I got one of my Christmas gifts early, which was Brian McLaren’s new book Everything Must Change. Before you rail against me for reading him, let me explain why I do. Plain and simple, I like some of what he has to say. A Generous Orthodoxy was a bit goofy at times, but even there, he had a valid point. As Christians, we do need to think about why we believe and act as we do. And, in some ways, we do need to rethink some of our dogmas.
In the second book of his that I read, The Secret Message of Jesus, I thought he made a wonderful point and had some very convicting things to say and made a very convincing argument for the fact that the Gospel is more than just how to get to heaven when we die. And, despite some people caricature of it, he does not claim to have some kind of secret knowledge into the Gospel that we don’t. What he is saying is that he thinks that the other facets of the Gospel message have been hidden for some long by the church that we don’t know they are there sometimes. In some sense, they are a secret that the church doesn’t want told.
And in his new book, he further expands on that idea by showing how and ways to make the Gospel incarnational. Thus far, I have really enjoyed this book. I am reading it as a devotional type thing. It’s not as meaty as The Secret Message of Jesus, but it is very thought provoking. Here is a quote from my reading of it today that I really liked. Feel free to discuss it.
More and more reflective Christian leaders are beginning to realize that for the millions of young adults who dropped out of their churches in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the Christian religion appears to be a failed religion…It has specialized in dealing with “spiritual needs” to the exclusion of physical and social needs. It has specialized in people’s destination in the afterlife but has failed to address significant social injustices in this life. It has focused on “me” and “my soul” and “my spiritual life” and “my eternal destiny,” but it has failed to address the dominant societal and global realities of their lifetime…
(Brian D. McLAren. Everything Must Change. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2007. 33)