- He makes me love the Bible. Despite being a Christian for basically my whole life, I don't really like the Bible that much. It's confusing and contradicts itself; it's old and hard to understand. Bell's passion for the Bible and his scholarly approach is infectious and leaves me wanting to know more.
- He makes me understand my parents a little bit better. Growing up, they watched Billy Graham (one of Bell's heroes) on TV all the time, and I thought those crusades were the most boring thing ever. Maybe to them, Graham is like Bell is to me: they both gave Christianity a modern, progressive voice (but to different generations?). Maybe they're both revolutionary
- He hold my attention. As much as I love my pastor, sometimes, If he speaks for more than 15-20 minutes, he loses me. I listened to Bell for 100 minutes, and would have stuck around for 100 more if I could.
- He makes me believe. While he's speaking, the doubt melts away and it all makes sense.
- He makes me want to act. He's very focused on the facts that we're God's plan for redemption of the world and that Jesus said the kingdom of God is here and now.
- He makes me see the connections. Between the old and new testament. Between the words of the bible and what they call us to. Between God and man.
- He makes me unashamed. He's not trying to pass off bad news as the Good News. He's not trying to convince people not to doubt something that no one can be sure of. He was very clear Thursday night that he thinks it is intellectually sound to look around and say "Yep, this is all there is." But it's equally sound to believe that there is more. That is the message of Genesis 1, and the message of Jesus. There is more to life than we see. God created us because that's what he does, he creates and loves and redeems. And to believe that gives us hope for this life, and maybe even something more.
Update 7/31: Here is another good article on the tour from the Detroit Free Press