Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Review: A New Kind of Christianity

A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith by Brian McLaren

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
if you know anything about Brian McLaren you know that the church has a love/hate relationship with him. some are quick (too quick) to call him a heretic, while others view him to be the post-modern/emergent leader who will bring the church to the place it needs to be.

Brian McLaren is neither.

But his latest book A New Kind of Christianity is certain to further the divide between progressives and fundamentalists. that being said, it was and is a book that needed to be written.

I find myself trying really, really hard to not drink the kool-Aid when it comes to McLaren and the like. at first read, parts of A New Kind of Christianity found me giving thanks that someone had given a voice to the questions i have had wanted to discuss for quite some time. however - i try to remain fair, objective and level headed. letting his ideas fester in my soul appears to be the best solution. it keeps me balanced.

the controversy lies with his views on such things as 'how the Bible should be interpreted, is God violent, what is the Gospel, human sexuality (i.e. homosexuality), eschatology, relations with other religions.'

for the most part, McLaren conveys the gentl, humble spirit in this book (he has the same demeanor in person, i might add - having heard him speak and debate). But at times, he seems to get a little pompous. This, no doubt, irks those who dislike and disagree with him.

at other times in ANKOC, McLaren seems to be filling the pages with words, only he's not really saying anything.

I did take/make a lot of notes while reading. He brings up some things related to our Christian faith (and it's history) that should be looked at. Is our faith rooted more in Jesus or is it tainted with a Greco-Roman lens? I am thankful McLaren dares aske some questions like he has. too many Christians take the intricacies of the faith for granted. they overlook them - not knowing how there views may (or may not) be skewed by them.

i think this book deserves to be read - and more so, deserves to be discussed with civility. For too long, the church has decided to follow: pastors instead of Jesus; political parties instead of Jesus; war instead of peace; pride instead of humility; words instead of action; prosperity instead of helping the poor; serving self instead of serving others; status quo instead of useful change, etc. some in teh church appear to trust Paul's writings while neglecting Jesus' teachings.

You will not agree with everything McLaren writes - but don't fear his words and opinions. don't judge him - especially if you have not read his work. the church needs to diologue. and then it needs to act.

highlights from the book:
~looking at the narrative of the Old Testament and viewing how it relates to the New Testament.
~his in depth analysis of John 14:6
~how is a Christian to relate to a person of another faith?

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