Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Love Wins: The Best Review so Far

Yes, I'm still talking about it. This probably chagrins some of you--get over it. The journey Love Wins has sent me on has been incalculably rewarding to my faith. I wouldn't trade it for all the marbles in your collection. It has caused me to think and dig deeper than almost any other book I've ever read. It has introduced me to wonderful people, like NT Wright. It has given my mom and me the most thorough theological discussion we've had in years (and simultaneously knocked me off my theological high horse, "Crap," I thought to myself, "my mom knows a ton of crud I don't know about, gotta do even further catch up").

Anything that broadens your thinking is a great gift indeed. Listening can be dangerous, but I suggest there is no other way forward. I'm afraid of all of the ideas and philosophies my one-year-old will be bombarded with, but protectionism is not the ultimate answer. That will always be a failed strategy; informed engagement will be my weapon of choice (until I change my mind again, that is). I try to be a careful thinker, I haven't abandoned my tradition for whatever it is, and isn't, that Bell is advocating. Yet, like a poor but giddy teenage girl, I am trying the dress on very carefully, turning this way and that, seeing if it will work, pounding out the calculus in my brain to see if it is perfection, and therefore worth the cost. We won't ever know what perfection looks like in this life, but, to smash the metaphor, perhaps some of the better bits of the dress can be harvested and grafted onto the current thelogical garment I'm donning.

On to the point: If you've been paying attention you know that I am a big fan of David Dark. I remind you so that you know I'm biased on this one; of course I love his review, I'm in love with him. But I do think, my heterosexual crush not withstanding, that it merits my high praise. He does the best job of anyone I've seen so far of holding together Bell's take on God's mercy (love), just as much as God's justice (judgement). He reminds us that it's a point that's been lost in the shuffle, Bell is not getting rid of hell, so don't let your mind go there. I hear Dark picking up on Bell's cue and deepening what it means to be a Christian here on earth. I think that effort, more so than anything else, is Bell's biggest contribution, one that should be listened to by all Christians, and one that I have no problem whole-heartedly standing behind.

Here is the review, you should probably read it twice, lord knows I needed to.

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