May 242011

Robert_Indiana_love Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell. I bought this book on Audible (Amazon’s audio book company) for several reasons. First of all, it was very high on the best-seller list in spirituality and secondly because the subject has always appealed to me. In fact I was in the middle of writing a piece on much the same subjects. I’m extremely glad I picked it up.

While I would approach the subject slightly differently than pastor Bell, this book will be appreciated by someone who wants to take a fairly conservative and orthodox view of the Bible and yet is troubled by the exclusivist teaching of some fundamentalist and evangelical branches of Christianity.

Using a good assortment of scriptures, historical notes, stories and excellent prose, Bell makes a Christian case for being at least OPEN to the ideas of a limited hell from which people can be redeemed, for eventual universal salvation, and the real presence of the kingdom of God in the here-and-now.

Love Wins

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I’ll give a brief example of his prose. After quoting a ream of scriptures to the effect that God desires the salvation of everyone, and that God’s purpose cannot be ultimately resisted, Bell summarizes like this:

Once again, God has a purpose. A desire. A goal. And God never stops pursuing it. Jesus tells a series of parables in Luke 15 about a woman who loses a coin, a shepherd who loses a sheep, and a father who loses a son. The stories aren’t ultimately about things and people being lost; the stories are about things and people being found. The God that Jesus teaches us about doesn’t give up until everything that was lost is found. This God simply doesn’t give up. Ever.

It’s true that Bell qualifies his points quite a bit, needing to walk a bit of a fine line to stay within the conservative biblical view. Still, his questions alone have been enough to make his book extremely popular, and extremely controversial. People who find exclusivist Christianity limiting but who still love Christianity feel quite liberated that someone has finally spoken to them. And plenty of people in the exclusivist branches of Christianity seem very threatened. And that’s probably a very good sign.

I’d highly recommend the book to Christians who’d like support for a more enlightened version of the Christian tradition, and for non-believers who could use an example of Christianity that isn’t all about sending other people to hell.


The picture below links to a short video intro on the book

Sep 142010

grass Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying by David Bach. Since my schedule has been very busy, I grabbed this little book from the library hoping I could read it in the time I had available. I was pleasantly surprised by the ideas and the quality of the presentation.

The premise of the book is to present ideas for changing various aspects of your life that will not only benefit the planet, but will also save (or make) money in the process. Bach is apparently best known as a financial expert – Start Late, Finish Rich being the title I’m most familiar with. It’s nice to see him put his expertise into the “green” arena, and his ideas are excellent.

After an initial section on assessing your impact on the planet, he’s grouped his ideas into such categories as transportation, energy use, water use, real estate, shopping, recycling, changes as a family, changes at work, and even making money in green investments and businesses. Every idea includes careful calculations on the exact amount of saving involved. For example, for $20 in basic non-toxic ingredients, you can replace the $600 a year that Americans typically spend on toxic cleaning products. Bring your lunch to work and save $2,250 a year, in addition to not creating a mountain of garbage from your discarded packaging from take-out.

If you want to sell green products, David has a list of companies ready for you. And, since you’re already online if your reading this, be sure and check out options for online bill paying and telecommuting – both saving money as well as helping the environment. David even shows you how to “green” your pets and children.

This is a nicely illustrated, short book of practical ideas that are well researched and easy to adopt. Why wouldn’t you try them out?

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