For the past two years, when I have gone to visit family in Grand Rapids, MI, I have gone to Rob Bell’s Mars Hill Church. I am an unabashed church tourist, and I enjoy going to well-known churches just to see what they are like. I’ve been to Saddleback, the Crystal Cathedral, McLean Bible Church, John MacArthur’s church (I forget the name), and even the other Mars Hill Church (the one pastored by Mark Driscoll) in Seattle.
On neither of the occasions I visited Mars Hill did Rob Bell speak. I don’t know whether he just likes to take time off over Christmas or what, but both times I’ve gone I’ve heard Ed Dobson speak instead. Ed Dobson is the former pastor of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, and he stepped down several years ago because he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Even though the church tourist in me would have liked to hear Rob Bell, I am grateful to have heard Dr. Dobson (no relation to the other Dr. Dobson) speak, and to have had the opportunity to learn more about who he is.
This past year, after reading A.J. Jacobs’ The Year of Living Biblically (which I also read, and reviewed here), he decided that he was going to spend a year living as much like Jesus as he possibly could. He grew a beard, read the Gospels every week, prayed for his enemies, voted the way he thought Jesus would want him to vote, and even went down to the bar a few times (after all, Jesus was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard).
Here is a link to the story (plus a video interview) on ABC News:ABC News: Spending a Year Living Like Jesus
I pray that all Christians have the courage to do this kind of thing more deliberately.