- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (July 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780062197214
- ISBN-13: 978-0062197214
- ASIN: 0062197215
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (544 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith Paperback – Deckle Edge, July 24, 2012
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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)
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Top customer reviews
He addresses questions I've had ever since I was an adolescent. And he does so in a way that has never seemed patronizing or preachy—he's simply presenting his ideas.
I'm putting my name in this book and passing it around to friends and family. It will definitely be one that I read multiple times.
This book brought stories about Jesus into a completely new context for me. As someone who grew up learning the stories of the Gospels, it was refreshing to see a new light cast on these stories and how they can inform the way we live today.
I've heard OF Rob Bell, but had not to this point read any of his work. I think he's been described as one of those "Emerging Church" pastors.
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It still falls under my hesitation to read books by pastors, because they tend to ramble and not get to the point. Pastor Bell somewhat suffers from this and it got a little tedious at parts.
Rob Bell does have a good understanding of doubt and questions and how they fit into the Christian life. I also enjoyed his discussion on understanding the words of Jesus in the context of the culture in which they were originally written and recorded. Many of us 21st century American Evangelical Christians often speak of the Bible in terms of our culture and time context. I appreciate Rob Bell's attempt to discuss them in the proper context.
I also appreciated his discussion on sin, particularly one he committed as a mega-church pastor. I always wondered how those guys did it. He discussed how he came to the conclusion that he had to be a superpastor and why it was bad, but didn't really get into what he did to change things. Did he add more staff to the church? Cut down on commitments? I'm not sure.
Velvet Elvis is a decent discussion on the church and how interpretation of instructions can change through time. It's a short read. I should have been able to finish within 2 hours if not for being on vacation with my wife, stepson, and my own children. Took more like 24.
But I am confused. Bell thinks of himself as an evangelical, but clearly he is not of the conservative evangelical variety so often associated with that word today. Instead, he is a rip-roaring new age evangelical and as such, his ideas may not sound familiar or reinforce the readers' beliefs. Instead, readers have to stop, think and debate themselves about Bell's concepts.
I personally love Bell's style and his approach to faith. When Velvet Elvis was released it was new, fresh, and refreshing to read. He presented ideas that had been around for a long time, but never out of the evangelical camp. If you've ever grown tired of Christianity or struggled to recognize its relevance for today, give Velvet Elvis a read.
Bell mentions from the get-go that he is just another voice amongst many voices attempting to speak about a God that is beyond language and comprehension. It is this humility and self-awareness that lends an authentic voice to his writings.