Here I go. Watch me. I’m jumping onto the Love Wins Commentators Bandwagon. I have finished this media-frenzied, supposedly polarizing book and am now slyly inserting my review into a question-shaped post. And after I’ve said my peace, we can all stop talking about this whole Rob Bell/Love Wins thing.
It is what they’ve all been saying: Rob Bell stresses the importance of the love of God for all people while saying but not completely saying it is this love that will win all hearts in the end. Or at least he believes that is a possibility we can’t rule out. He also believes he’ll never know for sure and he’s ok with that (p. 115).
I apologize if I got to the point too quickly. I’ve never actually written a book review before. And I haven’t read all of the other reviews. I did read one by Relevant that I liked. And I of course read Donald Miller’s that I loved.
I have beef with this book, but I’m also in love with this book.
First, my beef with it: When I was writing my thesis in grad school, my supervisor often marked up my drafts with the word “unpack.” This meant a sentence or paragraph was too convoluted and he didn’t understand fully the point I was trying to make. Ironically, every place he marked with this word was a place in my thesis I myself didn’t understand. I thought I could fool him by making the language very poetic or by using big words. Really, I was too lazy to try and understand what I was needing to say in order to communicate it well. This resulted in my cutting out and rewriting large chunks of my thesis over the course of several months. I was the better for it. Rob Bell would be too. There are just so many sentences in Love Wins that sound lovely and well-written but I need them to be unpacked because I don’t fully understand what he’s trying to say, and I wonder if he doesn’t either. This greatly weakens what could otherwise be a strong argument. Basically, I need this book to be longer.
Now, my love affair with it: Bravo to someone who is asking questions; I’m obviously a fan of that. A faith not questioned is not a faith worth having. Rob Bell is wrestling in this book with scary issues we often don’t feel comfortable talking about, like the coexistence of God’s goodness and hell. Mostly I love this book because it has supplied me with Monday questions for my blog for the rest of the year, like
“How much do we allow our faith to depend on our spiritual leader’s?”
“What kind of Jesus are we teaching others about?”
“Is there a stopping place in the digging, where we have to surrender and confess that we’ll never know, or does God want us to keep kicking up the dirt?”