers in G-d and followers of His directions. Once again, we see the disconnect with how the subject is approached today, where the primary use of hell is to threaten those who won’t believe in an attempt to convince them when we have no logical arguments left. Now granted, for the (large) segments of Christianity that believe it was always Jesus’s intent to create a new religion, this argument is somewhat weak, since they could say that the reason Jesus threatened the “believers” with hell was because in his new religion, they were no longer believers. I consider the idea that Jesus came to start a new religion false, but that’s an argument for a different article.

Actually, the whole of Chapter 3, where Rob Bell examines the ideas of hell in Scripture and develops them, is very informative. What emerges is an idea of hell as a punishment in the next world for the wicked behavior of people here. This can include, maybe surprisingly, even G-d’s people. The cause of the innocent victims will be upheld and justice will be done. The general discussion of hell by the prophets and Jesus is not necessarily a thread of eternal punishment for failing to choose the correct religion. Consequently, we start to see hell as being more logically a limited punishment, rather than an eternal one. This idea is well attested in Judaisim and more Orthodox Christianities.

There was one place where Rob Bell seemed to make a point with a particularly Jewish understanding, even though it wasn’t clear to me that he got it from Jewish tradition (some of his other points appear to be more obviously informed by it). In Chapter 5, he picks up on the fact that in John, the first couple of signs that Jesus performs are numbered (saying things like “this is the first sign that Jesus performed etc.”). He notes that if one counts all the signs in John, one gets to seven before Jesus dies and rises from the dead: eight signs. He see this as being significant based on the seven days of creation in Genesis followed by a second description of creation: the “eighth day” is a new creation. This idea is furthered confirmed by the Jewish tradition that seven indicates a fullness of the physical realm, whereas eight indicates a transcension of the physical realm into the spiritual, eternal realm (see Artscroll’s book on bris milah).

Finally, in Chapter 7, Rob Bell makes a point that I think goes very much to the heart of the problem with a lot of Evangelical theology. Let me quote the punch line: “…we do not need to be rescued from God. God is the one who rescues us from death, sin, and destruction. God is the rescuer.” The reason I like this statement is that it blows away the haze and confusion that exists in many Christians’ minds about the powers in the world: G-d, Jesus, Satan. While saying they believe in one, all-powerful G-d, too many Christians believe in a dualistic polytheism. Dualistic because they believe that G-d and Satan are struggling for control of the world, polytheistic because they believe that Jesus is G-d but acts independently from Him. Jesus doesn’t save us from our sins. G-d does.

Like I said, I thought that most of the book had really thoughtful, interesting points in it. However, at the end it started to peter out into more feel-good, “I’m ok, you’re ok” kind of thinking. By this I don’t mean that he became universalistic. At the point he started talking in more wishy-washy terms, he started to sound much more like any other generic Evangelical. I’ll give a couple of examples.

The first example is in Chapter 6, “There Are Rocks Everywhere.” Now don’t get me wrong, this chapter is actually very profound for one who is willing to hear. However, I think that in trying to communicate something profound too plainly, it ended up becoming rather washed out. Rob Bell says, “…Jesus is bigger than any one religion…[he] is supracultural. He is present within all cultures, and yet outside of all cultures.” These statements are alluding to profound truths, but spoken like this, without qualification or nuance, destroys the profundity of Scripture and the traditions we’ve received. It implies that they are good ways of understanding G-d, but don’t necessarily have any advantage over any other way. I’m not saying that this is what Rob Bell is trying to say, just that it’s how it comes across.

Another example is in Chapter 7. Again, the concepts in this chapter are indeed touching on profound truths, but the way they’re stated overly plainly makes them washed out. Rob Bell says that “Forgiveness is unilateral…God has already done it…The only thing left to do is trust.” The problem I have with statements like these is that they take away the power of our actions to really change the world, reality. The way they’re stated, they take oppose the idea brought up earlier in his book that we’re shaping in this world who we’re going to be in the next world. Reality is not all in the mind. It’s not that in one mental state (trusting) I’m in heaven and in another (not trusting) I’m in hell. Again, I don’t think that Rob Bell necessarily thinks this, just that it’s how the argument comes across. The ideas are flattened out too much.

All in all, I think it’s a very useful book to read. The material that Rob Bell covers is very interesting and very useful to think about, but it ought to be understood that his book alone isn’t enough. The ideas he brings up touch on profound and deep subjects which need to be examined slowly, carefully, and thoughtfully to reach the truth of the matter.

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