Velvet Elvis: Repainting Christian Faith by Rob Bell Review

Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell

Christian faith has been written about to death. Even I have written a book on certain things regarding the Holy Bible. I read a lot about religions, and if you ever get to meet me, you can ask me about Mormonism, Zen Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witness, and much more. Religious ideas fascinate me, and I pursue education and spiritual solutions alongside many other topics. I do not stick to “one” topic at all, I focus on the larger constructs that come with an “infinite” possibility, rather than finite knowledge. I guess I’m odd, or maybe I’m just not Christian school material, since I was thrown out of the Lighthouse Christian Academy in the tenth grade. “Velvet Elvis” by Rob Bell is a book about framing Christianity in a new language, a modern solution that focuses on contemporary language. Some called Bell the leader of the emerging church, but I think he’s just another pastor that is trying to frame the gospel in a way that is accessible to the current public (Crouch, 2004).

This is not a book on systematic theology, it’s not meant to be. It is an accessible book that speaks to the modern Christian world, as much as the secular world. Bell focuses on what the bible says in exegetical formats and speaks to the original lingual style and focus overall. It gets boring, fast, and though Bell masks it with modern language, you can see that his goal is to convince others or affirm what others already have about the Christian faith.

Why read this book? Why did I pick this up? The reason why I picked this one up was because I had just finished reading a book by Erwin McManus. I appreciate the thoughts of modern pastors, but I had a hard time focusing on what Bell is selling. Everyone that writes a book on Christendom has a perspective that is supposed to convince you that it’s the one true way. There is a complacency in the writing, and something that I always felt uncomfortable with. When I sat in the pew, I always asked a lot of questions and still do. Bell reminds me of all the cool youth pastors that were trying to convince skateboarders in Santa Monica to believe in something other than punk rock, hardcore, and anarchy. I understand the goal, but the book uses an anecdote from the past to try and illustrate that we are all in need of a savior. The problem with books like this is that it tries to tell you it’s non-judgmental, all the while casting judgments.

I do not think that many people reading my thoughts are going to rush to buy this book, and why would they? I am not going to tell you to do that, unless you’re already a Christian or you want to read a book that is on the same lines of McManus, or other Christian writers.

I know too much about too many things.

I’ve said that statement a lot. The reason why, is because it’s true to me. I have been blessed to investigate a lot of different worlds and been invited into areas that most people don’t. Paul says to be all things to all men, so I have decided to say yes to a lot of things other people have said no to. That includes becoming a comfortable liar at times. It means not judging people regarding a variety of things that may be left of center. I’m so open minded, that the average person is closed to what I talk about, what I do, and who I do it with. There’s a dichotomy to belief systems that isn’t talked about in this book, and yet I remember it completely. Bell does good work, but in my own world, I can’t subscribe to the message he’s pushing. However, I don’t grow tired of reading books that speak to the nature of good, love, and peace. Isn’t that what Christendom was supposed to be about?

Maybe I heard it wrong, because I recall being condemned to hell at a Thanksgiving Dinner in 2010.

References

Crouch, A. (2004). The emergent mystique. Christianity Today48(11), 36-41.

“Velvet Elvis” by Rob Bell paperback/kindle/audiobook here

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