Oprah finds Jesus. (OK not really… she finds Rob Bell)

Oprah’s new “Super Soulful” book of the month?

Rob Bell’s new suspense thriller “What We Talk About When We Talk About God”.

Oprah says:

Pastor Rob Bell is shaking up the way we think about God and religion. I love his new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God (HarperOne). When I first started reading it, I was highlighting my favorite passages, but then I realized—what’s the point? I’ve marked every page! It just wowed me. In the book, Bell explains that God is and always has been with us, for us, and ahead of us—and then explores how we can really absorb this knowledge into our everyday lives to become more connected to spirit.

What do you think about this?

I agree with Derek Rishmawy.  He says that we should actually READ THE BOOK and be ready to respond.

Many people will read the book because of Oprah’s recommendation.

Can we trust God that He will be a part of this?  (Especially before we criticize too much?!)

Derek writes:

This is why Christians ought to know something about the book. People read Oprah recommendations. They think about them and talk about them. That means a lot of people are going to be reading and thinking about Bell’s work, so we should should be ready to talk with them about it. As I wrote before:

…hopefully those who read the book and come away saying, “We will hear you again about this,” (Acts 17:32) manage to find churches who engage them just as well as Bell does, while pushing them towards even deeper, richer, more complex ways of talking about God.

So—and this goes especially for more conservative readers—before you jump all over your friend who’s excitedly reading Bell’s book because Oprah said great things about it, slow down. Wait a minute. Ask questions. Trust that Jesus can be at work here, even if you would have preferred that he use a different book. As Paul said, “Cling to what is good, hate what is evil” (Rom. 12:9). We might paraphrase him here: “Build on what is good, gently expose what isn’t so great.”

In other words, if you talk to your friend in a sane, open, and wise way about Bell, that person might later be ready for you to hand them something like Keller. Who knows what can happen?

Can I get an amen?


  • steve miller September 26, 2013 Reply

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    Rob Bell is in the difficult position of having written the highly criticized previous volume, Love Wins. As reviews rolled in Bell’s camp said basically, “Read the book before you criticize it. What people are saying the book says may not be what it actually says.”

    The biggest problem being the criticisms proved to be mostly correct and it was not a very edifying read. Maybe there is someone out there who is far from orthodox Christianity who may find Bell’s work a baby step in the right direction of spirituality as they explore a fledgling faith. Rob’s books are conversation starters but not substantive in providing spiritual nourishment.

    • Todd Rhoades September 26, 2013 Reply

      Agree, Steve. Never said their were substantive for spiritual nourishment.

      My big peeve when Love Wins or the other Bell titles is that Bell Bashers immediately started bashing based on what they’d heard rather than what they’d read. That was tragic.

      So… I would say… read the book and be informed.. so when someone asks you about it you can speak intelligently (rather than making it us as we go as most of us do).

      Personally, I enjoy reading the more ‘out there’ and controversial stuff from time to time. I don’t make a regular diet of it… but it helps keep me sharp and refine my own thinking.


      • steve miller September 26, 2013 Reply

        Well I read my fair share of fast food and zero nutrition filler books as well, stuff to pass the time when I’m winding down. It probably comes down to a balanced reading diet. I imagine, you Todd, read a ton of healthy heady books as the core of your literary diet.

        The biggest problem would be if someone read Bell’s newer books and made them their primary spiritual source for information. I think Rob wrote a terrific book in Velvet Elvis, Sex God was okay, and then I don’t know what happened to the dude.

  • Richard September 26, 2013 Reply

    I followed the link to Amazon and read the pages posted. Of course Oprah had lots to highlight…there isn’t much on each page. Bell has hit on something deep and profound, alright…how to get maximum $ for minimum content. As far as the reference to a time when people believed in a flat earth, was there ever really such a time? I grow weary of USA-Today Theology {or McTheology if that works} trumpeted as profound. Of course, I say this with all due respect, and a little bit of envy because I’m not on anyone’s best seller list.

  • Marty Boller September 26, 2013 Reply

    Jesus told His disciples…who were ready to tomahawk a poor dude who wasn’t part of the Jesus-party, but was still encouraging people toward God…”If he ain’t against us…let it be….” I kinda feel that way about Bell. God can take care of Himself. How about if we do with passion what God has us to do and spend less time pickin’ feathers off another bird. My 2 cents.

    • David Charlton September 30, 2013 Reply

      Great comment Marty!

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