I think the most tragic part of human history has been the repeated misrepresentation of a loving, beautiful God. Even Christians have turned him into an ugly monster who is no better than humans themselves, if you really think about what is being taught.
friendofmankind, I agree with you wholeheartedly! We live in a day and age when people want intellectual answers to life's questions, not some guy in the street ranting and raving about hell and God's judgment. I also agree with you that the hard part of spreading the news is not non-believers but the church itself.
I have a friend who earlier this year (well last year now -- 2009) took a turn from going to an Arminian baptist church to a Calvinist, Reformed Baptist church. She said the reason she became uncomfortable with arminianism is because it limited God's power - people can choose not to follow God and it made Him seem powerless to stop it. What I find hard about this is that I went through exactly the same thing and it lead me to universal salvation - because when I came to calvinism I thought to myself, "okay so calvinism remedies God's powerlessness, but what about his LOVE?". To me calvinism limits his love, and I've told that to my friend, but she is convinced calvinism is the right belief. I find calvinism so hard, mainly because when I see it, all it looks like to me is arrogance - and it has really starting coming through in the life of my friend and our other friends who also attend that church. It makes me so sad. I have to really keep telling myself to just give the situation to God, because He DOES have supreme power AND supreme love and in the end, everyone will see that and be happy.
(Bit of a rant there... sorry :) )
Paul - I wondered if that were the case with Rob Bell! I haven't checked out a lot of his stuff but I have had the chance to see a nooma here and there, and read a couple of articles.
Rob and Shane probably aren't technically Christian universalists yet... perhaps God is leading them down that road, though.
I think the whole situation that Christianity is in today is very sad.... sad that people who profess to love and follow Jesus will reject the idea of Him saving everyone... sometimes I wonder if it's because (some) Christians need a way to feel that they are better than non-believers in the sight of God. News flash to them - we're not. He loves *everyone*. Perhaps they just can't deal with that..