Velvet Elvis

Everyone will want to buy and read Rob Bell’s new book, which I think is to appear in a week or two. It is called Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. Rob Bell is the kind of pastor I’m thankful for because it is these sorts who keep gospel hope alive among the sort of students I teach.

It is written in some kind of pomo techno style with all kinds of short sentences and new paragraphs, and it is not always easy to follow the logical flow (which probably means it doesn’t have one at that point), but he’s got plenty of good things to say about the nature of evangelism and community, the doctrine of Scripture as a missional/living text, an incredibly vulnerable story about his own burning out, some stuff on hell, environment, and he always has to talk somehow about Jesus and Jewish education about which, frankly, he’s not got his facts right: he’s imposed medieval educational practices on 1st century Galilee. (Sorry to be critical, but we don’t know much about 1st Century Galilean educational practices.)

Full of good, good stories.

And lots of short paragraphs.

Many of them one-liners.

But, overall a good read and one I think that my college kids will read and say, “I sooooo like Rob Bell, like he’s way cool. Me and my friends are gunna go up to Mars Hill some day to experience it.”

I hope they tell me about it when they get back, because Kris and I want to get there, too.

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  • I went to Wheaton with Rob Bell and our paths crossed many times. We both graduated in the same class. It was strange to see his face on the TV in a Christian bookstore I was in recently; one of his Nooma tapes was playing. He hasn’t changed very much in 13 years.The name of his book, Velvet Elvis is also the name of a song that the band he fronted at Wheaton, ‘ton bundle, used to play. It was probably their best song, too.Rob must have a velvet Elvis painting fixation.

  • I have been wetting my pants over this book!

  • Is it me, or is Rob Bell a really hip and quirky version of Ray Vander Laan?

  • ron is a hip and quirky version of vander lann. but he’s far more quirky than favorite conversation with him happened as we sat in adjascent stalls in the restroom at GRTS…

  • Doug Wilson

    Well worth checking his church’s website for their audio feeds of his sermons — free MP3 downloads (or RealPlayer streams . . . like you’ve got the time to waste for that!) of the past 12 weeks of messages are available at .

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  • In my sermon last Sunday, I shared Bell’s story from the end of Velvet Elvis about the preacher pretending to point out all the congregants whp prayed his salvation prayer. My point was to emphasize manipulative tactics designed to perpetuate the church as an institution by pastors willing to take advantage of the “all heads bowed, all eyes closed” moment.
    Four years later, Velvet Elvis still rocks. Thanks, Rob.
    Grace and peace.