David Simon

Rob Bell: podcaster, bestselling author, performer and, yes, pastor

Rob Bell: podcaster, bestselling author, performer and, yes, pastor

Conjure up an image of a former mega-church pastor and you will almost certainly not envision Rob Bell.

Tall, slender and dressed with the casual hipness of a tech entrepreneur, Bell greets me in his airy West Hollywood home office looking less like your mother’s Sunday-service leader than he does Tony Hawk. (A limited-edition Dennis Busenitz skateboard deck mounted on the wall, as well as a multitude of neatly racked surfboards, add to the effect.)

“If I’m at a party, I’ll introduce myself as an author,” says Bell. “If I start with ‘I’m a spiritual teacher,’ people are like, ‘Get away from that guy,'” he...

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