Prison Diary: Rob Bell in Prison

Regular readers know I've lamented the poor theology that is often found in prison ministries. The theology is often fundamentalist and revivalistic.

To be clear, I love to thump the Bible and I like a good altar call. But if all you ever get, theologically speaking, is Bible thumping and altar calls your spiritual formation gets unbalanced.

Plus, I'd like to insert some progressive perspectives into the Bible study. Last week, for example, I used the Passover to talk about Christus Victor atonement, how salvation isn't just about guilt and forgiveness. Salvation is also about liberation and emancipation from dark, enslaving forces. And if Christus Victor make sense anywhere, it makes sense in a maximum security prison, where the dark forces are rampant.

As a part of all this, expanding the theological perspectives in our study, a few weeks ago we started showing Rob Bell's NOOMA videos. A few each week with discussions in between.

The NOOMA videos have been around churches for years, a staple of youth ministries. Many of my college students were raised on the NOOMA videos.

I don't know if NOOMA videos have ever been used in a maximum security prison. But we are doing it.

So, how does Rob Bell and NOOMA play in a prison?

The inmates love it!

The videos have worked really well. Great conversations after each video, accomplishing exactly what I hoped they would: Kicking us out of the fundamentalist and revivalistic ruts.

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