My first brush with Rob Bell came in college, when I participated in a Bible Study centered around his NOOMA videos. My core group of friends fell totally in love with Bell’s down-to-earth approach to religion and spirituality, and Best Friend has followed him on Facebook for some time.
His message is delivered in a simple style, and it hit me—and my friends—like a brick to the head.
So as soon as Love Wins was available, I was in line to buy it.
The problem with religion
I’ve talked a little bit before about my dislike of organized religion, and I think that Love Wins is just the book for me.
And I know that I’m not alone: many people—of all ages, although I think young people are the majority—are extremely hesitant to consider themselves Christian when the only way they view Christ and God are as terrifying deities that have the power to send anyone to hell. Their souls quell at the idea of following a Jesus that religious nutjobs says is sending gays and killed soldiers to hell; they can’t imagine believing in a Jesus who would send an Atheist to hell, even though they were more “Christian” than supposed Christians.
I can’t imagine following that Jesus, either.
A book about community
Love Wins, as you might have guessed from the title, is a book that endeavors to answer the big questions: Who goes to heaven, and who goes to hell? Who decides to which place we go—it my decision or God’s? And if heaven is the goal, what is the point of here and now?
As with NOOMA, Love Wins is not something to be taken in in isolation; it’s a book that demands a Bible Study, or a good group of friends that comes together to discuss the points that Bell makes.
It would be really easy for me to quote every single word of the book, but I’d rather you buy it and give it a read yourself—preferably with several friends.
“…when people ask, ‘What will we do in heaven?’ one possible answer is to simply ask, ‘What do you love to do now that will go on in the world to come?’ ” (p. 47)
“He’s alive in death, but in profound torment, because he’s living with the realities of not properly dying the kind of death that actually leads a person into the only kind of life that’s worth living.” (p. 77)
“And to that,
that impulse, craving, yearning, longing, desire—
God says yes.
Yes, there is water for that thirst,
food for that hunger,
light for that darkness,
relief for that burden.
If we want hell,
if we want heaven, they are ours.” (p. 118)
“Life has never been about just ‘getting in.’ It’s about thriving in God’s good world. It’s stillness, peace, and that feeling of your soul being at rest, while at the same time it’s about asking things, learning things, creating things, and sharing it all with others who are finding the same kind of joy in the same good world.” (p. 179)