headlines! I hope you caught my sarcasm there. Bell has been, for some time, a popular and effective (to the degree that one can tell such things) Christian minister. His popularity stems from his Nooma videos, a series of theological and spiritual vignettes which are thoughtful and well produced. He is also the author of several popular level books on Christianity and popular culture.
His work is usually a bit provocative, and he can, at times, be considered a bit of an iconoclast (one firmly placed within evangelical orthodoxy). So what's all the hype about this time? I understand that in his new book, Bell promotes a version of theological universalism. For a good article on Bell's thought as well as the thought of his detractors... click here!
Frankly, I am not interested in this debate. I would rather meditate on scripture and the Church Fathers as well as a few modern theologians than engage a debate between Bell and Piper et al. So why am I even writing this post? When I read the CNN piece I was bothered by the use of TWITTER as a means of comment and dialogue with Bell on this issue. I mean it is, after all, a complicated issue.
Our world is a world of easy publishing and fast paced social media; is this the best place to dialogue concerning serious theological issues? I am afraid that social media (and even book publishing) offers us less than adequate forums for dialogue. I mean, can you even dialogue or have a meaningful remark in 140 characters? And aren't book publishers really in this to make a profit? It seems that theological dialogue is a bit impoverished because of the following reasons: modern forms of communication (or lack there of), speaking apart from rather than within a tradition (so we buck all authority), the desire for more options (capitalism has infiltrated faith), and the desire to have quick and easy answers.
Oddly, I am more concerned with the way people have interacted with Bell on Twitter than I am about that fact that he is now a supposed universalist. Um....but as my friend Clint Dickson reminds me, I am asking this question on a blog...can we have meaningful dialogue on a blog?
Too many questions, too little time. I guess, for now, I will avoid twitter as a place for prescriptive dialogue.