Going to Hell with Rob Bell…

Originally published in the Grand Rapids Press, April 2, 2011

The very first cartoons I ever drew starred an angel and devil. I was about 8 years-old, and I can’t remember exactly why I found the whole heaven/hell concepts so fascinating. Part of it I’m sure was being raised a Roman Catholic with churches steeped with Renaissance-era art. Part of it was not ever having seen a newspaper-type cartoon with angels and devils, which appealed to my oddly innate need to always create something new. Part of it might have to do with definable characters writing their own lines — an angel that loses his temper or a devil with a kind soft spot — there is potential for funny there.

So I loved drawing this week’s cartoon. Perhaps a little disturbing to think of cartoon satan as an old friend, but let’s not analyze too much, shall we?

The backstory is that Rob Bell — a local but internationally known pastor from a church right here in Grandville (Mars Hill) — just had a book published called “Love Wins.” I haven’t read it yet, but I would like to at some point. So of course that allows me to make sweeping generalizations about the contents. (What? That’s what everybody else does!) A particular controversy about the book revolves around Pastor Bell’s thoughts about Hell. Who supposedly goes there? Why the fascination with it? Does it take focus away from Jesus’s central messages? Could Gandhi really be stuck there for eternity? Those sorts of things. Then — BOOM! — it blew up, as religious issues often do.

Next week: Guardian angels! (to keep things fair and balanced)

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