Monday, 3 October 2011

Summer Reading (4)

"Love Wins-At the Heart of Life’s Big Questions" by Rob Bell

With previous titles such as "Velvet Elvis", "Sex God" and "Jesus wants to Save Christians" Rob Bell has cleverly created a niche market for his writing whilst, it could be argued, managing to distance himself from some of the excesses of conventional mainstream US Christianity. In "Love Wins", Bell takes a closer look at some commonplace church teachings, which, he seems to assert, need to be reconsidered. Bell focuses, for example on traditional beliefs about heaven and hell and how the presentations of them within certain streams of Christianity have clashed with an overall theological picture of "good news" as presented in the Bible. Bell’s vision may seem unconventional and controversial to some, but it does force the reader to question where his or her beliefs about the question of life after death have derived  from. Focusing on biblical texts to support his argument, he manages to provide hope for those who dare to believe that God may succeed in his plan of initiating and balancing an open and welcoming afterlife, admittedly without fluffy clouds, angels with harps or St. Peter standing bouncer-like at the pearly gates. In deconstructing some of the traditional images of his own Christian experience, Bell re-imagines something on arguably a much bigger and grander scale, befitting of a God who may be more gracious than Christians will sometimes accept or reveal to interested onlookers.

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