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THE MOST UNEXPECTED RESPONSE SO FAR FROM BOLD AS LOVE

by Bob Roberts, Jr.

The past couple of months have been exciting for me watching, listening, and engaging with people as they respond to the release of “Bold as Love”. There have been many reactions covering the gamut. There are already 98 reviews on the book. Some people are excited, learning, and shifting in perspective. Some are excited about a new way to approach others and feel like a light switch has been turned on. Others don’t like it at all and view it as dangerous to connect with people of other faiths. It has forced me to think even more about how we engage others.

One thing I’m more and more convinced of is that if our faith is not out in the global public square – it’s merely tribal and cultural. Jesus, Paul, the other Apostles – all of them lived their faith and shared it in the public square. The church was merely a place to equip, train, and engage the city and world at large. I don’t know how I missed that for so many years. For so long we have engaged the world in “mission” and “religion” creating our own space without any respect or understanding of the places we are in. It is one thing for me to make a space, it’s quite another to be invited into someone else’s space.

The real power of the Gospel is not when we do our events with our people and invite the public – but when we’re asked to “others” events. (Mars Hill, Aeropagus, Synagogues, Mosques, state departments, etc….) Most of us aren’t asked because we know little about “others”, have no relationships with them, or we unintentionally come across as paternalistic, colonialistic, arrogant, or hateful.

I’ve had lots of people read the book who are of different faiths – that are not Christians. The response I got yesterday simply blew me away and I had to share it with you. It is from a Jewish Rabbi that I’ve come to know in the northeast. He and I have been at meetings together – but now he’s moving out of “clerical” convened meetings to his own relationships . . .

Hi Pastor Roberts,
It was a great pleasure talking with you today.
“Bold as Love” inspired me today to contact the imam of the mosque around the corner from my synagogue. Although I am in touch with a number of muslims elsewhere, I haven’t yet met the imam or other leaders of this mosque that is in my very own neighborhood. Thanks for setting a great (and challenging) example!

Can you imagine all the good that could come if there was a movement of rabbis and imams to become friends and enter into personal relationships with one another? It would be HUGE. I go to the meetings where we are convened and that is sometimes a “forced” politeness that we all know we need to do to build bridges to understand and, if need be, let off some steam. BUT THIS IS DIFFERENT – this is someone on their own initiative saying – “let’s be friends.” I’m convinced “multifaith” is one of the keys– not “interfaith.” Too many people, especially conservative people resist interfaith because it can be perceived as watering down your own faith. Multifaith says don’t compromise your faith, hold on to it – but be respectful and engage others.

I did an interview with Rachel Borsch yesterday who works with companies on dealing with various HR issues, one being faith in the workplace. It was on blog talk radio about “Bold as Love” and how to relate to people of other faiths – you can hear it here . . . . .

Bob Roberts

Bob Roberts

Bob is the founder, senior leader, and chief spokesman for Glocal.net . His primary focus is to connect leaders and estabish relationships to explore transformation. Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobrobertsjr.