There is no such thing as a perfect hero, because heroes are those who must sully themselves in order that the innocent may remain clean.
I think there are two reasons why Rob Bell mishandles the text. First, he's locked himself into a first century rabbinical method of interpreting the passage. He relies too much upon the rabbi/disciple relationship. His facination with rabbinic literature, it appears, gives him tunnel vision regarding the text. While I appreciate his method of exploring possible interpretations, I think he forgets that rabbinic tradition (most of the rabbis) missed the Messiah when He actually showed up. Second, Bell like most preachers, probably feels the pull to say something new and fresh, something novel that we've all missed in 2,000 years of church history. That's the problem with celebrity preaching. Similar to the entertainment industry, he has to be cuter or more clever than other performers in the market. I feel the same pull when preparing sermons. I have given into it as well.