Nonfiction Review: Love Wins

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever LivedLove Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this at a time when I was having a struggle with organized religion. My faith and the so-called “Christian values” did not seem to align. I was increasingly troubled by the incongruent philosophies espoused by the religious right (e.g. pro-war, anti-climate change, ultra-capitalistic rhetoric). Love Wins is an eye-opening, if not downright shocking, reframing of what heaven and hell might be.

Best take away for me is that God is a constant redeemer, making it possible for you to be forgiven and forgiven without end. We sometimes choose to live in a hell of our own making because we run from the grace He extends. Another takeaway: If we are too focused on the the after-life, we may actually miss out on one of God’s best gifts.

“Often times when I meet atheists and we talk about the god they don’t believe in, we quickly discover that I don’t believe in that god either.”

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teaching my kids not to be thankful for jesus’ death

the gruesome and brutal death of an innocent man is something we’d never dream to talk about with or show our children beyond the context of religion. it’s unthinkable that we’d wear an electric chair around our neck or use that as an emblem of our faith, but that’s exactly what we’ve reduced the cross to. we’ve made it not only palatable, but of no visceral consequence. those gruesome realities have been neutered in our christian culture and reduced to clichés that we teach children who have no capacity to understand those things.

teaching my kids not to be thankful for jesus’ death

Boundless

I was thinking earlier about how privileged we are to be able to travel. We’re exposed to a lot of things, a lot of ways to live. And sometimes we witness beauty in ways we could have never imagined until seeing it for the very first time.

We as humans are self-limiting. Until we actually get a vision for ourselves (figuratively and literally) of what we’re after, it’s nearly impossible to attain. How do we know that we want something until we know it exists?

For ages, mankind has also defined God by his own limited perceptions. Denominations grew out of these various interpretations. Our beliefs are based on what we collectively know or accept to be true. But what we don’t know– the things we’ve never witnessed or experienced– those are the variables I’m interested in.

Our knowledge of God and Heaven is based on very limited information. Thus we ascribe a lot of human characteristics to a supernatural being that defies those limitations. Just as someone describes Heaven as having streets of gold because that opulence is what they want Heaven to be like, it could just as well be a peaceful boat ride down the river.

pompano beach 155

My idea of Heaven might be radically different from yours, and that’s ok. Yet there are many folks who believe in absolutes – I wonder why that is. After all, we confront new realities everyday, and very few constants.

The bottom line is that when I see something new for the first time as we travel, it reminds me that I must not limit God to my own human experience nor limit Heaven to what I’ve already seen.

This post is heavily influenced by the book I’m currently reading – Love Wins by Rob Bell. Requires a separate post.