Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rob Bell, Nooma, and the book Velvet Elvis

Hi, back on Wednesday blogging about Rob Bell in preparation for our book discussion of his book called Velvet Elvis.

Rob Bell will tell you his style is unorthodox. He planted a church by preaching through Leviticus. His teaching is a mix of images and personal stories and exegesis and some perspectives you probably haven't heard in church before. The message, however, is orthodox, biblical, and well informed by history. The whole package, Bell says, is subversive. Like Jesus.

Whatever it is, it works. It connects with crowds totaling 10,000 most weekends at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, the church 33-year-old Bell founded five years ago. It connects, we've seen, with students at his alma mater, Wheaton College, and emerging church leaders at national conferences, where Bell is likely to teach using a big chair, Jewish prayer shawl, or a live goat. "Animals, whatever. Whatever it takes," he says. "No rules." These days he's talking a lot about the rabbis.

The rabbis believe that the text is like a gem: the more you turn it the more the light refracts. I say, if it's the living word, then turn the gem.

"My friends tell me that I'm, like, classic ADD. That, of course, was already obvious," he says, and it shows in his writing, but whatever rabbit chases he is on it takes him to a point to bring the real, historical, present, and revolutionary Christ to this generation.

Rob Bell's wife, Kristen, told Christianity Today in a joint interview, "It's a cultural jump for our friends to come to church. It's a cultural jump for us, and we grew up in the church."

"This is not just the same old message with new methods," Rob says. "We're rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life. Legal metaphors for faith don't deliver a way of life. We grew up in churches where people knew the nine verses why we don't speak in tongues, but had never experienced the overwhelming presence of God."

When you read the book Velvet Elvis, you get this same language, same thoughts, and a pointing to the real, historical, present, and revolutionary Christ. Oh and by the way I am half way through. Some of the revgalblogpals readers are already done with the book. I have got to get going reading more.

Here is link to the Nooma Video Flame. (The embedding was disabled so you have to click on the link to see it.)


Sally said...

Interesting thoughts here Abi- thank you for sharing them. I keep reading bits of the book- then giving up... I'm not sure why, it will be good to see what everyone else thinks!

Singing Owl said...

I've got mine...must get reading! Ack!

Michael Krahn said...

Hey Abi,

I read the book and just finished writing a series on it that I think you'd be interested in.

Read and join in on the discussion at:

Michael Krahn