Love always wins.

Love Wins Rob BellTitle: Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
Author: Rob Bell
Genre: Non-Fiction – Spirituality
Publication Date: 2011

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.

Kick-ass Quotes:

“…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)

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6 Responses

  1. Wes Freaking Cain April 17, 2011 / 4:20 pm

    I was hoping you’d read/blog about this book! I’m glad you liked it, and I’m glad you picked up on the real message of it.

    Did you catch the typo in the last line of the book? After reading such an amazing book, it was hilarious to see it end thusly!

    • bookzilla April 17, 2011 / 4:34 pm

      Reading it made me desperately wish for our NOOMA Bible Study to come back. :) It was really hard to do a short review, because there were so many messages that really mean a lot to me, and make me think about how my faith is working (or not working, depending how you look at it). It would be a perfect book around which to set a Bible Study!

      No, I didn’t catch the typo, but I looked just now. That would drive me crazy if I were Bell! On one hand it sort of makes a serious, strong ending, less serious; but on the other hand it’s a perfect example of how we’re not perfect. And how God has an odd sense of humor. :p

      Thanks for stopping by, Wes! Have you preached on this book yet?

      • Wes Freaking Cain April 17, 2011 / 8:00 pm

        Oh my! I would absolutely love to get the NOOMA group back together and go over this book! I miss you and the rest of the group so much! We’d have had a wonderful conversation on this, too!

        I agree. If that were my book, that typo would literally drive me crazy. I think it is kind of neat, though, because it reminds readers that it is all about God, and not even Bell has it so down that his book is perfect.

        I haven’t preached on it, yet. Actually, I’m kind of worried to preach on it, given the book takes a number of stances against the doctrines of the Methodist church. Since I’m in the candidacy process, I’m slightly afraid of burning bridges by lifting it up…

        That being said, I’m 90% certain I’m doing a book study on it in the next few weeks…

    • bookzilla April 18, 2011 / 6:39 pm

      I don’t know enough about the Methodist church to know which aspects of Bell’s book go against the grain, but since he’s being called a heretic by a number of religious individuals, I’m not really surprised.

      Although I imagine some things would be difficult to preach on, I think the idea of heaven being here would make a nice sermon. How we all are doing our part to turn this earth into what God meant it to be. I also love that his answer to “What will we do in heaven?” is basically, “Well, what do you love doing now that lifts others up and makes the world better and more positive. I think it’ll be something like that.” That idea gives me a lot of comfort, because hanging around up in the sky in a white robe and a halo…well, seems pretty dull to me. :p

      If you do a study on it, you need to talk about it on the Flip-Flop Prophet blog, so I can participate vicariously! :D

  2. Susan Brehm April 17, 2011 / 6:57 pm

    This is a must read for me. I’m going to get a copy to take on the trip this summer. I’m sure I’ll want to make notes in it. :)
    We should start a Bible study class and this could be the first book. I think we should call the class Hot Topics, and talk about all the stuff no one wants to talk about. And doesn’t want us to talk about it either.

    • bookzilla April 18, 2011 / 6:42 pm

      I dog eared a lot of pages, but I didn’t scribble in the margins—I’d rather talk about it in a group with friends.

      We could do a whole Bible Study around Bell’s writings and teachings, actually. I’ve read his other book, Sex God (yea, it’s about that), and it’s got some good stuff that would make for great talks.

      And then can we read whatever text it is that talks about Jesus as a kid when he kills someone and Mary makes him resurrect him? :D

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