Rob Bell, Love Wins, and a couple videos
Rob Bell caused quite a controversy in 2011 when he published Love Wins, a book that had the temerity to suggest that God loves humanity, and that the central task facing Christians is to love God and to love our neighbors through real, concrete actions. Sadly, this work inspired a large amount of hostile, at times vitriolic, responses. When Love Wins was published, I had never heard of Rob Bell. I don’t come from an Evangelical background and had had fairly limited contact with Evangelical Christians, but even I couldn’t miss the buzz around Love Wins. One of the things I came across was this first video interview with Rob Bell, which I watched to get some idea of what his book was about:
“The book is about the urgency of Christ’s call to respond and live now and partner with God in bringing heaven to earth. The book is about the urgent, present availability of the kingdom, of eternal life now, of conscious connection and vibrant union with the good of the universe who wants to shape us and transform us and meld our hearts and do something about the hells on earth right now.”—Rob Bell
I really appreciated Bell’s emphasis in the interview on God’s love and God’s call to His followers act in the real world in real ways. I fear too often the message of love gets lost in messages of judgement and wrath and that the Christian duty to be a servant to our neighbors too often gets lost in people’s desire for comfort and overemphasis on the purely spiritual aspects of Christianity or the narcissistic and selfish emphasis on personal salvation. Yes, Jesus came to save individual sinners, but he also came to save all people and all Creation, and he asks us to participate in this salvation.
It took me a couple years to finally track down an audiobook copy of Love Wins and listen too it. I found the book to be inspiring and would like to explore it more deeply in a future post, once I can set aside some time to reread it. I’d recommend that any curious Christian who hasn’t yet read Love Wins check it out. Even if you don’t agree with some of the things (or most of the things) Rob Bell says, I think he raises some much needed questions about what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ.
For now, I’ll leave you with another video of Rob Bell from PBS, which unfortunately won’t embed in this post. And remember, even if you don’t care for Bell, God is Love (1 John 4:7) and Christ admonishes us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31) for whatsoever we do to them we do unto Christ (Matthew 25:31-46).