In my mind, Rob Bell and Charlie Sheen have some things in common: Sheen is a total “rockstar from Mars,” and Bell is rockstar from Mars Hill. Beyond that, both are able to stir great masses of folk into a frothy frenzy with their words. In a way, Bell is the Sheen of the Evangelical world: conservative leaders are up in arms about the purported universalism in his upcoming book, Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived; likewise, the rest of the world is up in arms about Sheen’s crazy pronouncements from his orbiting HQ, otherwise known as “Sober Valley Lodge.”
What’s become readily apparent is that Sheen is indeed crazy–a victim of his celebrity, press, drug use, etc. In his words, he’s “special,” and “a normal brain can’t process me.” Now Bell, on the other hand, isn’t crazy, but crazy like a fox. It seems that no one else in Christian circles is better able to get people discussing the big questions than Bell. Love, or hate, him: people are talking about things of eternal consequence. That, I think, is a good thing. (Confession: I’ve never read any more Bell than the first couple chapters of Velvet Elvis).
Unfortunately, the storm left in the wake of Bell’s book trailer, and Justin Taylor’s blog post, is nothing so much as a tempest in a teapot compared to the press Charlie Sheen is getting. What’s incredibly sad to me that more people seem to care about the immediate fate of Two-And-A-Half Men, rather than the eventual fate of their souls.
One is just T.V., and the other eternity.
In the end, agree with either of these men (and their pronouncements), or not, the Christian response is: love. Love them where they’re at, and pray they grow where the Father wants them to. This may not change them, but can certainly change our hearts.
Tomorrow’s post, Contending For The Faith?, is something of a follow-up to this one. Much-obliged if you click through and read it, too.