I did this cartoon when Rob Bell first came out with Love Wins. I was amazed by how much press he got, including negative press. I thought of Bell and how much stress and strain that would cause a person.
Then he comes out with another book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, and he gets the same thing all over again. Not surprised. But it is still a fascinating subject for me observing all the activity around this.
Lots of people are talking about it, including Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Deborah Arca of Patheos, Christianity Today, Huffington Post and so many more. His announcement that he was supportive of same-sex marriage has only stirred the waters and attracted more attention.
But from a large bloc of the evangelical wing this seems to be the general consensus:
“Bell has chosen to find his spirituality in a Jesus of his own imagination.” (Timothy Tennent, president of Asbury Seminary)
… and, from an evangelical perspective, this is tantamount to idolatry.
What seems to be the deeper concern from such camps is that Bell promotes this idolatry. He’s not just an idolater but an evangelist of it that so many people are listening to.
Which leads to another interesting development. Some people who were vocal about Bell before are being silent about Bell now. Some, like Tony Jones, wonder if this is because they don’t want to draw attention to Bell’s book and increase sales like they did last time. There are lots of interesting political maneuvers at play.
But Bell’s a big boy. He understands that if you enter the public forum you expose yourself to every possible response and reaction out there.