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This is a series of short films by Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill church.

Anyone seen any?

www.nooma.com

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This is a series of short films by Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill church.

Anyone seen any?

www.nooma.com

I've seen a couple. They're visually gorgeous and well made, but the one's I've seen were Rob speaking to the camera while doing something. I think one that I saw cut back and forth between him telling a story and the story being played out. I wouldn't really consider them a narrative film but they were really well produced.

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My community's pastor subscribes to this series and I have been highly impressed with not only the visual images, but also the doctrine and the way that it is stated.

I wouldn't call these short films, but as visual sermons they are top notch.

So far I've seen Flame (Love and its many levels), Luggage (true forgiveness), and Bullhorn (ineffective "evangelism"). All well done and three constitutes a track record, right?.

Didn't know that they're associated with Mars Hill. That's a definite plus.

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This is a series of short films by Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill church.

Anyone seen any?

www.nooma.com

I've seen a couple. They're visually gorgeous and well made, but the one's I've seen were Rob speaking to the camera while doing something. I think one that I saw cut back and forth between him telling a story and the story being played out. I wouldn't really consider them a narrative film but they were really well produced.

I've seen all ten and recommend them. The most difficult to watch (for the small groups/participants in my church) would be the one on love -- Flame. We have so many lonely people who are longing for the three kinds of flames that it will bum people out realizing what they don't have.

But at the same time, they see what they can strive for as opposed to one night stands, shallow friendships, etc. Jan

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I watched Rain and Lump in the same sitting over the weekend and bawled my eyes out. They're not films really -- like SZPT said, they're more like visual sermons, and what great sermons they are. These would be perfect for a home group to watch together and discuss. Bell's words resonate with the soul on a level most speakers will never be capable of touching. Part of it could just be that he's unafraid to ask the hardest of questions and never answer them, always trusting God in his story-making journey.

I also read the first 170 pages of Velvet Elvis over the weekend. I am amazed at narrative theology in general. It feels (ever since I started this journey with the McLaren books) that God is doing something special in me, and I'm not sure what it is, but I know it's like nothing I've known in any church life before.

-s.

Edited by stef

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I have nearly all of them sat on my desk at work, we've used three of them to supplement sermons in our gatherings, and a few of our small groups have used them as suggested above. I'm still not sure what to make of Bell. On the one hand I want to cheer him on for saying lots of the things I've been saying for ages. On the other I think "but I've been saying that for ages, and I find his delivery a little smug at times (and the super fancy packaging seems to clash with what he says in one of the opening chapters of Velvet Elvis that "The thought of the word church and the word marketing in the same sentence makes me sick". (p.90))

But yeah, the visuals are soooooo good, but sooooo good for what exactly?

Matt

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I have nearly all of them sat on my desk at work, we've used three of them to supplement sermons in our gatherings, and a few of our small groups have used them as suggested above. I'm still not sure what to make of Bell. On the one hand I want to cheer him on for saying lots of the things I've been saying for ages. On the other I think "but I've been saying that for ages, and I find his delivery a little smug at times (and the super fancy packaging seems to clash with what he says in one of the opening chapters of Velvet Elvis that "The thought of the word church and the word marketing in the same sentence makes me sick". (p.90))

But yeah, the visuals are soooooo good, but sooooo good for what exactly?

Matt

Full disclosure: I drove three hours to go to his church this weekend and true to his word, there is no big church sign on the front of the building. That portion in the book where he says, "If people want to find us, they're going to have to look" is really true. There's a YMCA in the same strip mall and to be honest I wandered in there first thinking it was the church itself. Finally in the smallest corner of the mall I found an entrance into the place, but once I was in I knew it. It's obvious when you finally find your way in.

Still though, Nooma aside, it is hilarious how anti-marketing the church seems to be. I think it all goes back to the people fighting each other to try to get out of their old parking lot and Bell saying something like, "If you can't even be a Christian in the parking lot, please don't call yourself a Christian at all because you're making the rest of us look bad... Oh, and by the way, if you don't like what I just said and want to leave Mars Hill, well that's OK, because we really need your seat."

Which is so anti-growth that it just plain works.

Maybe it's marketing in reverse? I don't know. But I love it. And more than that, I love the theology that's coming from the pulpit in this place.

I love it enough to move there, and we'll see

.

-s.

Edited by stef

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Full disclosure: I drove three hours to go to his church this weekend and true to his word, there is no big church sign on the front of the building. That portion in the book where he says, "If people want to find us, they're going to have to look" is really true.

Do they still do it "in the round?" It's been 5 years or so since I've been - my wife and I went a couple of times when we were in Grand Rapids for about 6 weeks on the advice of some friends, as this was before any of the Nooma/Velvet Elvis hoopla, and really enjoyed it.

Not having read the book though, I'm curious what the reason for not having a sign is, or for the "if people want to find us, they're going to have to look" philosophy. It seems very reactionary, and not exactly something founded on any desire to *be* something as much as a desire to *not be* something. It feels to me to be a part of an image they want to have for themselves - a "we don't have a sign which shows that we're not caught up in marketing," but if there's any subtext of "churches with a sign therefore are caught up in marketing" it strikes me as a little holier than thou.

So why not have a sign? I don't even understand the logic, much less the spiritual principle at play.

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I'm intrigued that Matt has used them to supplement sermons. I looked at one with a view to doing this. I thought it was great but I couldn't think how I could use it in a sermon context. It seemed that I would need to show the whole thing and I'm not sure that would work in a normal Sunday service.

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Not having read the book though, I'm curious what the reason for not having a sign is, or for the "if people want to find us, they're going to have to look" philosophy. It seems very reactionary, and not exactly something founded on any desire to *be* something as much as a desire to *not be* something. It feels to me to be a part of an image they want to have for themselves - a "we don't have a sign which shows that we're not caught up in marketing," but if there's any subtext of "churches with a sign therefore are caught up in marketing" it strikes me as a little holier than thou.

So why not have a sign? I don't even understand the logic, much less the spiritual principle at play.

I don't know enough of Bell's church philosophy to be able to give a great answer, other than that I don't think it is "holier than thou," but I do think it is supposed to be "separate from thou," and it might be a bit reactionary but that's OK. Take a look at our old church signs thread, and you'll get an idea for maybe one reason he doesn't want to tap into the whole clich

Edited by stef

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I can see these films as another means of having a good quiet time with God.

Interesting. It hadn't entered my head to engage with these on an individual basis.

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First up, Stef, I feel like I haven't talked to you for ages! How are you doing? It's great that you're getting stuff out of Bell. I am too, I'm just letting my pride spoil it a bit! I should stress that these are really, really minor gripes on my part, I really like so much of what he does

Still though, Nooma aside, it is hilarious how anti-marketing the church seems to be. I think it all goes back to the people fighting each other to try to get out of their old parking lot and Bell saying something like, "If you can't even be a Christian in the parking lot, please don't call yourself a Christian at all because you're making the rest of us look bad... Oh, and by the way, if you don't like what I just said and want to leave Mars Hill, well that's OK, because we really need your seat."

That's brilliant - and very funny. And if you can pull it of it makes you so much stronger in the long run. Too many churches put the short term losses of this kind of thing ahead of the long term health of the church.

: Which is so anti-growth that it just plain works.

FWIW I'd be shocked if I thought Bell was "anti-growth". I mean surely all churches should at least aspire to grow, even if their heart for the hurting, or adherence to tradition or whatever, means that this is not the primary goal or even particularly likely. But Bell particularly strikes me as someone who would have that on his agenda, even if it's not at the top of it.

I suspect you mean "anti-growth" in a slightly different sense (either in the sheep stealing sense, or the "we'll pander to your every need just stay here" sense.

:

I love it enough to move there, and we'll see

.

First Leary, then you. Will there be aynyone left in Chicago?

Not having read the book though, I'm curious what the reason for not having a sign is, or for the "if people want to find us, they're going to have to look" philosophy. It seems very reactionary, and not exactly something founded on any desire to *be* something as much as a desire to *not be* something. It feels to me to be a part of an image they want to have for themselves - a "we don't have a sign which shows that we're not caught up in marketing," but if there's any subtext of "churches with a sign therefore are caught up in marketing" it strikes me as a little holier than thou.

So why not have a sign? I don't even understand the logic, much less the spiritual principle at play.

Not sure I'd go with "holier than thou" exactly, but I can see what your saying. I wonder how many people at the end of their tethers and desperate to find God have come looking for the church and not found it becuase of this policy. Srely a sign is just helpful. I take Stef's point about most church signs, but we have them, even if they are just portable ones we carry from venue to venue. They don't have cheesy jokes on, just our name, in a nicely laid up format. (and perhaps an arrow)

I'm intrigued that Matt has used them to supplement sermons. I looked at one with a view to doing this. I thought it was great but I couldn't think how I could use it in a sermon context. It seemed that I would need to show the whole thing and I'm not sure that would work in a normal Sunday service.

It's disappointingly simple. Just make the sermon ten minutes shorter. (If your church sermons are less than ten minutes just ditch it for a week).

Matt

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First up, Stef, I feel like I haven't talked to you for ages! How are you doing? It's great that you're getting stuff out of Bell.

Yes, it really is. In so many ways I've given up on the faith. Not on God, just on the faith. I still lead in worship every week and still have my background as a believer across many nations that holds me together. And my wife helps out a lot. But Republicanism, and pop-psychology Christian teaching, and seeker-sensitivity have really put a damper on both the individual and social transformative power that we have the capability of tapping into. This is where I think Mars Hill excels. That, and the whole idea that everything isn't going to be OK once you give your life to Jesus. That you still have to stare your own dirt in the face, deal with pain and grow in the process of living it out. And that it hurts, but that's OK -- suffering is part of the larger plan. I think I've always felt like an outsider because yes, Jesus saved me, but it wasn't all it was cracked up to be because "now I'm saved and going to heaven." The teaching that comes from Mars Hill is just so much more holistic than that, and the timing for me to run across this teaching has literally been a life-saver.

: Which is so anti-growth that it just plain works.

FWIW I'd be shocked if I thought Bell was "anti-growth". I mean surely all churches should at least aspire to grow, even if their heart for the hurting, or adherence to tradition or whatever, means that this is not the primary goal or even particularly likely. But Bell particularly strikes me as someone who would have that on his agenda, even if it's not at the top of it.

I suspect you mean "anti-growth" in a slightly different sense (either in the sheep stealing sense, or the "we'll pander to your every need just stay here" sense.

I was really only referring to that one sentence I guess. I don't think any one Pastor who felt like they had something valuable to contribute to Christian discussion would be "anti-growth" overall. But FWIW, in Velvet Elvis he said that he finally knew he was called when he agreed to do it even if he only had "13" people show up and even if that was all he ever ministered to. Of course he hoped for more. But he was settled from the beginning. He felt it was the right thing to do regardless of the results. Which is still a lot healthier than putting your out-of-reach goals so high and leaving yourself frustrated all the time, which is something I've seen in many smaller churches, including my own.

-s.

Edited by stef

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Anyone know if a Borders or Barnes and Noble would stock these?

All christian bookstores around me are out of the one I want, Rain.

Thanks

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If Barnes and Noble has it, their website sure doesn't seem to indicate it.

The two I bought I got from www.nooma.com, and I think it only took about four days to show up in the mail. Not bad at only $10 bucks a pop.

-s.

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