The other day someone told me that as they were reading my latest book they had a problem because they could hear me speaking it as they read. 'So what's the problem?' I asked.
'Could you go a bit faster, I speed-read?'
Rob Bell is a verbal communicator. Those familiar with his podcasts from Mars Hill Bible Church or the Nooma DVD series will know how he speaks.
He has got round the problem by writing in a spoken style.
Lots of short sentences and white space on a page.
Prose that looks like poetry. And sounds like it sometimes too.
Some paragraphs of but a single word.
Slows you down doesn't it?
Love Wins is about the story we have told about death and judgement. Is talking of an eternal damnation in the fiery flames of hell the best way to get an invite to dinner?
In passing he offers a brilliant three page essay on models of the atonement and, if you'll excuse me, nails the myth that substitutionary is the only brand on sale. He looks at the hells on earth which we ought to do something about now rather than waiting for God in heaven. And he unpacks the rich man's attitude problem towards Lazarus even after death.
And in passing there is a definition of church I will certainly use many times in the future.
Love Wins is just a title, not a complete theology. But damned to hell hasn't been working for us recently so a rebranding ain't all bad.
Compulsory reading for all Christian thinkers, I think.