CREDOS: Following God — I

It’s a giant thing that God is doing — and not just the forgiveness of individuals. It is the reconciliation of all things.”

Chances are you haven’t heard of Rob Bell. In 1999, he, his wife Kristen, and a group of friends started Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan because they wanted to create a community where God could be experienced in a non-traditional way. They didn’t know how to do it or what would happen. They just knew that they wanted to be part of a community where people loved coming, questions were welcomed and love abounded. The church grew from zero to 10,000 in less than two years and Bell has become a phenomenon.

Now, at age 34, Bell is taking the Mars Hill message national with “Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith,” his first book. 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.

Beliefnet spoke with him on after his book was officially published. As different as the pure white cover with small orange-and-gray lettering may be to book publishing, much of what is inside “Velvet Elvis” seems just as radical. —