I haven’t read Rob Bell’s newest book What We Talk About When We Talk About God but I just watched his interview with Oprah and he apparently gives three primary statements about God: God is with us, God is for us, and God is ahead of us. I love that! Simple and true.
Granted, the first is standard Christian confession (Immanuel, God with us) and the second is a much needed re-emphasis on God’s good hopes for us after we clouded that with excessive (and theologically incorrect, in my opinion) emphasis on original sin, sin, shame, a narrow definition of judgment, sin, sin, shame, guilt…you get the picture. But the THIRD one? The third one is as Moltmann-esque as they come. God is ahead of us, bringing us into a brighter future in which all the lasting/everlasting things like love and beauty and hope and justice and peace will remain and all else will fall away.
I should also mention that Bell quotes Moltmann at the beginning of the interview. I was hoping he’d mention one of Moltmann’s great metaphors when Oprah asked him about the God ahead of us thing- something about how Jesus is like the rose petals tossed ahead of us as we travel the path, or like a trumpet whose blast sounds far ahead into the distance. Alas, he didn’t…but I’m still delighted that Bell is spreading what I think is one of the most wondrous (literally) things about God- that God is pulling us toward something bigger and better, making room for us to follow there.
God is with us.
God is for us.
God is ahead of us.
That’s what I call good news.