Read the Spirit interviews Rob Bell …

David Crumm and Rob talk about the freedom writers and speakers have that local church pastors don’t:

DAVID: I’ve got to say that—after watching the Viper Room video—one of the refreshing new messages you now apparently feel free to express in a straight-foward way is this: Let’s quit beating up on gay people in the church. You put it very simply: “Some people are gay and they’re our brothers and sisters and we love them.” Then, you go on to affirm that there are good, solid gay Christians in our churches and you say that we all ought to just get over this issue, accept our gay brothers and sisters—and move on with the work of the church.
What’s most remarkable about that segment of the video is: You seem so relaxed in saying that simple yet important thing. You’re smiling. You’ve got to be breathing a sigh of relief that you’re able to say this now without a panel of church elders to whom you’ve got to answer—or other critics in the church. So, what I want to know is: Does it feel good to get that off your chest?
ROB: I am smiling right now at that question. I am smiling.
It was a joy and honor and privilege to be part of a local church. It was absolutely amazing through all those years, but believe me—I know what you are describing here on a cellular level. Yeah. That’s all there is to say—yeah. I am smiling.

It’s been six-and-a-half years since I left the pastorate, and while I had a wonderful group of church elders – no complaints there – I remember (as Rob said, “on a cellular level”) – the challenge of dealing with “critics in the church,” and more – the challenge of wanting to speak freely and honestly without causing harm and division to the congregation I loved and served. I’m happy for Rob – and for the effects his increased freedom of speech will have on us all. I’m smiling too.