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nooma and Rob Bell

This is the first of a few of posts about Rob Bell I'd say. I'd like to comment on Velvet Elvis, but as it is all the way across the room and my notes on nooma are right next to me, this is going to be dedicated to nooma. As the booklet of nooma says, nooma is a new format for communication. The current generation (mine) wants information to be clear, concise, informed, easy to understand, yet something that we can struggle with. More on that struggle to come when I dive into Velvet Elvis.

As Nooma says... "We want spiritual direction, but it has to be real for us and available when we need it." I watched my first nooma video about a month ago, and I was blown away. This is just the kind of thing I'd been hoping to stumble across I guess you would say. You can watch the first one on the website. I've seen the luggage one and the kickball one (I watched the latter today while doing laundry at a friend's house).

So topically, luggage deals with forgiveness and kickball has to do with getting what we want from God. Each video is about 10-15 minutes long, and I am drawn in by the sheer simplicity of it all. The dvds come with a booklet that highlights the important parts and gives a few extra questions. While watching luggage, I felt like I was being directly spoken to. I always hate experiences like that. It often seems that God just loves to draw attention to my faults when I'm struggling to keep my head above water.

I've never been good with forgiveness. I hold grudges like no other, and the bad part is that I do so without letting the other person even have a chance to know that I'm upset. I guess it goes back to my desire to please others and to put others happiness above my own. I've been going through the guilt and loss of a friendship that ended horribly lately, trying to figure out the root of what makes me feel so terrible about it, and this video turned on the light. Forgiveness is key, I need to be forgiven, and I need to be able to forgive.

Bell goes in depth into forgiveness. There are some things that we should just get over, but there are others that run deep and that stay with us so long that they become a part of who we are. Suddenly revenge emerges as our only hope. But isn't that selfish though? "If we take revenge when we get hurt, do you think it is like saying to God, 'I think I can handle this better than you?'"

Or what if God said, "I can't forgive you, it hurts too much." Woah. Knock down drag out and I'm the one lying on the ground now.

At this point in the video, Bell says that if you're in an abusive relationship that you have to get out. And that forgiveness isn't going back to the person who beats you emotionally or physically, it is about you letting go.

"Sometimes forgiving is remembering and some people are going to keep returning to their vomit, and we don't have to be there when they do." We just have to walk away from people who continue to make us unhealthy and bring us pain. Sometimes we just have to let people return to their vomit, but we really don't need to be there. No one has to take that kind of abuse.

In the end, Bell states that forgiveness is an action, something that we do. It can't be handed to us on a silver platter, God doesn't do it for us, we have to take that step. But its ok to forgive and still have to let go of the relationship or friendship. The friendship I've lost meant the world to me. But it was also pretty damaging. I've been pretty closed up about it, but it is important for me to recognize the need for redemption. For now, it means keeping myself a little more guarded, but trying to realize that needd for forgiveness in the situation.

I'll end with one of Bell's final thoughts, and hit up kickball then Velvet Elvis in the next few days. I'll encourage you to pick up a Nooma video or find someone with one. They're really phenomenal and eye opening. I'll start my collection of them when I'm not living on a shoestring budget.

"Maybe forgiveness is ultimately about me and about you, it's about us. Because when I forgive somebody and I set them free, its really like I'm setting myself free."

Set yourself free as there is no guarantee that you'll have tomorrow to do so.
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