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Velvet Elvis - A Masterpiece
on 18 August 2006
If Rob Bell didn't exist I would have to invent him, as an imaginary friend, or something like that. You see, when you begin to wonder about whether the Christianity your church practices is really what God had in mind, when you start asking tough questions about your faith, you can quickly find yourself in a very lonely place. When about a year ago I came across the ideas of Rob Bell I had just about resigned myself to thinking I was the only one feeling like this - some kind of failure or freak. Rob's material helped me to see that my questions are not simply allowable, they are essential to an authentic Christian life.
Velvet Elvis is like a portal connecting the world Jesus walked with the world we walk. But Rob does so much more than demonstrate the depth of his commitment to studying ancient Jewish culture and history, he shows he is vitally connected to the here and now too. As the past and the present are brought together the future starts making spectacular sense. In many ways this is the book that Steve Chalke probably wanted to write but ended up with 'The Lost Message of Jesus' instead (which is good but not a patch on this). I really can't commend this book highly enough without resorting to superlatives but which one do I pick? Maybe the biggest complement I can pay is to say I think 'The King' would dig this book - I can just imagine him wobbling around the Jungle Lounge at Graceland turning the pages with frequent shouts of 'Uh-HUH!' (the book is absolutely nothing to do with Elvis by the way).
Before I leave you with a quote I need to give this book a health warning, or faith warning if you like. If you like your Christianity neat and tidy this will probably wreck your internal feng shui big time, so stay away! ;-)
"Central to the Christian experience is the art of questioning God. Not belligerent, arrogant questions that have no respect for our Maker, but naked, honest, vulnerable, raw questions arising out of the awe that comes from engaging the living God.
This type of questioning frees us. Frees us from having it all figured out. Frees us from having answers to everything. Frees us from having to be right. It allows us to have moments when we come to the end of our ability to comprehend. Moments when the silence is enough."