In my part of the world, when reporters for mainstream media venture into stories of Christian interest, they tend to get it wrong. How refreshing to read Kalefa Sanneh’s profile of Rob Bell and find all the right words used in all the right places. You couldn’t ask for more insider understanding, regardless of Sanneh’s perspective which, for the record, is not known to me.
The lengthy article in the November 26th issue of New Yorker is not available online if you’re not a subscriber; like me you need to venture to the proverbial newsstand to get a copy. Some of the profile covers what is old ground for most readers here: The history of Mars Hill Bible Church (Grand Rapids, MI) and the fallout from the book Love Wins.
There was some newer information, however.
Bell was reported to be working with Lost producer Carlton Cuse on a faith-oriented project called Stronger, for which ABC-TV had purchased rights. However, they failed to get approval to move to the next stage, shooting the pilot episode. Currently, they are working on a faith-themed talk show and have already done some tapings in Los Angeles.
There’s also some good coverage of CraftLab, a mini-conference Bell put together for a small group of 50 pastors in a motel conference room overlooking the Pacific Ocean, complete with surprise guests, surfing breaks and communion. Reading between the lines of the article, one senses that perhaps Bell misses pastoral ministry.
…Rob Bell is 42-years young, and while he may have fallen off the radar of a few over past months, he is not exactly down for the count; in fact, one suspects that anyone who bid him ‘farewell’ might have been a bit premature.