Velvet Elvis

Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith; by Rob Bell. (zondervan)

This is a personal book, a discussion of what it means to be a Christian in the 21st Century. It’s authored by one of the most interesting young and upcoming preachers in the country, Rob Bell, pastor of the Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids MI.

The title is certainly refreshing and intriguing, but he doesn’t stop there….

His take is FRESH. His vocabulary is FRESH. His honesty is FRESH. Even the layout of this book is FRESH. It reads like a series of devotionals, or talks, or sermons. Ripe with illustrations and observations from his personal life. 

Bells’ first chapter, “Velvet Elvis” restates the case for Christianity to people who don’t know it, have dismissed it, or have grown tired and stale with it. You might call it a “call to seekers,” but somehow that’s demeaning, because I’m not a seeker, and neither likely are you having found your way here to this blog, and I am uplifted by Bell’s fresh descriptions.

The title is inspired by the actual black velvet painting of Elvis he has tucked away in his basement. Whoever “painted” that picture was creating a work of art for a time and a place. That time and place have now passed. Christianity, Bell says, is a lot like that painting. It is not static and artists paint it afresh for each new generation. “Velvet Elvis” is the work of one man trying to paint his picture of what it means to follow God.

In his second chapter, Rob makes an inspired analogy of how the church and the Bible is like jumping on a trampoline. And unlike so many illustrations in other books, you know Rob really did jump on that trampoline.

Since reading the book myself (twice now), I’ve also read a few reviews of the book. Most reviews are complimentary. But there are some of the old guard theologians and pastors who don’t like how Rob writes. And I can hear a couple of STODGY PASTORS I know who would think the same thing. They’re dismissive and say he’s “writing for the Gen X” crowd (as if that’s not a good thing). Or he’s a “lightweight.” Or they’re going to poo-poo him because he looks young and “with it”  …or that he is a new breed of *sniff* evangelical. And that’s why I want to highly recommend this book to the rest of you. God is speaking through Bell with a FRESH VOICE, and fresh voices aren’t always welcome in the church, but need to be heard.  This book comes from the heart and speaks with an honest, inquisitive, and spiritual voice.

Velvet Elvis is a book for pastors, teachers, adult study groups, and young Christians and for Christians who are looking for some fresh words.

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Here’s a direct link to the book on at a great price…

26345X: Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
By Rob Bell / ZondervanWe know there’s something more. We sense it, we feel it, and we want it. But how do we find it—a spirituality that stands up to the questions of an honest, searching mind?”This book is for those who need a fresh take on Jesus and what it means for us to live the kind of life he teaches us to live,” writes Rob Bell. “This pursuit of Jesus is leading us backward as much as forward … I am learning that what seems brand new is often just the discovery of something that has been there all along—it just got lost somewhere and it needs to be picked up, dusted off, and reclaimed.” Velvet Elvis offers original and refreshingly personal perspectives on what Christianity is really about.
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