Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Review: Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell.

Using the painting metaphor set up by pastor Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis, people will see different aspects in this book as they do when viewing a painting or artwork.

In other words, there's something for everyone here. Some will hate what they see. Some will love it. Calvinists will find some solace. Social gospel-teers will find support too. Orthodox and heterodox will both be emboldened.

It all depends on one's vantage point. Or interpretation. As Bell writes: "[T]he Bible is open-ended. It has to be interpreted.... It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says." (Emphasis in original.)

From my perspective, I enjoyed the different ways Bell looks at things that have become very familiar. For example, Bell observes that the first time John mentions "love" in his gospel is John 3:16 (God giving His Son), which correlates to the first time love's mentioned in Genesis (chapter 22 recording Abraham's attempted offering of his son Isaac).

Likewise, Bell's ideas about church are idiosyncratic. He eshews any kind of "church marketing" and even wants signage removed. "You can't put a sign out front, I argued; people have to want to find us. And so there were no advertisements, no flyers, no promotions, and no signs. The thought of the word church and the word marketing in the same sentence makes me sick." (Emphases in original.)

One should approach this book with an open mind. You might discover things that you hadn't seen before in the Bible or the Church. As I did.

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