The other Rob Bell

March 10, 2011

Amid the apocalyptic to-do about Rob Bell possibly
considering an idea that other Christians have considered for centuries, Rachel
Held Evans had a fun idea: an
with another Rob Bell, a web designer in the U.K.

This Bell is not a
sometimes-controversial religious leader, but he's often mistaken for one--not
least because he beat the American megachurch pastor to the Twitter handle @robbell.
After Bell the pastor released his hell video, Bell the designer saw all hell
break loose on his Twitter feed. In a striking contrast to his Bible-wielding
attackers, this Bell--a universalist, but not the Christian kind--responded to
them with humor and grace.

Some highlights from Evans's

What sort of messages and mentions did you receive
the weekend your name was trending? What was the meanest, the post perplexing,
or the kindest?

The weirdest, before I
knew what was going on, was the multiple "Farewell @robbell"
messages. "I'm not going anywhere," thought I! Christians are a fairly
respectful bunch, I've found - no personal insults, just a few cries of
"heretic" and some denouncements.

. . . .

Do you know much about John Piper? 

I know he denounced me
accidentally, intending it to be [the] other Rob, but that's it. Someone asked
me to fight him, but I'm non-violent, so I asked a UFC fighter to be my

How do you feel about the fact that the other Rob
Bell claims to be the "real" Rob Bell? Can you make the case that YOU are
actually the real Rob Bell? 

I don't think he's
really claiming that he's the only real Rob Bell. He couldn't be robbell on
most websites because I'm already that everywhere, so he had to choose a
consistent name he could use everywhere. I bet someone advised him realrobbell
would be best. He's realrobbell on Twitter and Facebook, which works fine for
me. I get to be the Unreal Rob Bell, which sounds much cooler. 

. .
. .

What, if anything, have you've learned about
American evangelicalism through all of this? 

They don't look at
Twitter profiles before sending out @ messages, and they come in droves... :)

it all