I did not originally plan on writing about the whole Rob Bell controversy, and I still don't plan to. I'll save that for after I have actually read the book.
I have written in the past, maybe rather ambiguously, about my thoughts on Heaven and Hell, and I will say that I am looking forward to Rob's book, "Love Wins, A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived" being delivered to my house.
Why am i looking forward to this book? For one, Bell writes very good books, I've read them all and have enjoyed them, but I am also excited because I think it will make the conversation about the after-life accessible, maybe bring it to the forefront, and I think that it's something that needs to happen.
As Rachel Held Evans wrote in her blog today, the conversation about heaven and Hell has been going on for some time, people are talking about it and questions are being asked.
I think it is sad that churches (not all churches, but many) have not been a place where these conversations can take place,but rather people are persuaded not to ask certain questions, for fear of being ostracized or even fired. I also think its sad that Christians are so quick to dismiss someone simply because they disagree with them theologically, but that's for another post.
I don't think it's any surprise to those who know me that over the past few years I have questioned many things about my faith, God, Christianity, the Bible, Jesus, and...well, you get the point, pretty much everything else... and I am still questioning. I hope i never stop.
And all my questioning began with my re-thinking of the doctrine of hell and eternal punishment. My curiosity/doubt/skepticism led me to study and put to test the things that I had been taught all my life, but had never really thought about.
It was and is a scary process, questioning/deconstructing some of the "central doctrinal" beliefs of my faith (especially when they all seem to unravel quite rapidly and whether I liked it or not) and I think this is one reason why people are so hostile to those they disagree with, because it challenges a system, something they hold dear to them but have never really thought much about, so many times, people really don't know why they believe what they believe... They just know that they are suppose to believe it.
But while it is scary, painful, and even has cost us friendships, I wouldn't have it any other way, for It's also liberating and refreshing beyond belief. And whether people believe me or not, i love God, Jesus, the bible, and even Christianity more than I ever have.
So I look forward to the conversations that will come from the book which, thanks to many critics, is already at #39 on amazon, a month before it even releases.
Grace and Peace,