Today was an odd day in the blogosphere. It seemed like every third post that came through the reader had something to say, or linked to someone else who had something to say, about Rob Bell’s forthcoming book Love Wins, and whether or not Bell has placed himself beyond the pale by declaring himself to be a universalist (you can start here, if you like, and follow the link trails). Like nearly everyone else offering commentary on this book, I have not read it. The main reason for this is because the book hasn’t been released yet, which makes the hysteria around what it might say even more grimly amusing. It’s interesting to observe how threatening some people find even the possibility that Bell might not believe in a very specific conception of hell.
At any rate, while I would not technically call myself a universalist (even if at times I secretly hope that it’s true!), I have a strong suspicion that God’s mercy is much wider than ours often is. I like how Tomas Halík puts it in Patience with God:
Yes, to believe in a God we can’t see also means, at the very least, to hope that He is where we can’t see Him and often where we are absolutely convinced that He is not and could not be.