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In reference to N. D. Wilson's review of Rob Bell's Love Wins ["Pensive Rabbits," July/August]: Could it be that when something strikes us as terribly "ugly," that thing is splattering against the Truth of God's image deep within us? I felt this recently when I took a tour of the Auschwitz concentration camp outside Krakow, Poland. I was in Krakow for a theology conference on the theme "What Is Life?" I learned more during that tour of Auschwitz than I did from any of the papers given during the conference (many of which were excellent). I suppose that, for Wilson, the visceral ugliness of Auschwitz doesn't convey any Truth at all. For my part, I think the bile I felt in my throat during my tour of Auschwitz was the image of God pressing against every cell in my body—literally, a "visceral" reaction, deep in my viscera—against the horror of the death camps. This is why I think Bell is entirely right to raise the "hippidy-hipster's" aesthetic "Really?" in response to the stories of Heaven and Hell we so often like to tell. I don't agree with all of Bell's answers, but he asks the right kind of questions.David W. Opderbeck
Seton Hall University School of Law
Director, Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
Livingston Baker Research Fellow
N. D. Wilson's sarcastic review represents not only a failure of imagination on his part but a failure of vision on the part of the editors of Books & Culture. Whether you like it or not, Bell's book represents the wave of the future, a generational shift, if you will, in evangelical Christianity, an opportunity to reimagine and revision so much of what has failed in American evangelicalism, and it deserved to be dealt with far more seriously, thoughtfully, and respectfully than you and Wilson have chosen to do.
I sat last summer with my niece, a young woman raised by my brother in a strict evangelical home, as she declared that she was no longer a Christian. I naturally raised my eyebrows at this, and when ...