If You Can Make It In SE Grand Rapids . . .

you can make it on Oprah.

After the initial battle over Love Wins died down, Bell seemed to disappear from the public eye. He left his Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids and headed out to California to work on TV projects.

The Rob Bell Show will premiere Dec. 21 on the Oprah Winfrey Network, a one-hour show that features Bell and is co-produced by him. He also recently toured the country with Winfrey on a Life You Want Weekend.

In many ways, some elements of typical evangelicalism are a good fit for Oprah’s lineup of public confession and personal transformation, said Kathryn Lofton, author of Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon. The difference, however, is that The Church of Oprah incorporates as many religious concepts as possible, while evangelicalism commits to exclusivity.

“I think an interesting way to think about Bell and Oprah here is to observe how easily she incorporates him into her pantheon of spiritual advisers. She remains, as ever, the determining corporate deity,” said Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Yale.

“One way of looking at this is less a merger of two equal powers than it is the acquisition by one large corporation of another small business.”

To be sure, Bell still holds his evangelical credentials, with degrees from Wheaton College and Fuller Theological Seminary. And like other leading evangelicals, he’s trying to stake out some ground on marriage.

Did I miss something? When did Oprah become hip?

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12 thoughts on “If You Can Make It In SE Grand Rapids . . .

  1. “Now, the man who built a church of an estimated 10,000 people isn’t even attending an organized church. Instead, he surfs the waves near Hollywood and has teamed up with the goddess of pop theology, Oprah Winfrey.”

    “Bell says he would conduct a same-sex ceremony, and he encourages churches to welcome gay members and allow them to be ordained. ‘This is a justice issue,’ Bell said. ‘We believe people should not be denied the right to have someone to journey with.’

    Uh-huh, yeah.

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  2. “Now, the man who built a church of an estimated 10,000 people isn’t even attending an organized church. Instead, he surfs the waves near Hollywood”

    Does he run into Tom on Sunday mornings?

    Like

  3. “Mark Driscoll is a good example of what happens when alpha male pastors go wild. Rob Bell is a perfect example of what happens when betas do likewise.”

    Like

  4. “She remains, as ever, the determining corporate deity,”

    I love that line. That’s our Oprah. A dash from this, a dash from that, a dash from this, etc

    Here’s a classic of the big O denying Christ’s exclusivity. Nothing’s changed.

    I know an ex-Wesleyan pastor who was ruined by Bell – just an hour from GR.

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  5. @DgH

    When did Oprah become hip?

    When Harry Reid in 2006 was searching for someone to beat Hillary in the 2008 primary she’s the one who stepped up with money behind the junior Senator from Illinois. I think she’s got the pull to get Rob Bell a larger audience.

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  6. Did I miss something? When did Oprah become hip?

    When we don’t know, but that it would happen, after the serial adulterer/whoremonger/plagiarizer liberal Christian socialist/communist MLK was deified, was a given.
    The new black moral supremacy reigns and Bell is only belatedly following the trend as is the wont of evangelicals> Only this time, not only is Oprah the correct color, she’s New Age to boot. What’s not to like for the yups?

    (Never fear, rhetorically we got’s our hands up, so don’t shoot because Chas Barkley will have some words for you. And it’s about time.)

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