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More from Greg Gilbert

The folks who produce Rob Bell’s NOOMA  series have made the 19th video available for a sneak preview here, for about the next day-and-a-half (until noon on Wednesday).  You’ll have to be signed into Facebook, and then you’ll find the video in the right-hand column.For those who have read my three part review of the NOOMA series, here’s an addendum to that third part:

019 | Open
This video is about the role of prayer in our lives. Why does God answer some prayers “Yes” and some prayers “No?” Why does God perform a miracle in this situation and not in that situation? In the end, Bell doesn’t answer those questions, rightly saying “I don’t know why.” Using Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane as his model, Bell understands prayer to be neither a passive “whatever” to the will of God, nor an active rebellion against what God is doing. Rather, prayer is a means of being “brutally honest with your Maker,” telling God honestly how you feel, what you’re thinking, and then being open to what God is accomplishing in the world. Moreover, prayer leads us to understand that we ourselves are a part of God’s work. “Don’t pray for God to feed the hungry,” Bell says, “unless you’re willing to go feed them yourself.” The theological basis of the video is that God “left creation unfinished” and is now engaged in the “ongoing creation of the world,” of which we can be a part. Lots of things to wonder about there: Doesn’t God’s declaration of “very good” and his rest on the seventh day belie the idea that his work of creation was “unfinished?” Most troublesome is when Bell says that God “takes a great risk in creating,” because things might have “veered off course” and not turned out like he intended. Does Bell know that’s how the, well, Open Theists talk? . . . .

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