In this podcast session, I talk with best-selling author Rob Bell see theology, the world, and therapy. His new book, How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living talks about the differences between a finished and an unfinished view of the universe. If every counselor in the world were listening, what should they know?
PoP Culture meet Rob Bell
Rob Bell is a bestselling author, international teacher, and highly sought after public speaker. His books include The New York Times bestseller Love Wins, along with What We Talk About When We Talk About God, The Zimzum of Love, Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, Drops Like Stars. At age 28 he founded Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, and under his leadership it was one of the fastest-growing churches in America. In 2011 he was profiled in Time Magazine as one of their 100 most influential people. Rob was featured on Oprah’s 2014 Life You Want Tour and has spoken at events all over the world. He and his wife Kristen have three children and live in Los Angeles.
Rob Bell has appeared on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” a two-time Emmy award-winning series that delivers a thought-provoking, eye-opening and inspiring block of programming designed to help viewers awaken to their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the world around them. The series features exclusive interviews and all-new conversations between Oprah Winfrey and top thinkers, authors, filmmakers and spiritual leaders. Exploring themes and issues including happiness, personal fulfillment, wellness, spirituality and conscious living. “Super Soul Sunday” presents an array of perspectives on what it means to be alive in today’s world.
As well, Rob Bell had “The Rob Bell Show” on the Oprah Winfrey Network which is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand — and the magnetism of the channel.
Rob Bell’s Books
Resources from Past Podcasts
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is one of the world’s leading private practice consultants. He is the owner of the Traverse City counseling practice, Mental Wellness Counseling. Joe helps counselors to start private practices and grow them.
Pop 119 | Rob Bell: How To Be Here
[0:30] To the practice of the practice podcast i’m so happy you’re here today i am beyond thrilled to have our guest rob bell,
with us on today’s podcast and on my gosh it’s such a good interview he is just amazing,
the first one is remind you about the most awesome conferences coming up in may nineteen to twenty first in la jolla california can be hanging out there for that thursday friday and saturday three full days where,
kelly marie and julie hanks myself i’m gonna be doing some laser coaching with people you gonna get professional head shots professional video,
we just secured our library so that’s gonna be making coffee and espresso drinks every morning,
we’re gonna have massage therapy pool side and you a ton of other surprises,
i get to be in charge of the food trucks make sure there some dang good food at this conference this conference,
is all for people that are business leaders on small businesses,
therapists people on private practices with you i’m even like an attorney’s occupational therapists people that have their own private practice and they want to grow they want to scale they want to get,
better clients that pay more and more their ideal client,
yes it on real conference three days where we just blitz forward and we get things done yokohama this gigantic to do list,
i’m usually get things done in the conference so we’re talking about how.
[2:00] We’re gonna have sessions that are twenty minutes to half an hour long and then have break out sessions where we work at the one on one or in small groups or,
you can a larger groups to really breakdowns concepts to help you take action at the conference.
So head on over to most awesome conference start come and check it out their would love to see you in la jolla,
california and it’s gonna be super awesome so rob bell i don’t even need to read his bio i have been following roubles work,
for so long actually i was at a concert back when he had a baby and in his like early to mid twenties and is nineteen ninety seven i think,
and my wife and i were actually at that concert together but we weren’t together at the time at all getting really even know she existed much and,
you know like so many times that has crossed he launched this video series called numerous on which talk to a speech reality and just really different,
interesting way he was the pastor at mars hill church in grand rapids and i was a house church leader where i got a really,
yeah we drove up from kalamazoo every week it was an hour each way and so we sit in the car,
i’m with a group of people and on the way back with hash through just is really interesting concepts around was talking about.
And to see him now just go out to california and it just it’s on real what happened to he when to with okra.
[3:33] And here’s show on oprah’s network and i mean,
the scale and which rob is doing things and speaking at just gigantic stadiums with open and elizabeth gilbert and depart choke are cobra i mean it’s just.
It’s nuts to see how awesome his message is and how big it is and how it’s just getting out some people so he’s gonna talk all about his creative process is gonna talk about things in perspective on the universe,
he’s gonna talk about really can’t micro things and individuals and then universal themes that we all deal with and.
It’s just i can’t wait for you to meet rob bell if you haven’t met him before after this you’re gonna wanna follow his rob cast ridges podcast,
for the top ranking podcasts,
this is it almost that i can think of anything he’s done this not magnificent and so without any further ado i give you the one the only the never replicated rob,
bell rob bell welcome to the practice of the presence podcast are you doing today.
It’s i’m doing wonderful and it’s great to be on the practice and practice.
Yeah yeah i really need to have my dot name by the way the traffic name yeah i was driving with my wife one day and thinking about blogs and my podcast morning to start something new and i was like what if like practice of the practice and she was like,
what scenes using an iPhone checking in it was available and gather up and running so good business.
[5:03] Things will just got back from australia tell me a little bit about just how your travels when the people you met and make awesome was.
Well it’s really interesting obviously to go on the other side of the world where you’ve never been and have people that kind of mormon appreciate it.
This is sort of and i have words for that it’s also fascinating.
Everybody everywhere asking same questions yeah there wasn’t one question.
Because i always do this interactive what you want question thing.
And it’s fascinating how your nose in the world and there’s no question where like wow.
I’ve never heard a human being having that question during yeah yes like this already there’s this universal humanity wherever you go like that i ask questions usually get.
[5:58] Other general i was a joke with each book there seven questions and,
any time out there are some questions and a couple random ones otherwise.
Everybody wants to know when you stay where you are when you leave.
Mom is that the today business thing i’m like seeing there with all these business leaders and like half of my legs should i stay or should i go and i’m like,
i just love what i do i am not leaving her just was blown away by that not fasting yeah i’m very like successful influential and people who apparently don’t quite well.
Hello how are asking the sort of questions which is one reason why do those events that bugging you can do is.
On my word even turn this around yeah you me like a pearl you get a paycheck for certainty for having the answers for telling me where to go but you are actually a rack.
In size yeah also its interesting it especially i miss your as a therapist you can relate when people give you.
Tiny scraps and fragments of their story.
And then want you like the way and yeah and especially the live event there’s like lots of people in the room and some raises their hand and gives you,
a thirteen second overview of their life so what should i do yeah um yeah you leaving right now i know that for sure absolutely when is he’s worth nothing getting ready.
[7:30] And the other thing than the size serving universal humanity.
I’m always struck withheld desperately hungry people are in the modern world for spiritual guidance and direction yeah.
They may have nothing to do with religion church any sort of formal institutions but.
Everybody has a heart everybody’s trying to figure out the path everybody’s got forgiveness.
Issues so many different have and they know it lots of questions about fear.
Lots of questions about i was handed something growing up.
Then i can do i was hand i was trained in this way i was taught that as i was handed this world you no longer works,
i was taught to sell a product that nobody wants i was taught to lead people down the road that nobody’s interested in going down as a whole so there’s a new world.
And i come out of an old world and how do you go about.
Set the thirteen sorting through all of that happens whether it’s business education religion whatever it is that question comes up this fundamental awareness that everything is changed on and some how.
People were marinated in a in and raised and trained in a world that no longer exists that comes up often.
[9:06] So is part of it then you think they expect you’re gonna like speed up that process or it’s just easier to have rob make the decision for me like when they mostly by liking for just.
Wow what’s interesting to me is how people don’t have like tell me what to do it’s interesting how many people.
When i will say wow that’s really difficult.
I can see why that would throw you it’s very normal.
[9:38] That you would be disoriented by what you just told me how many people lean back in your chair and a breathes deeply and i say thank you god i was thinking actually want an answer i just yawning it’s like this could somebody please tell me.
[9:54] That this thing is difficult hits difficult thank you,
and that’s things been so fascinating about your work is house their pubic it is you know it’s like weather in yuma az or when we drive up to mars hill from kalamazoo and like all these things it was like.
This is like a gigantic therapy session they hate biology mixed in its life and has a clear even before you ever started talking about it that you are doing your own internal work and it was like,
can of wrestling things up and i love how freely you talk about with the recovery movement and being in your.
That hard to start reveal some of that as a pastor.
[10:37] I’m all images for say three for those of you for you and for therapist i have just such huge respect.
And i’d in i don’t think i ever do a public event where people are asking questions were at some point.
I’m on i don’t end up saying okay here’s the deal there are people trained.
In this issue that you for a family systems addiction let like you can go to somebody.
And they’ve spent a long time studying his email i have and they can help you navigate this yeah and and maybe just a few sessions with that person.
This complicated hairball of the family system urine you may get some clarity,
i like you said if you rub gas to go but like sometimes like you know thanksgiving if you stay more than two hours left like,
oh yeah i get what is this uncle selling size one too many drinks like right let’s jump got kids that’s interesting and i’ve never asked a group.
How long can you stay before something happens that you spend the next three days processing.
Where your driving home of like what we think and live with and everybody has a time yeah but nobody study dumpling happen to me is.
[12:08] I wasn’t really given tools for the in tier life until i of course and i started church and.
It kept growing and i kept adding layers of complexity there are more more paid staff there more and more volunteers there’s more and more.
A public dimension to my work and i all i knew is you just run faster than you just work harder.
You just pretend everything’s fine and i am inside yeah and i was just too much.
So it probably a js thirty or thirty one.
[12:49] The church was at like ten thousand people eighty staff three four thousand volunteers so you just had the scale was not do able.
[13:00] And that’s.
That’s when i will start and seeing a therapist because i how i pictured like this.
Like above my head that was pulling out every little shard that wasn’t there this intense spotlight.
It was like it pull out every anxiety every wound they need to study aunt and i realize that this is this crucible too hot.
Yeah the only route is to go and find out what all that is um and.
[13:38] So you just one step mean i need to start.
Working now and we know many people pulling for your time must a had to learn some pretty strong boundaries pretty quick and i didn’t really have any kind i haven’t been taught any of this so i was we were just.
[13:54] Learning on the fly but i didn’t i just knew you say yes cuz you don’t want anybody to think you’re lazy what is missing and of course you know you were carries dryer and faster.
I just know boundaries okay why do i have such a hard time saying unit no only because i want everybody to think i can do all why is that well,
so that gets you in into as you know lots of their lots of screens the format river so.
And with the little bit of wisdom and insight.
Mom is like another little bit of.
Flow with peace as a ball like a little bit more health more outstanding yeah not.
So i came by necessity and desperation you have while i loved the how you shared the today.
The empty chair see you later shared in the rob cast in a love to hear more about that transition time when it’s like,
can your church people are leaving in like the rob cast people that we’re open to what you’re teaching now like that,
i don’t know what’s gonna happen here maybe the big crowd behind me phase so i forget haven’t heard it like talk a little bit about what happened right before and then can you go on this to or there’s a.
If i’m evicted i started writing books in two thousand five and to me the whole thing is an exploration.
[15:31] It’s it’s a surge of the path your student that’s where the joy is we don’t know what’s around the next corner how great is that.
Any idea jesus called disciples like that’s a beautiful idea you’re learning a way of life of compassion non violence forgiveness courage.
[15:49] And i wanna book love wins in two thousand eleven which i.
It wasn’t the first time that i received criticism and i had started years ago religious people namely the defining the almighty spell a particular kind of and i’m so i have been on the receiving end of that.
But you have to keep going and you have to stay on your path and you have to.
Keep trying next thing that’s where the joy is and i love this work i love putting.
Language to the mysteries love creating spaces where people can hear what a need to hear this hebrew word shalom which means peace wholeness everything else right place.
There’s shalom with ourselves comfortable in your own skin shalom with each other along with the earth and i love train space where people can.
Can step into greater and greater shalom so more and more.
Chris and i had a sense like keep going and this season with the church has been fantastic amazing thing to be a part of the need to you need to keep going you’re telling a story so where people tell stories why not go.
Where people broadcast stories and how far can you take it and.
Is new york or la but la is always been our bones will it your first marriage was like coming on.
What’s you’re visiting and like this place is awesome we have a spare of saying that the machine was a little rough.
We were in the fall the book came out in early two thousand eleven and then of december first details when we moved from west michigan to los angeles and.
That’s all i had a speaking tour and did speaking to our and then use where i had spoken to fifteen hundred people like.
Yeah fifty people showed up.
And the promoters new two are like clubs in theaters upper motors for takes the rest for the event they do the advertising they get the room and so promoters are losing money and motors are like the high-class can you hear us we sold a thousand tickets.
We saw lady hannah i just realized that i had.
I have lost my whole set of conservative christian church audience and.
I remember those walking out on stage and there’s like this little group of people huddled in middle of the room and then just stop empty seats as far as you can see and.
[18:28] It was a really and then i can afford to about three sleep on it wake up and the next day so my,
okay guys with me can i rent a car and you have to read the cheapest carcass,
but we’re losing money and the two r and he’s on my friend matthew six born six three renting liking off festiva or something or driving along these eight hour drive each day and.
[18:51] It was just like a really.
In it was it was like wow this is that may have been behind me talking to large crowds maya been in the past that all me and then.
Something that i did one point and now we do something else yeah interest and i have this running joke at all falls apart you can always yourself shoes and.
And then just do this on the side i guess so i always do this work is this is why i’m here and i love it but it’s really important to have those moments,
i’m so how do you go from the empty chairs like me i can’t even imagine walking on stage and be like,
i am give this my all hello as the air like i just wanna like sit down with people be like so like,
well let’s just talk is by danielle and all your things like yellow and find you find out what you’re made of yeah you either love the work.
Swallows some of the best talks are giving you just that you just double down yeah.
What can i do what the fans are artists or light,
sarah hairpiece happy you have those moments where is just a doesn’t line up and you know i remember my brother and i we’re gonna be famous rock stars we never made it clearly cuz i’m a therapist now but it’s okay.
But like we had his van driving through texas where was overheating and we had to have seen and with windows down and it’s like at the time it was terrible but now it’s like.
Those of the last major road trip with my brother you know before we as adults and.
[20:26] And have those stories where it’s just like it looks like it’s falling apart but it’s not something else is happening yeah i went when i.
When i meet up with people who are thriving in their work whatever it is and you start asking them questions how did you stumble into this how to hide it was a good day like.
Well today is not a good look like what’s hard about this let’s easy about this.
They always tell stories about loss heartache and.
That’s that is part of it is a sort of by neary this duality that many people live in which is there’s good.
God’s over here not over here successes over here failures over here now it is.
You just have to move through those does that smell of that it just all went am glad wells david and goliath,
and he was talking about all the guys restock about entrepreneurs artists and how like dyslexia and the death of a parent is things that on the surface you just think i like.
Just terrible like actually became like the super hero power of these be absolutely.
Thought so you go from empty seats two touring with no parole like any new hell oh i’m sure there’s a little gap in there but like it seems like releases from an outsider that happened relatively fast so,
you guys going to california and then like oprah’s just like hey like coming out or like what happened there.
[22:02] I just kept i can’t redeem an ice or do news events like the vans the vent you came to because i have the sense.
There’s gonna be some way chris space where.
People who are doing like work like you’re doing to get a room and talk about all the things you don’t often have space to talk about.
Calling fear stress anxiety what happens when you carry the whole thing on your shoulders how do you think about ambition and then.
You are devotion to your loved ones and family bike do you book another session to another conference where you go home.
This is another little money there is another hour your home.
But like all those little fine line things that so many people are sort of stretching wrestling with and when you expand when you keep the size it is and when do you bring on associate money you just keep it simple and.
So i just kept trying those i just kept trying things and somewhere in there i wrote a book called what we talk about we talk about god and.
[23:13] So bread really like it so i went on her show someone to her house and did not but the book at the same time i had this idea for a television show so.
My friend colton i attached her network on i need around the tv networks patina missed bridal show idea.
So day and making some tv shows with her network yes sir how and then and then they said she’s gonna just arena tour.
And once you to long for so when he is standing when you got back all,
like no i was in a conference what a conference room like become answer me picture in your head it looked exactly like that was like there is a water ass and add is water white board on pounds.
Exit i was in that exact conference room at.
The doctor told network and to head to the network said here’s the plan no notice but we’re where does gonna have to where you.
Elizabeth gilbert deepak chopra yung la from an over.
Miss hall to make you do you play it cool do you like say yes he like the this is just,
it’s a totally different world that’s outside of the therapy world so i’m just agenda this point i’m.
As a great question exactly can a question i would ask to somebody who had to have that experience.
[24:44] I was like well that’s yeah i’ll do that here kind of just you’re just fully present saying exactly what you think which is all that sounds really fun it and it was fascinating it was really.
It was it was amazing so what did you learn about yourself and it to work cuz i’m sure they revealed all sorts of things what are some things you learned about yourself.
[25:08] Couple things first i always felt like the message in hs side mean that i wanted to share was big in scale like that it needed a big space.
[25:21] I need and the first night of the first two were stops is nba arena as when i did my talk.
It was in like felt like the right size so that’s just being brutally honest it was like aw yeah and i had like there’s like a massive screen and people have bracelets that could light up so i had got to like.
Do that thing that was in my head i had the scale to work with the actually make the whole.
Setting is because the idea that i was trying to get across and that was really satisfying than second but was so interesting to me is everybody there was fine with me being.
Like like christian preacher pastor of spiritual teacher totally fine yeah i’m good that be who you are.
And if your tradition has language for certain realities can just use that language.
And that people are most inspired by somebody who’s true today arsenal term using your son not the park and i’m not elisabeth and i’m not over and.
There was nothing but love for who i am and that was office it’s like something you know but then.
Is it also interesting that over creates an overtly spiritual space that hasn’t been co opted by anyone tradition in such a public space.
[26:53] That is spiritual but everybody’s welcome and there are that many spaces like that.
That don’t ultimately have like okay yeah that’s great but then you join us ninety yeah sign up for you to get money or you need to believe is living things on me in many ways publicly we have very few spaces that are political.
That having already been corrupted by.
Partisan interests your name so over would begin the whole thing with there is no life without a spiritual life.
That was that was really beautiful to see who truly everybody is welcome here i’m very interesting very spying hat is just.
So refreshing you know like when slowing much as divides us to have something like that.
And my friends who would come because of your i can do there’s like six news in the whole place for my friends who came who were like.
That thing was ridiculously inspired i click on me and,
what’s the name of it so so then you got this new book coming out i think when it just goes live it’ll be like next week it comes out,
are some really big cat topics that we talked a little bit like at the beginning and then it’s like great say this for the podcast interviews so the theme of it that you said is that,
you can do vs unfinished.
[28:26] Yeah talk more about that email from many people universe’s fixed static it’s already exists in a such a meeting about the metaphor specially.
Then you go out into the world and try to find your place but in the ancient hebrew consciousness the universe is unfinished so you take part in the ongoing creation of the world.
So i think the adam and eve story which is a poem i think it’s a poem about humanity.
And this gift of life and you’re in this big beautiful mysterious heartbreaking exotic creation what are you gonna make what are you gonna do with this life you’ve given to the power of the poem is asks everybody.
It turns on you the police asking you what are you going to do.
With this i would make what kind of world are we gonna make together looking am only gonna make and.
But we have more power to create our lives than we realize and so especially with educated.
Hardworking organize talented people you meet that person like i’m just so stressed have all these but.
Skip this but all the stuff on my shoulders who put it there again who did this you did.
You created this so it yet so i am not going i’m interested in selling the book is and then.
[29:56] Often times we have things come our way that we never wanted to come our way.
Which is another opportunity to create something so addiction support groups are generally started by people who struggle with addiction cancer foundations are usually started by somebody lost somebody to cancer and so even.
Pain suffering loss and heartbreak that comes our way.
Is another opportunity create something out of it and a lot of the things that move us most when you find out why the person made that i usually say well this happened that’s often bloody and tragic.
Yeah i am disappointing and got wrenching and then they say and out of that.
I decided to do this so it is very important to me to get.
[30:46] To create a space where people can see within their own hearts where they have slipped into a distant powered.
Well i guess this is the way it is and i talk about how despair is actually a spiritual condition despair is the conviction that tomorrow will simply be a repeat of today.
Which answer using people who are like the discussion keeps going back to yeah but there always gonna be this way yeah that’s to spare right its actual spiritual disease and.
We need liberation from despair and it’s often times began with this begins with a sense of imagination tomorrow doesn’t have to be repeat of today you can create something new.
So that’s the book starts school out that colors paragraph that actually the first of a.
But when you’re talking about spiral dynamics and you did like and that’s just year one that i am like all,
total side on spiral dynamics i restarted dr back after can you talk and he’s gonna be on the podcast and a few weeks and then,
i was talking or my close friends as i can hear the spiral dynamic is that you have been studying for six months and is really into it so it was a good conversation starter for us.
So sedan with this unit unfinished despair a lack of imagination.
Do you share hydraulic where to go from there is it open-ended i mean and obviously want people to read the book and i’m gonna read the book but it’s called how to be here by the way to be out of here.
[32:27] Yes it people to like the japanese is have a word a key guy i okay ag ai and the key guy is that what’s got you up and the morning so.
Sometimes it’s translate your reason for being a wire here the thing you’re doing.
And that he guy was always understood as an ongoing process your endlessly working on your it guy mean i got in the work that i do because i preach my first sermon and i distinctly remember thinking.
I would beat it terrible this but i would love it if it would get me out of bed in the morning i am.
I’m not your guy often more some ships over the years like if you have a loved one you’re carrying for who practice some illness.
Then what can ya bend the morning is taking care of them or i mean we.
Send three kids school today make them lunch is in the morning we packed we make them breakfast and i got my daughter’s school like your key guys sort of this web of all of your life but when you are tune in to what it is.
If you are awesome wonder can also often be very disorienting so your t i may involve a paycheck may not so nice people have this thing they love to do.
So there is this like why i love to do so i should do this for my work but i.
[33:54] You may be loading down this thing that you love with paycheck way that i can bear may ruin it yeah i’m trying to log in his mid fifties his wife adopted six kids.
From all of the world like a little traveling you and she doesn’t need a job that drains am,
she needs a job that gets enough money to go home to the six kids from all over the world these adopted getting so,
partisans freeing people are you think about american idol where they have them backstage before they go on its like this is my one chance i’m here to saying,
and if i don’t do this i don’t know what happened.
Well you’re probably not gonna have a singing career cuz it almost nobody from that show that singing career so let’s pump the brakes of a kid in a just because you love it.
I am a very good at it will have some role of your life.
But understanding that it has a role in your life doesn’t have it may not be your paycheck and that’s okay so the book is for a walk through some of these things i’ve observed that people get so stuck and hung up on.
I think that’s just something that in.