Kingdom Living

What We Talk About When We Talk About God – Rob Bell

March 13th, 2013 · 9 Comments · Books, Christianity, God

RobBell-GodFor whatever reason I ended up with a review copy of Rob Bell’s new book “What we talk about when we talk about God” and wow…it is not what I expected. In fact, from what I have read so far…it totally makes us for his book “Love wins”. Kidding there. I am going to do a fuller review in a future post but I want to make you want to read this book, not because some publisher asked me to do that but because I appreciate what Rob Bell is doing here and I believe it is extremely relevant. Here is what happened with this book…I don’t know if this violates some sort of word count limit or not but I find all of this so hopeful and helpful that I want to share it with you so that you can tell if this is something you might be interested in reading. Here is why Rob said he wrote this book,

“One Sunday morning a number of years ago I found myself -face-to-face with the possibility that there is no God and we really are on our own and this may be all there is.

Now I realize lots of people have questions and convictions and doubts along those lines–that’s nothing new. But in my case, it was an Easter Sunday morning, and I was a pastor. I was driving to church services where I’d be giving a sermon about how there is a God and that God came here to Earth to do something miraculous and rise from the dead so that all of us could live forever.

And it was expected that I would do this passionately and confidently and persuasively with great hope and joy and lots of exclamation points!!!!!

That’s how the Easter sermon goes, right? Imagine if I’d stood up there and said, ‘Well, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I gotta be honest with you: I think we’re kinda screwed.”

Doesn’t work does it?…

That Easter Sunday was fairly traumatic, to say the least, because I realized that without some serious reflection and study and wise counsel I couldn’t keep going without losing something vital to my sanity. The only way forward was to plunge headfirst into my doubts and swim all the way to the bottom and find out just how deep that pool went. And if I had to, in the end, walk away in good conscience, then so be it. At least I’d have my integrity.

This book, then, is deeply personal for me. Much of what I’ve written here comes directly out of my own doubt, skepticism and dark nights of the soul when I found myself questioning-to be honest-everything…What I experienced, over a long period of time, was a gradula awakening to new perspectives on God-specficially, the God Jesus talked about. I came to see that there were depths and dimensions to the ancient Hebrew tradition, and to the Christian tradition which  grew out of that, that spoke directly to my questions and sturggles in coming to terms with how to conceive of who God is and what God is and why that even matters and what that has to do with life in this world here and now” (p.11-14)

Wow…there are so many people who are in that boat or agnostics (fastest growing “religious” group in America) who will benefit from walking along side Rob Bell through this book.

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • whlifetogether

    It will be helpful if he lands somewhere. My frustration with Love Wins was not that he declared himself a universalist (he didn’t) but that he did the postmodern thing where we never land anywhere. We end up on this endless doubt train.
    And I want us to end up so focused and in love with Jesus that it allows us to put some things as essentials and other things as not quite so important.

  • Tulsaoilman

    I don’t trust Rob Bell. I’ll most likely read the book.But I don’t trust him.

  • Rob Eby

    For the record, I really liked “Love Wins” and I will likely enjoy this one. Did I agree with everything in his books, heck no. Was it a great theological discourse on Heaven, Hell, and such things, heck no. Was it a work that many of those ‘outside the church’ (or tired of the church, etc) will likely read, yes I think so. As for the “circled to [sic] airport way too many times.” not for the current crop of college age types, I think. That is mainly how they tend to think. (I teach mathematics at college, grew up in the C of C, graduated ACU, and currently attend a C of C. for reference.)

    My guess is that most of us on this blog have read and thought about those things a fair bit, and so the book was not succinct enough. True. I also don’t think we were ever in his intended audience. (The snarky sarcastic side of me would also add that he was dodging all of the AA flack those in churches would throw up at each point, and that is why he had to circle, but I digress…)

    I did a class at my church last summer over this, and his questioning style really helped to get people out of their pat answers and actually consider what the texts say. So in that regard, I think it worked well. Do I think he took some “leaps” with some of his explanations, yes again. Oh well, a work for the masses doesn’t have to hold logically, just emotionally…..

    My 2 cents.

  • Philip Cunningham III

    This excerpt makes his decision to leave local church ministry more interesting.

  • Smile

    …the main thing that bothers me about this book, isn’t who it’s by or what it may be about (because I wouldn’t know on either counts, I never read the Love book…) but the cover. The organization of the colours, shapes and words is just mind wrangling.

    I know we say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but I can tell you that I would never pick that book up in the store because if that disorganized array represents the book…then I’d rather not read it…

    and yes, I know that was completely unrelated to anything at all relevant.

    BUT! the story sounds interesting =P

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