Time: around 3 p.m.
Place: Grandville, Michigan
"Rob? It's John Piper. Do you have a few minutes?"
"I, uh... sure, John. How are you? How was the sabbatical?"
"Great, thanks for asking. Hey, I don't want to take too much of your time, but there's something I'm concerned about, and I wonder if we could talk about it."
"It has to do with your latest book. Now, I haven't read it yet, but there's some buzz about it... admittedly, mostly by bloggers who also haven't read it... but what I'm hearing has me concerned. I don't want to react in haste, though. I'd like to read the book, and then set up a time where you and I can talk about it in person, prayerfully, as two brothers in Christ."
"I'd like that, John. Let's make it happen."
Sigh. If only...
Maybe if the everyday rank-and-file churchgoer saw this kind of conversation modeled by the big names, we might be inspired to have similar conversations with one another: humble, genial, gracious... civil.
Who knows... we might even be able to engage in grace-filled conversations with non-Christians, without panicking... and without feeling the need to win.
Aside from my wishful imaginings, I'd like to point you to a great post on this episode, and the bigger issues it exposes, by Rachel Held Evans. Her concluding thought:
At the end of the day, this isn't really about Rob Bell or John Piper or a single book or a single blog post. It's about a conversation that's been rumbling beneath the surface for a while now and has finally found the light.Amen.
May it be lively. May it be civil. And may it honor the One who prayed that our unity would reflect the sweet harmony of the Trinity... because the world indeed is watching.