by Rob Bell
Finally, in at number ten, the ever-controversial, "Love Wins." Honestly, I had to laugh when I put this on my list, had it not been for the meteoric rise of this book on the wave of criticism that preceded it, I'm quite sure I'd not have read it this year. There were other books that would have likely garnered my attention first. As you can see from the other books mentioned here, I don't base my reading primarily on what's new.
After reading it, I also believe had it not been for the haters, I doubt this book would have created much of a stir at all. First of all, comparing it to other things Rob Bell has written and said, it's not dramatically new. In reading Velvet Elvis after this, I could see clearly shades of where this came from. Furthermore, it's really short! Not to judge a book by it's heft, but this is a very short book and the ideas that he presented could benefit from greater depth. In fact, that is my main criticism of the book. As a skilled and savvy communicator, I know Rob knew he was treading very close to ground that would surely create a stir. In doing so with such little depth of explanation he didn't do his position any favors. He also, perhaps, didn't give the topic the respect it deserves. That's why it comes in at the bottom of my list.
So, why does Love Wins make my list at all? Simply this. I respect the place people like Rob Bell have in the church. In every branch of Christianity there are those who seem all to anxious to sever the other branches from the tree, but that is not God's design. HE is the vine, WE are the branches. He is also the gardener and retains the right to do the pruning. Rob Bell is an important voice in a emerging chorus from within the evangelical church that is bringing important issues to light and helping push the church in directions it wouldn't otherwise go. They are not always right, but neither is anyone else. I have complete faith in the power of the Holy Spirit to sort out our little differences. Far too many people see the fact God does not change to meaning the church shouldn't either. But the church is God's people, who He made, and who DO change. It's only natural then that as His Kingdom is restored in us and His ever-changing creation, there's going to be a lot of change. I say bring it on!