I just finished reading Rob Bell’s new book “Drops Like Stars”....I started it 15 minutes ago. Nah, just kidding...kinda. I’ve been a side hug fan of Rob Bell for awhile. I’ve read “Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith” and “Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile” but not “Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality” because I didn’t have a paper bag to bring it home in.
In general, I’ve enjoyed his fresh thoughts, contemporary perspective and hipster familiarity with pop culture and the earthy wisdom of the eastern yarmulke scribes. Rob was born August 23, 1970; I was hatched August 28, 1970...so we are nearly brothers, or at least we seem to see and speak a similar language.
I was looking forward to reading his new book and getting a chance to look at it, since it was famed to be a “artistic coffee-book”....which means, big pages, words and pictures and it turns out a bit pricey (between $20-35, depending on who, where and how you purchase it).
My first impression from looking at the outside was, hopeful; creative, aesthetically pleasing, well crafted. But once I looked inside...I was dissapointed. In fact, I began to be overtaken with slight angst.
First of all...a lot of the pictures seemed shot in a 1970’s World Book style; boring, dated, a slight amateur feel....kind of like a commercial advertising agency would put out. A few pictures were creative but in general nothing really stood out; except the extremely large shot of Michelangelo’s: “David”.
Second...it looked like the printer was having a special on, (I imagine) expensive, hard wood forest tree paper from the equatorial endangered rainforests...so they could print a few words per page and actually not print any words on many. I guess the profits from his last book, which hit the “Justice Button” quite a bit...missed the memo about conservation, consumption and environmental responsibility. I could build a house for a small rural farmer in Tibet with the empty, wing size pages in the back of this tomb. It just seemed to be a waste.
Third...the writing style and the format of the book; feels like a Christian version of Dr. Seuss to me. It’s simple, slightly rhythmic and only puts a few words on each page. I like my Green Eggs and Ham..but I like my theology and artistic missiology to be engaging on a more challenging level. This book’s tone at times felt saccharine, timid, mushy...in light of that...reach for his other books first.
I knew I was in trouble when halfway through the book...I seriously thought about taking it back for a refund. But, I knew I would be done reading it in another 7.5 minutes....so I continued...and I thought I might read it in the bathroom; and all good Seinfeld watchers know that you can’t return it after that....so I kept it.
In the end, I was uninspired.
As an artist...that disappointed me. In fact you can save your money and the forests and read this interview (http://www.patrolmag.com/arts/616/rob-bell-likes-his-art-chocolate) with Rob Bell...it’s far more engaging and insightful than the book.
But if you are looking for a book to put coffee on...this will make a nice addition...but it unfortunately, it has no fold out legs.