Rob Bell wraps up What We Talk About When We Talk About God with a chapter called “so” (there’s also an epilogue that’s about 2.5 pages long). The final chapter brings all of the points together and puts it in the context of life. We often live our lives in a very mechanical way especially in the western world. We’ve been told that this is all there is and we’re only a collection of atoms that form the human machine. We also tend live our lives in a divided world where there is sacred time and secular time. We go through a routine that sort of all blurs together and miss what is happening in our lives. Again, Rob Bell is trying to remind us that there is no differentiating between the sacred and secular. God is here, present in our lives and acting in our lives. He is trying to help us and pull us along in the right direction. We should not let our life become ordinary and routine. Bell argues that we need open our eyes that life is much deeper than we realize and that God is at work all around us.
This is the first time I’ve written more than one post on a single book. I’ve done this because I think there’s a lot to be said about this book. For the most part, I enjoyed it and would encourage you to read it. I think this book would be very approachable to someone who is new to talking about God or uneasy about religion. Rob Bell is a very good with words and very funny. His writing is approachable. This book would create great discussions. I think for people who are already Christians, this book will stretch you a little bit. I think we need to do more to recognize God in our daily lives and remember that God is for us. Also, I believe that if more Christians approached theology with the humility expressed in the third chapter (both), that there would be less fighting in Christian circles. When we recognize that God is beyond us then maybe we might relax and be more forgiving as we talk and try to understand who God is.
While I appreciate this book, there are also things about the book that make me uneasy. One is the science. I appreciate his love of science and find most of it interesting, but get a little uncomfortable how he spiritualizes some of it and describes how everything is interconnected. While he is certainly isn’t pantheistic, this feels like it’s dipping into some new age beliefs mixing quantum physics and spirituality (it reminded me of this). Second, and probably more importantly, I feels like Bell is drifting to a more open and accepting religion. I think tht there are times when we need to be stretched in our beliefs, when we need to realize that God is ahead of us and maybe we are wrong. At the same time, some of this book has the feel of leading to a more open faith where whatever you believe about God is alright as long as you're good. Bell doesn't say this, but they way he rights and speaks, it could certainly lead that way.
This is a good book. I suggest that you read it with a friend who is unsure about religion and let it open up some dialogues. I just think that we need to be cautious when venturing into some of the territory that Rob Bell explores.