Velvet Elvis and The King

I recently finished Rob Bell’s book Velvet Elvis and all I can say is wow! This book challenged me in my faith and taught me so much about how I need to approach my reading of the Bible and also my faith. I highly recommend this book! This book has raised many eyebrow’s in the Church and has lots of critics. But let me tell you that this book is sound doctrinally and more importantly it is sound biblically.

The subtitle of this book is: Repainting the Christian Faith, but let me tell you that I do not think that Rob is repainting the Christian faith at all, I believe he his uncovering a beautiful masterpiece of what the Church was always meant to be. It is as if he has stumbled into an old, abandoned church and saw a stained glass window that had obvious signs of neglect. It is covered in dirt, grime and filth, but Rob has pulled out a bottle of cleaner and some rags and begun to clean it, revealing the beauty underneath. The Church in America is like that dirty, old stained glass window. There is a lot of beauty there, but due to years of neglect it has gotten dirty.

And it is refreshing to read a book where a person is not only talking about how we can do it, but is also doing it right where he is at. The Church has fallen into certain ruts and we have fallen asleep and Rob;s book is not just a wake up call, but an insight into how we can begin to recapture the hearts of the lost and bring some respect back to the Church. The Church was meant to bring heaven to earth, but instead we have brought hell to earth in many ways, instead. And this book calls us to begin doing that, so go out and get a copy of this book and allow it to reinvigorate you and your faith.

The King

Today is the celebration of the birth of a great man, and it actually falls on his birthday this year. You can probably guess who I am talking about by looking at the picture to the left.

I recently read an article in the Macomb Daily by Larry Elder entitled, “Flipping The Bird – While Black” that I think embodies much of what Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed about. He was relaying a story that he had recently read to his brother as they were walking into a store….

While I told this story to my brother, our pace slowed as we approached the bookstore. Soon, my brother and I stood still in an empty parking space as I finished my tale. “Was I a victim,” I asked Kirk, “of being a black-man-driving-behind-a-convertible-full-of-black-people-who -flipped-me-off?” As I said this, I thrust my hand in the air, middle finger prominently stuck out, to re-enact and punctuate the story.

Just as I did this, a car that apparently had been waiting patiently for my brother and me to move from the empty space revved its engine and took off.

“Hey, Larry,” Kirk said, “the guy in the car thought you were flipping him off, saying ‘F-you, go park somewhere else.'” Having gotten so involved in my story, I didn’t realize that we had come to a standstill, nor did I see the driver patiently waiting for us to get out of his way so he could park in the space where we stood.

The driver ended up parking many spaces farther away from the store, apparently frustrated that he got “flipped off” by a guy who stood in a closer parking spot. I suggested we go to the driver and explain that the hostile gesture was not meant toward him.

“Forget it, Larry,” my brother said. “Let’s just go to the store.”

“No,” I said, “I don’t want the guy to think I’m an a–hole.”

So Kirk and I turned and walked briskly toward the man – a white guy in his mid-30s – as he got out of his car and walked toward the store. As we approached him, he looked terrified, probably thinking that the guy who flipped him off, and his companion, wanted some sort of confrontation.

“Excuse me, sir,” I said.

The guy warily said, “Uh, huh – ” as he quickly walked by us.

“I was just telling my brother,” as Kirk and I followed him, “about how some guys flipped me off after I honked at them. And just as I was telling the story, I shot my hand in the air to show how I got flipped off. I hope you don’t think that I was flipping you off.”

The guy slowed down, and turned and smiled. “Well, I did think you were saying something to me.”

“Sorry, I really wasn’t. C’mon, we’re all Americans here!”

We laughed, the three of us, and chatted as we walked into the store. We talked about how we all hated Christmas shopping, especially at the last minute. And we all complained about this damn crowded parking lot.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said….

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And that story showed just that. So my question to you today is, “Are You Color Blind?”

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *