Brokenhearted Theology, Contemp Culture, Future, Leadership, Meaning, Ministry, Ramblings

A New (Yorker) Audience for Rob Bell

Rob Bell has a profile in The New Yorker by columnist Kelefa Sanneh (interesting note about Sanneh: his father is a professor of history and world Christianity at Yale). I love reading The New Yorker because it has long articles that attempt to step away (at least a bit) from the sound-byte culture of our media culture.

The profile is called “The Hell-Raiser” and looks at the trajectory of Mars Hill leading to the post-Love Wins Rob Bell, characterized as a bit of a Rob Bell 2.0 (Tony Jones has a good follow-up to the article and the recent biography of Bell by James Wellman, asking if the evolution of Christian leaders is ‘allowed’ by the Christian culture).

The New Yorker tells of the journey from a conservative/pragmatist figurehead in the megachurch movement (“let’s do church in a new way”) to a more mystical, spiritual leader-who-doesn’t-want-to-be-a-leader (“let’s embrace the mystery of Jesus and follow this moving target”).

I talked with some family members who are long-time New Yorker readers about the article and they were fascinated by the story. Evangelicals tend to tune out those who choose different directions and traditions (e.g. Brian McLaren). After leaving Mars Hill for the non-pastor world, Rob Bell ceased being a leader in evangelical Christianity but I’m excited to see where his new post as a spiritual thinker in a much bigger pond will lead him.


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