For many, this is just what everyone expected. In Evangelicalism, the name Oprah has been akin to the anti-Christ, new age, pagan faith. So the breaking news that Rob Bell has been teaming up with Oprah seems to be near the bottom of his "slippery slope"out of Christianity.
For others (like me), this is nothing short of awesome. Truth be told, I like Oprah (even though I have heard she's not a pleasant person one on one). Oprah has been, in a very real sense, a bridge-builder in the "secular" world. She brings together so many diverse voices and perspectives in her work and presents them to the world real and raw. I think we need more of that. Now I don't think Oprah is a good spiritual leader in any sense and think she has often overstepped her bounds by trying to be one. But of course that doesn't mean everything Oprah does in inherently evil. But I digress.
And as any reader will know, I have been a fan of Rob Bell for a long time as well and now that he is teaming with Oprah his platform for proclaiming the Good News has potential to increase significantly. This is an exciting partnership.
I was recently having an email exchange with Rob and he told me some "really exciting things" were coming. Now I am no prophet, but I would guess that Rob, who has been working to produce a spiritual talk-show is probably teaming up with Oprah and OWN to create something really special. That would be absolutely awesome.
Even if nothing comes from this, I can guarantee that the two hour interaction between Rob and Oprah is nothing short of fascinating. I am also encouraged that Oprah was so profoundly gripped by Robs new book What We Talk About When We Talk About God and has listed it on her Super Soul Sunday Book List. It is an amazing book that very clearly and simply points to Jesus and the new things he is up to in our world. I'm glad to see this get more press.
But I guess we'll all have to wait and see. In the mean time, Rob's interview with Oprah is due to release in early October on OWN.
On another note, Oprah asked Rob (and six other "spiritual leaders" including Anne Lamott) to identify one word that describes them. What did Rob pick?
Rob has always been a creative one so it's no surprise that he made up this word. But in all honesty, I cannot think of a better word to describe Rob Bell nor a better word to describe the reformation/movement that is taking place among Milennials. We don't want to be pigeon-holed. We don't want to be nailed down. While some of us may like label's, we almost unanimously agree that no single label can accurately describe our beliefs, values, or life posture. Rob is about 7 years too old to be considered a millennial, but he has always been a sort of prophet and seer into the future. I think his fascinating word will resonate with this generation more and more over the coming months. But that's just my brief reflection.
I don't know how he does it, but Rob still remains to be in the limelight with every new thing he does. I am excited to see how God continues to use Rob's passion for the Good News of the Risen Christ to build his Kingdom in the unique and quirky ways Rob Bell does.
Grace and Peace-