Being in Prison with Rob Bell
REFLECTIONS BY HAYNE STEEN
Rob Bell is coming to Chattanooga, TN on November 12, 2016. We reached out to him with a personal invitation to consider our town for the fall leg of his How to Be Here Tour. We have enjoyed the opportunity to help his team to nail down the perfect local event venue, The Camp House
Earlier this year, I went to prison with author and speaker, Rob Bell.
Let me clarify.
My great friend and college roommate, Luke the Prison Chaplain (aka Chap), and I have made it one of our habits in our 25 year friendship to read and listen to Rob’s books, podcasts and films together. As often as once a week, we jump on the phone to share how we are being impacted by whatever book, podcast or film we are currently swimming in.
When Rob officially announced that his How to Be Here Tour would be stopping in Chap’s home town, I jumped online to purchase my ticket.
Somewhere in the mix, Chap had a bizarre dream about having invited Rob to come speak at the prison where he serves as a full time ordained Chaplain. When he awoke from his dream, he rolled over to share how real it was with his wife. She encouraged Chap to email Rob a real invitation.
Chap opened his email with,”Hey Rob, do you want to go prison?”
Rob’s response? “I’m in.”
Rob rearranged his entire travel itinerary that week to make room for it. He never told us this himself but we learned later about how heavily he protects his time with family and what a rare treat this was.
On the day before the local How to Be Here event, I spent several hours in the prison with Chap while Rob spoke to 200+ inmates for over 2 hours. Rob lingered around one theme.”God. Is. On. Your. Side.”
Everything I’ve always suspected about Rob is true. He is incredibly genuine and present. He remembered my wife’s name hours after only hearing it once earlier in the day. He is drawn to places of depth and wonder. Conversation moved into that space naturally and lingered without being forced. Wisdom flows from lived out experiences and places of genuine depth.
I love Chap’s reflection on the day with Rob Bell in the prison…
“The highlight for me was getting the chance to interact on a personal level with someone who has played such a key role in shaping my spiritual journey. When I picked him up in the car it did not take long for it to feel like I was hanging out with a longtime friend talking about things of substance. I got the sense that Rob truly practices what he preaches. I got the sense from everyone who interacted with him that he was fully present and engaged in that interaction.” —Chap
It was an amazing day in the prison. Typically Rob invites global thought leaders to join him on his weekly podcast. On Podcast #88, Rob allows the inmates to be his featured guest as he reflects on his time in the prison with them and their continuing impact on him.
Rob’s latest book, How To Be Here, is a powerful invitation to find creative and soulful ways to get into your life and be fully present there…wherever you are. What better place, than prison, to process a message exploring how to be here…in prison…in a meaningful and soulful way.
To hear more about it from Rob, click the link below:
Rob recounts his day in the prison on his podcast, Seeds and Switches.
“The peace we are offered is not a peace that is free from tragedy, illness, bankruptcy, divorce, depression, or heartache. It is peace rooted in the trust that the life Jesus gives us is deeper, wider, stronger, and more enduring than whatever our current circumstances are, because all we see is not all there is and the last word about us and our struggle has not yet been spoken.”
This is a blog post by Hayne Steen, Director of Counseling and Care