This is a promo video for Rob Bell’s new book. The book is titled What We Talk about When We Talk About God. The book will be released March 19, 2013.
Now I suspect at this point, some of you might have one of three responses to this. They will likely be.
A) Who’s Rob Bell?
B) Rob Bell has another book! Cool, I like him!
C) Oh great Rob Bell has another book! I don’t like him.
For those who do not know Rob Bell has been a polarizing author for many years in the Christian scene. He was a Pastor and a founder at a church called Mars Hill in Grand Rapids Michigan. He has since moved on from that. In 2011, Times magazine named him one of 100 most influential people in the world.
Some of his books and videos you might have heard of. He wrote books like Velvet Elvis, Sex God and Jesus Wants To Save Christians (Co wrote with Don Golden). He also produced a video series called Nooma which you might have seen.
In 2011, Bell created a controversy for many in the Christian world with his book Love Wins. Specifically, the promo video started the controversy when he questioned if Ghandi was in Hell. This created a tweet that was sent by conservative Christian leaders John Piper, Mark Driscoll and Justin Taylor that said “Farewell Rob Bell”.
When I say that Bell is polarizing, there are different levels on this. On one hand, you have people who strongly dislike his view. Conservative Christians have accused him of being “unbiblical” and a “false teacher”. On the other hand, others have found him refreshing. He has opened the door for some questions that many have had for some time. The problem is they haven’t been comfortable in many forums to express it.
Perhaps one of Bell’s strength is he has the ability to listen. Since I never met him, I don’t know about his personal listening skills. But, reading his books, he seems to have an uncanny knack to hear the culture around him. He has a sense and a feel of the culture, church or outside, and feels their concern.
I’m intrigued by the conversation he will start with this book discussing God. Now the very mention of the name God, I imagine there is 3 general reactions to that.
A) There is no God. Does not exist.
B) The Bible is clear there is a God. And it is clear, the nature of who God is.
C) I possibly believe there is a God. I was taught about God in church when I was a kid. But I’m confused about who God is. He seems really cruel in the Old Testament. But Jesus was really cool and nice. If Jesus was God, that is really confusing.
While I know some of you are strongly in the A) Camp or the B) Camp, I also know many have sat in the C) camp for sometime. You have heard messages about God, about His wrath, His anger. And while the preacher’s intent was may have been to teach that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, you just were turned off. Maybe you heard that there are certain people group’s are going to a “lake of fire” because of who they are. You find that thinking confusing because these people can’t help it. This leads you to ask if this “God” is really that loving at all.
On a deeper level, you may have had some deeply personal stuff happen too you. It has confused you, as you have prayed and stayed faithful and your prayer wasn’t answered. You went to someone of faith, and you got a simple cliche answer that affected your view of God. And you might be angry or disappointed.
So is it time that we change how we talk about who this God is? For many, the debate has been His existence. For many it’s about how we need to follow exactly what He says. If you are not doing that, you are in trouble.
Is there, or does there need to be a change of how we talk about God? Some would say yes. God, or if you will, the idea of God, is much more complex then we imagine.
What do you think?