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LOVE WINS by Rob Bell

LOVE WINS

For Teens

By Rob Bell

Age Range: 13 - 18

Pub Date: March 5th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-222187-2
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Christian inspiration for dudes and dudettes. Hey, it’s not complicated: God has invited you to a party!

Distilling messages from his similarly titled book for adults (2011), Bell offers general attitudes for living a Christian life, rather than a specific set of rules, in a combination of prose, Q-and-A’s and occasional free verse. He repeatedly rejects the validity of any “system of sin management” imposed by “spiritual bullies” or organized religions that limit free questioning or envision God as anything but loving. He also acknowledges the lure of risky behavior (with an anecdote featuring his butt cheeks and a BB gun) and the natural confusion that arises from seeing evil in the world—but promises that the party has already started right here and that God’s love (which encompasses everyone, including atheists and non-Christians) is an open invitation to join the festivities. Using the parable of the Prodigal Son, he argues that it’s all a matter of what kind of personal stories we tell ourselves and also that “[h]ell is being at the party but refusing to join it.”

Easily digestible, a little glib, but reassuring: “God is there, / standing there in the driveway, / arms open, / ready to invite you in.” (Q&A with author; recommended reading) (Nonfiction. 13-18)