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McLaren Releases ‘A New Kind of Christianity’

by Jay Gary, PhD, Feb 9, 2010

Today is the release date for Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity. Yesterday I purchased a ‘kindle’ copy and it showed up right on schedule this morning. I did a quick browse through this past hour–I will give it much more attention and study.

But right away I can say that this book, if we let it, will serve as a guide for a new kind of conversation. Rather than divide both traditional and emergent views, this book offers ten seminal questions, we all have and should be talking about, in an open manner (yes with C-Span cameras on). Here are McLaren’s ‘ten questions that are transforming the faith’:

1. The narrative question: What is the overarching story of the Bible?
2. The authority question: How should the Bible be understood?
3. The God question: Is God violent?
4. The Jesus question: Who is Jesus and why is he important?
5. The gospel question: What is the gospel?
6. The church question: What do we do about the church?
7. The sex question: Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting over it?
8. The future question: Can we find a better way of viewing the future?
9. The pluralism question: How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?
10. The what-do-we-do-now question: How can we translate our quest into action?

I am sure some will not pick up A New Kind of Christianity based on some fragment they hear. It will be their loss. This will benefit anyone who takes it in thoughtfully, whether religious or not, and discusses it with others, whether face-to-face or online.

This is McLaren, as I read him, in his most accessible manner, with openness to the lay reader, plus more sophisticated ’emergent’ and ‘traditional’ colleagues.

Like you, I have friends who frown on McLaren, who as an author first did theology through narrative. Fine. But that is no excuse not to engage him now, particularly the 11th question:

11. The courage question: ‘Do we have the courage to continue the conversation that McLaren started?’
(ok, I slipped that in)

I hope you will answer Yes. You don’t have to agree with McLaren to engage the future that we all are called to create–together.

See part 2 of this blog entry.

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