In honor of the greatest movies critics the world has ever known (that would be Siskel & Ebert for you young folks), I am giving “two thumbs up” to Rob Bell and his news of going Hollywood to help create a new TV show on ABC called Stronger. [click here for RSS readers]
Most of us are familiar with Rob Bell and his book, Love Wins, which was the single reason why Christian bloggers saw a huge spike in their readership this past February. I won’t lie. I jumped on the bandwagon and wrote an entry entitled – What the Hell? – and got 1,329,143,143 hits on that post.
And just last week, Rob Bell got more attention when he announced his resignation from his church, Mars Hill. I’m not linking to MH’s press release out of fear that it’ll crash their website again. My blog has that much power.
And like that fated incident when people were reviewing his book, Love Wins, without actually reading the book, I thought it was comical that people were
criticizing, condemning, commenting on the reasons why he was stepping down from full-time pastorate
But now we know:
Rob Bell is indeed going Hollywood.
According to the news via Deadline:
Carlton Cuse (Executive Producer of Lost) has teamed with author/pastor Rob Bell for Stronger, a drama project with spiritual overtones, which has been sold to ABC via ABC Studios in a hefty script deal. Stronger, which the former Lost co-show runner and the founder of Michigan’s Mars Hill Bible Church are co-writing and executive producing, revolves around Tom Stronger, a musician and teacher, and his spiritual journey as he becomes a benefactor and guide to others. Music is expected to be a big part of the show, which features autobiographical elements as Bell is a former musician and played with rock/gospel bands in the 1990s.
For the record, I think they’re making a mistake with the title of the show. They should call it “Found.”
Boom. I’m brilliant.
Anyways, my early take: Two thumbs up.
Here’s 3 reasons why I give it two thumbs up:
Enjoyed Lost. And Carlton Cuse was the executive producer of Lost. I didn’t watch every single episode like my crazy maniac friend, Chris Seay (who actually wrote a book entitled, The Gospel According to Lost), but I marveled at the way it encouraged dialogue about spirituality, faith, and hope.
And last time I checked, dialogue and conversation – especially in a marketplace of ideas and philosophies – are a great thing.
I will knock you out if you say that Lost was the most demonic TV show – ever – like ever – in history.
2. Create. a. Better. Story.
We love to knock on Hollywood and all that “junk” it creates and blah blah blah. I certainly do. We criticize and then wonder why Christians can’t create compelling art blah blah blah.
Boom. Here’s an attempt: Kudos to Rob Bell in helping create a different story. Hopefully, a story that artistically, beautifully, creatively, mysteriously…points to the One.
While it’s very different (and challenging), I very much appreciate the opportunity to speak to and at “non-Christian” venues and conferences. While the content is different from what I would preach at my church and at Christian conferences, I always hope and pray that in sharing my story and “presentation”, many might be fascinated by my Master. It’s for that reason that I’ll be at Chicago this Saturday to speak at TEDxHanRiver. Say a prayer for this brother.
3. Our calling is bigger than being a pastor.
I want to respond – in part – to those that have half criticized Rob Bell for “leaving ministry.”
Who’s leaving? He said that?
As if ministry can only take place in ministry? As if only pastors in the church can engage in ministry? Whah?
It’s not that I support pastors leaving the pastorate altogether. I would hope that anyone and everyone – on some committed level – would be part of a local church. This isn’t just for pastors but for everyone.
But I think we can also celebrate the reality that everyone has multiple gifts within a larger calling to participate and advance the Kingdom of God.
Meaning, for pastors, our lives are not solely and exclusively contained in totality in our “work” or “calling” as a pastor.
Meaning, I hope our lives are more than just our calling to be a pastor but in being alive, we participate holistically in all the Kingdom of God is about and the Spirit is doing to advance the Kingdom.
Even if that means going to Hollywood.
What do you think?
* Hey Rob: I was a theater major in college. I’m good. Text me. TTYL. ~ Your BFF
* And for the record, I love my church but I’m just going to say it very clearly. If an NBA team calls me to play point guard for them, I’m gone. Just saying.
Here’s the full story:
Carlton Cuse has teamed with author/pastor Rob Bell forStronger, a drama project with spiritual overtones, which has been sold to ABC via ABC Studios in a hefty script deal.Stronger, which the former Lostco-showrunner and the founder of Michigan’s Mars Hill Bible Church are co-writing and executive producing, revolves around Tom Stronger, a musician and teacher, and his spiritual journey as he becomes a benefactor and guide to others. Music is expected to be a big part of the show, which features autobiographical elements as Bell is a former musician and played with rock/gospel bands in the 1990s.
Cuse and Bell met at the 2011 Time 100 gala — Bell was a 2011 honoree and Cuse had been on the magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2010. The two immediately hit it off and soon concocted the idea for Stronger. While spiritual, Stronger won’t be supernatural. It will touch on the spiritual side of people’s lives much like the final season of Lost did and like Bell has done in his career as a pastor speaking to congregations of more than 10,000. Bell last week announced that he will be leaving the Mars Hill Bible Church in December to move with his family to Los Angeles. The series with Cuse is one of many things Bell plans to pursue, including touring and writing more books. (His most recent tome, Love Wins, is currently on the New York Times bestseller list.) Bell’s expertise is expected to add authenticity to the project, which won’t be straight and square like previous spiritual network offerings, including Touched By An Angel and 7th Heaven, and is also expected to feature a healthy dose of humor. Because the genre is missing from TV at moment, the networks have pursued projects with spiritual elements. Marc Cherry’s Hallelujah was picked up to pilot at ABC last season and is currently being redeveloped. In addition to Stronger, Cuse has another project, Civil War drama Point of Honor, in development at ABC. Co-written by Cuse and Randall Wallace, Point of Honor was sold late last year and remains in consideration. On the feature side, WME-repped Cuse is writing an African action adventure movie for 20th Century Fox with Shawn Levy attached to direct and Hugh Jackman to star.