Rob Bell Still Painting Notes and Thoughts 3

He tried many different ways to “write” a book. He hired a writer who he told the ideas too and the end product was horrible.  He then took sermon tapes and had someone type them up, and it made no sense.  Then he hired a court stenographer, and that didn’t turn out well either.  He’ll never forget sitting down with his laptop and realizing the only way forward was for him to write the book.  It was staring at a blank bar with the word cursor taunting him saying, “go ahead, type a page, and there will be another page you have to type.”

It was like, “who am I to do this?”  It’s a shame question.  It’s the question that says you have nothing to say; you don’t have a part to play in the world.  It has no place in the full, flourishing life God intends for us.  Somedays it was a sentence, some days a few pages.  Day after day, and the only thing you have is that this thing is in you, and if you aren’t true to it, and you don’t make it, or don’t risk something for it, something within you is going to die.

There are millions of reasons not to, and excuses, but there are moments in life where you have to throw yourself into it.  Eventually it was something, and he called it “Velvet Elvis.”  He was really compelled with this idea of faith as discovery.  The kind of faith that heals you, etc. needs to have room for mystery.  The book sort of took off and had a life of it’s own.

The past year he’s been sitting at his desk.  He’s writing a book called “What We Talk About When We Talk About God.”  It was originally going to be called “The Purpose Driven Shack,” but he just thought it was a dumb joke, but kind of awesome, actually.

It doesn’t matter how many words he’s written in the past year, every morning it’s like, “try to make the next paragraph.”  And the secret is that is where the life is.  The secret is not in how people respond; it’s in doing what you were born to do.  The joy and the real life is that you are doing what you’re here to do and that’s holy ground.  That quenches the thirst.  Over the past year, new ideas began to emerge.

When Rob was 28, he and his wife tried to create a space where people who weren’t engaged could go to church and hear the beautiful compelling message of Jesus.

This year, the sense of the next thing to engage more people who weren’t listening started becoming something very real and the next step was to move to Los Angeles and try the next thing.

Sense of starting over and risk and sense of “wow we could fail miserably.”  But it also means that you are alive.  There’s a great passage that says, “You work out your faith with fear and trembling.”  When you’re stumbling along and taking risks with that rubber knee’d shaky, this could go south in a bunch of ways…you realize yeah it could go awful, but it’s awesome.

His friend Carlton Cuse (producer of Lost) started dreaming and scheming about spiritual issues and they started working on something.  In the next months you’ll start hearing about it and there will be ways to participate.  They’re going to tackle some things that haven’t been tackled before and it will be exciting.  There’s a whole new discussion that can take place and a new way to do it.  For Rob it’s the long continuation of the work he’s been doing all along.  There’s a God, and a God named Jesus who he’s seen do extraordinary things and seeing other people tap into this has been an extraordinary joy.

Rob recently saw two performers on Santa Monica promenade.  A hip hop violinist, and a “gorilla guy” that only had “two moves.”  He gave money to gorilla guy because he found the story of gorilla guy compelling.  He only has two moves but he’s giving it all he’s got.

Sometimes feels like gorilla guy, there’s always somebody who’s more and always somebody who’s better.  And if you spend your life dwelling on that you’re in trouble.  It’s like you find your move, and you put your mask on and just do your thing.  In some strange way gorilla guy moves him.

There’s lots of reasons to be a spectator, we have people who commentate on sports for a living.  We now have people who write articles and books on people who commentate on the sports.  Watching and spectating is not only a profession, it’s a way of life.  I believe there is a higher intention for humanity to create arrange, give, serve, connect, pour ourselves out, so that others could find life, and could be nurtured, and could find new life.

I love gorilla guy because he has two moves, and I found this thing that I love to do and I’ve decided to throw myself into it, and just give it everything I have.

My prayer is that those voices that say, “you can’t do it, there’s so much that could go wrong,” would be quieted, so you could do what you were born to do.

Great Zarusa said, when I die God won’t say, “why won’t you more like Moses?  He’ll say, why weren’t you more like Zarusa?”

At the end of your life God will say, “Why weren’t you more like you?”

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