Renowned author and emergent church pioneer Brian McLaren says it’s one of the most hopeful things he’s seeing in North American Christianity: a willingness from church leaders to (finally?) do things differently.
However, he says, despite this hope we’ve still got a very long way to go to claim our prophetic voice in a society increasingly defined by injustice to the poor and environmental abuse.
If you’re like me, and have found deep passion and clarity in some of Brian’s books, you too will appreciate his candor and quiet reverence for his work and his charge.
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Brian McLaren’s position as an important voice in modern Christianity is rooted in an honest ‘naked’ spirituality that understands that our ongoing job of repairing a broken world begins with a solid grounding in the faith. In this interview Brian gives us his take on where the church is, and is going – reminding us that the deepest conversions need to come from church leaders. Here are my notes:
Just as the Holy Spirit hovered over ‘the world,’ the domain of the Comforter may be the secular. Surveying the byproducts of our increasingly secular world, we see greater cooperation among many Christians as well as a deeper devotion and fervor to the urgency of the Gospel.
Get Out of the Office
A Christian leader’s job isn’t just to help those in the faith community, but in the entire community. Brian says today’s leaders need to make their roles as missioners to entire neighborhoods one of their biggest jobs.
Ministry for the Long Haul
Spiritual health is just one part of it – physical, mental, and relational health all matter in the long run. If you don’t have a spiritual director or soul partner, get one.
About Brian McLaren
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, public theologian, and one-time member of TIME magazine’s 25 Most Influential Evangelicals. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is an ecumenical global networker among innovative Christian leaders. He graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in English (BA, summa cum laude, 1978, and MA, in 1981). His academic interests included Medieval drama, Romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr. Walker Percy. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and in 2010, he received a second honorary doctorate, this one from Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal).
From 1978 to 1986, McLaren taught college English, and in 1982, he helped form Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region (crcc.org). He is primarily known, however, as a thinker and writer. His first book, The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix, (Zondervan, 1998, rev. ed. 2000) has been recognized as a primary portal into the current conversation about postmodern ministry. He has also written Finding Faith (Zondervan, 1999), More Ready Than You Realize, Adventures in Missing the Point, A Generous Orthodoxy, A New Kind of Christian won Christianity Today’s “Award of Merit, Emergence Christianity, The Story We Find Ourselves In, The Last Word and the Word After That, The Secret Message of Jesus, Everything Must Change, Finding Our Way Again, A New Kind of Christianity, and Naked Spirituality. He has taught or lectured at many seminaries and has served on a number of boards, including Emergent Village (emergentvillage.com), Sojourners (sojo.net), Mars Hill Graduate School (mhgs.edu), International Teams (iteams.org), and Off The Map (off-the-map.org), and he is a founding member of Red Letter Christians (redletterchristians.org).
Sponsors I Mentioned
Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest Episcopal Seminary in the U.S., forming men and women for leadership in the church. In addition to the MDiv, Anglican Studies and DMin degrees are their Masters of Arts degrees with a fous on Theological Studies, Christian Formation, Religion & Culture, and Biblical Interpretation. Check them out at vts.edu.