I’ve been reading “Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith,” by Rob Bell, and though it comes as a surprise to me, I’m very much enjoying it. Never one to read much Christian non-fiction, I’m finding myself caught up in it, as I’m also reading Anne Lamott’s “Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.” Reading books about Christian spirituality had never really appealed to me because I found most of them to be poorly written and/or boring. I didn’t want to read some “authority” claiming all this insight, when they were really just saying the same things everyone else was, but with a flashier cover. But I’m loving this growth spurt of Christian memoirs I’ve come across. Don Miller, Lauren Winner, Anne Lamott…good writers who’ve given me a story of their spirituality instead of distancing me with cold language and a Christ who is as stale and plastic as the communion wafers you struggle to swallow with a swig of grape juice.
Though “Velvet Elvis” isn’t a memoir, the title was interesting enough to at least make me want to take another look, and by the end of the preface, “welcome to my velvet elvis,” I was hooked. Bell compares exploring faith to the creation of art. If an artist decided that he’d painted the ultimate painting, the painting to end all paintings, the IT thing, and then announced for all other artists to simply quit because there was no more reason for further artwork, we’d think he was crazy (nevermind an arrogant, deluded, fool). Bell says that it’s the same way with our faith:
…I embrace the need to keep painting, to keep reforming. By this I do
not mean cosmetic, superficial, changes like better lights and music,
sharper graphics, and new methods with easy-to-follow-steps. I mean
theology: the beliefs about God, Jesus, the Bible, salvation, the future.
We must keep reforming the way the Christian faith is defined, lived, and
Sound a little dangerous? Exploration usually is. But is also sounds like an adventure and a mystery. There is so much of Christ to discover and keep discovering. I’d much rather live my faith as an Indian Jones-like adventure. How much more intriguing, and exciting, and wonderful is Christ as an adventure versus Christ as a plastic wafer narrowly passing for bread?