What We Talk About When We Talk About God // Rob Bell

Every time a book, movie, or interview by Rob Bell hits the free world for consumption, I must admit I am one of the first to digest it. His creativity and approachable tone infected me from the moment I saw “Rain,” the first Nooma DVD he released. Things changed rather abruptly for many Bell followers after the controversial “Love Wins” came out. It’s been a few years since the hyper-criticized book hit the shelves and caused an enormous shift in attitudes toward Bell, however,…

What We Talk About When We Talk About God is an enormous “win” for Bell! While it may not dismantle every person’s angst or opinion of the Sacred Ultimate, WWTABWWTAG brings to the table a beautiful discussion of who God is, or at the very least, what he believes the common consensus should be when regarding the infinite being.

Rob Bell takes from the scientific, artistic, poetic, philosophical, and biblical communities to share how God is FOR, WITH, and AHEAD of us. As an pentecostal-evangelical-protestant I was reminded of God’s goodness in creation, holding it all together, FOR our good. That God is not distant, watching, waiting, for the right moment to pop in (or to not) to save/heal/protect us; He is WITH us in each triumph and loss, joy and sorrow. The God WTAWWTAG is not stuck in the past with stone age morality, but is AHEAD of us, drawing us into greater peace, love, morality, understanding, wisdom, and fulfillment as the creation he designed.


While I did enjoy this book, there were two snags I encountered, that while didn’t ruin my reading, made me wanting more from Bell. The first was the lack of scripture behind his understanding of God. There were brief moments that alluded to portions of ancient Hebrew text, and I believe a part of Bell’s writing is to draw as many people in as possible (minimize biblical information is to minimize unbeliever/agnostic/atheist disinterest), but my desire would be his drawing out God from the scriptures more. The second snag was his lack of reference to Jesus as God. I can only remember a single reference to Him. Since in my, and Bell’s, faith tradition Jesus is part of God’s make up, I expected a little more inclusion to the Son of God. On the flip side, for the positive, there were a number of references to the Holy Spirit as a part of God. Bell refers to that part of the Triune God as ruach, the Hebraic term for God’s breath. Sharing how through God’s ruach, the world is held together.

WWTAWWTAG is a fun and inspiring read. I believe Bell addressed an important topic here, trying to expose that we all need to be on the same page when we refer to God. WWTAWWTAG is an easy weekend read that will stir up good conversation about the indescribable.

Bell get’s my Hi-Five! of approval.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jordan M says:

    What would be more off-putting to an atheist: biblical references in a pseudo-christian book, or reference to the triune God? I think Rob Bell tightrope walks between christian and atheist genres, probably smart, but confusing.

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