Saturday, May 28, 2011

And I tried to ignore the Rob Bell hype

Rob Bell. A name associated with controversy. So, when people started the firestorm of blogging against him, i was curious what the fuss was all about.

Personally, I was turned off when I saw my first NOOMA video. It was the one where he is with his son and they get caught in a rain storm. I thought it was creative but just not for me. So, when I heard of Velvet Elvis I paid no attention to it.

But I did start to warm up to Bell when in Portugal. He had made more NOOMA videos, and I was invited to attend the launch of a Bible study among some pretty tough and rough athletes there. Through cursing and beer drinking, it was one of the liveliest Bible studies I've ever been apart of. These videos were excellent spiritual conversation starters. I still didn't like the videos themselves. But what I saw come from them surprised me. So from that point forward, I decided to let Rob Bell be. He was advancing the kingdom more than I was, and who was I to say anything against what God was doing. God was (is) using Bell.

He's had several other books come out of which none I've read. But when all the Reformers began denouncing him as a heretic for his latest views in Love Wins, I had to see what the fuss was about. If the Reformers didn't like him, he may be my new best friend. Well, I couldn't afford to buy the book. So, I thought I would just ignore all the fan fare. But just the other day it showed up at the local library.

It was an easy read although written like Bell was talking. When I finished I was left wondering what all the fuss was about. Bell never does explicitly say what he believes exactly about heaven and hell and judgment. He comes close but never actually admits to being a universalist.

So, as I blog about the book I will try to keep in mind that he's just trying to get dialogue started about the issue. I could try to comb out Bell's personal view of universalism, but I don't think that would be beneficial. Instead I just want to talk about what he actually says.

Book blogging is for me the hardest. You have to assume the person has not read the book, and even if they have you have to put your comments in some sort of context. And this does not make for brevity.

This book is about "...some of the dominant stories that are being told as the Jesus story...[A lot of people] have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better...This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus' message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy..." So, now we know what we are about to read. He wants an open discussion on the topic.

Since this is already a long post. I will stop and continue as I work my way through the major stuff of the next 200 or so pages.

No comments: