(Photo: Facebook/Rob Bell)
Former Mars Hill Bible Church pastor Rob Bell has released a trailer and tour dates for his new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, in which the Christian author and minister does for God "what he did for heaven and hell in Love Wins," according to the publisher.
"I think there are a lot of people in our culture who can't do the God sort of belief system or the idea. So there's this very, very popular movement that essentially says 'this is all there is,'" Bell says in the trailer shared online Tuesday. "The problem is, for lots and lots of people that doesn't work. Because your kid is born, or you hear that piece of music or you find yourself in the middle of some natural wonder and you're like 'I find it hard to believe this is all there is, there's nothing else.'"
According to HarperOne, Bell explains in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love why "both culture and the church resist talking about God, and shows how we can reconnect with the God who is pulling us forward into a better future."
The new book will "challenge everything you think you know about God," the publisher adds.
In explaining the main point of What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Bell says in the book trailer, "God is not behind us dragging us backwards into some primitive, regressive state. God has always been ahead of us pulling us forward, into greater and greater peace, integration, wholeness and love."
The first city scheduled in Bell's book tour is Grand Rapids, Mich., just minutes away from where the author used to lead Mars Hill Bible Church, the congregation he founded in 1999.
In a November feature with The New Yorker, Bell revealed that he ultimately left Mars Hill Bible Church due to fallout over his 2011 book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, in which the minister questioned traditional evangelical Christian teachings on a literal and eternal hell and the need to believe in Jesus as a savior to get to heaven.
In addition to winning praise and landing on The New York Times Best Seller List, Love Wins inspired numerous critical responses from evangelical Christian leaders such as Francis Chan (Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up) and Mark Galli (God Wins: Heaven, Hell, and Why the Good News Is Better than Love Wins) who questioned Bell's theological tactics in Love Wins.
Additionally, the controversy surrounding Bell's book resulted in 3,000 members leaving Mars Hill Bible Church. The tension eventually forced Bell and his wife to split from the congregation. The couple moved to California last year, where the former church leader has since been holding seminars, working on producing a "faith-inflected talk show" and searching "for a more forgiving faith," as he told The New Yorker.
The Christian author and minister has previously insisted that he was not looking for controversy when he sat down to write Love Wins.
"My interest is in what's true and where is the life and where is the heart and what inspires. And if that happens to stir up a few things, that's something I accept," he said.
Bell makes a similar statement in the trailer in which he explains his writing process for What We Talk About When We Talk About God.
"It doesn't matter who's going to read this or like this or not like this, it's all totally irrelevant," he explains. "The only thing that matters is that you know that you are here to make this, so your feet get planted under the table and you start typing."
Other stops in Bell's book tour include: Brooklyn, N.Y.; Nashville, Tenn.; San Francisco, Berkley and Los Angles, Calif.; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Beaverton, Ore.; and Seattle, Wash.
What We Talk About When We Talk About God will be available March 12, 2013.