Velvet Elvis Paperback – Aug 25 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., offers an innovative and intriguing, if uneven, first book. This introduction to the Christian faith is definitely outside the usual evangelical box. Bell wants to offer "a fresh take on Jesus"—a riff that begins with the assertion that Jesus wanted to "call people to live in tune with reality" and that he "had no use for religion." Bell invites seekers into a Christianity that has room for doubts (his church recently hosted an evening where doubters were invited to ask their hardest, most challenging questions). He mocks literalists whose faith seems to depend on a six-day creation, and one of his favorite people is a woman who turned up repeatedly at his church, only to tell him that she totally disagreed with his teachings. He cites his church as a place of forgiveness, mystery, community and transformation. Bell is well-versed in Jewish teachings and draws from rabbinic wisdom and stories freely. His casual, hip tone can grate at times, and his footnotes, instructing readers to drop everything and read the books that have influenced him, grow old. Still, this is faithful, creative Christianity, and Gen-Xers especially will find Bell a welcome guide to the Christian faith. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Joy, awe, raw honesty, and an appreciation for the mystery of faith permeate the pages.” (Christianity Today)
“Bell is at the forefront of a rethinking of Christianity in America.” (Time magazine)
“One of the country’s most influential evangelical pastors.” (New York Times)
“This is faithful, creative Christianity, and Gen-Xers especially will find Bell a welcome guide to the Christian faith.” (Publishers Weekly)
“One of the nation’s rock-star-popular young pastors.” (USA Today)
“Rob Bell is one of the hottest names in contemporary evangelical life.” (Boston Globe)
“Bell presents a fresh picture of Jesus for those who have trouble with the traditional portrait.” (Kansas City Star)
“A sensitive yet radical plea for simple Christian living.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
(Bell, Rob: Velvet Elvis, Zondervan, 2005. 194 Pages)
As a young adult, born and raised in the modern age, I instinctively understand that while God never changes, culture and time do. I've always wanted to explore and wrestle with my faith but felt like I wasn't allowed because the church always had the final word and that to question that was to question my `salvation'.
Rob Bell is all about questions. In his book Velvet Elvis he asks all the questions I've ever had but have never been able to articulate or ask myself. Just like Rob's painting of the Velvet Elvis is not the final or best picture of Elvis, so to is today's portrait of the church not the final rendition. It will keep changing and growing because it must.
If you've ever seen Rob Bell's NOOMA videos, he writes like he talks. Velvet Elvis is very readable, short lines and paragraphs make this book simple and user friendly.
His personal stories, vulnerability and use of humour help us to identify with Rob and makes the issues he tackles more real.
Rob is not irreverent. He challenges us to look beyond religion and asks why we believe the things we do. What does the Bible actually say? What was the context?
For instance did you know that nowhere in the Bible does Christ say to identify ourselves first and foremost as sinners? (Bell,139) And yet this is usually the beginning of every Salvation prayer. You will also not find in the Bible the phrase "inviting Jesus into your heart." (Bell, 109), whish is again another phrase that has become common place in Christian circles. We do need to acknowledge our sin and allow Jesus to work in our lives, but Rob explains to us that there's a bigger picture.Read more ›
Rob Bell does a good job of raising issues that Christians need to deal with, and some of his information is great. I really enjoyed some of the stuff he shared about Jewish rabbis and it shed new light on some of Jesus' actions in the gospels.
Unfortunately, I found the chapter titles and section headings to be useless. Yes, they were there and they delineated the text, but when I wanted to go back and reference something, I found it very difficult to remember if the chapter I wanted was "Jump" or "Yoke" or one of the others.
Moveover, his writing style bothered me.
It was disjointed.
It lacked flow.
I was frustrated.
(You get what I mean?)
Finally, (and this is my only non-trivial complaint) he made some claims that, when carefully considered, seem to be problematic. For example, Rob Bell claims that it doesn't matter if Mary wasn't a virgin when Jesus was born. I would submit to you that it does. His points about the meaning of the Greek words are true, but the angel clearly said to Joseph that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if you reject that Mary absolutely was a virgin, you are saying that the Bible might not be right in that one spot. If it's not right in even one spot, why should you trust any of it? Anyway, it just seems like he is unaware of the consequences of some of his ideas.
Most recent customer reviews
not as good as Love Wins but interesting nonetheless
rob bell is challenging traditional religious teachings all across the churchs
I like the book. It makes me think, and it makes my friends think. It has given us good opportunities for discussion and exploration about what faith really means to us. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2009 by Learning.
What good will it do if you mix truth and error, and present it to a child in the faith to feed on? Why are we doing this to the little ones in the faith ? Read morePublished on Oct. 5 2008 by A Voice
I agree with what Faithfulness said. The Christian Faith and our relationship with Christ must be living and capable to impact culture and not to be constantly impacted by culture. Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2008 by A Voice