Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell on Amazon
repainting into a new reformation?
This book gives me a kick in the butt while affirming what I've been trying to tell other people and trying to convince myself for the past few years so I'm writing this review out of my head (literally, most likely) and heart.
In most ways Velvet Elvis is a book for outsiders. Just as a Velvetized Version of Elvis is an interpretive repainting, repainting the Church into a new look and new vision forms the basic idea behind this book. On page 11 Rob Bell mentions the picture the church of Martin Luther's day had been painting and presenting. Regarding these 21st century days, I know a lot about the picture the church has painted of itself and maybe even more so, the way outsiders to the church have viewed and interpreted that picture. Page 14: "What I do know is that this pursuit of Jesus is leading us backward as much as forward," evokes the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.
Maybe more than anything about this book, I love reading the same theological vision and scriptural interpretations as I hold (humility from humble moi) from Rob Bell, someone I'd consider a relative theological conservative.
Hospitality is God's first call to the people of God and fundamentally defines them. From the beginning, the uniqueness of the nascent church as it moved outward from Jerusalem was its radical inclusiveness and "see how they love one another." No one lacked anything; everyone had everything in common, a true common-wealth, as the New England Puritans initially believed they'd be able to live. But it was not only about embrace and provision for the already-insiders; the first Christians embraced and provided for everyone, making no distinctions whatsoever. The outsider became incarnate, enfleshed as one of them, becoming an insider.
As we've often observed, the old mainline now longer is the central or most prominent expression of Christianity in this country, and being a mainline protestant no longer is a given part of being American. Then there's that other use of mainline, to shoot a drug into your veins. Mainline a hit of Jesus straight into your veins, so the blood of Jesus courses through your entire being? Think about it!
repainting into a new reformation?—my amazon review