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Controversial Brian McLaren on “Everything Must Change”

March 19, 2011

I re-read McLaren’s Everything Must Change recently, it having been a long time since I’d first read it, or most of it (I still don’t know which).  This time I wanted to pay closer attention, knowing he is a careful and systematic thinker (tho it doesn’t always appear so in some of his work). I’m hoping to soon get to his A New Kind of Christianity and Naked Spirituality also, to see the ongoing development.  My angle of perspective is no longer as a questioning Evangelical, but from a more “Process God” point of view.  I remain intrigued by what happened in the first century religiously/spiritually, and that I have gained cool insights on via much study, though even deeper questions keep emerging (ain’t it always so?). This is relevant to McLaren’s refreshing, controversial Kingdom analysis and emphasis, so…. 

Back to mini-review!: I don’t view McLaren as any longer “Evangelical” but perhaps the writer best positioned in “the middle” or on some kind of “no man’s land” between Evangelicals/conservatives and Progressives/liberals in what is still largely two warring camps (unfortunately).  This is what shows up strongly in Everything Must Change, and in important ways, I feel.

The implications of what he is saying go to everything from individual actions and lifestyle to political systems, economic and military ones, etc.  In one sense, his good explanation of systems and the exposure of the good and evil of virtually all systems from religious to political to personal (the arrangement of my personal habits, for example) is basic and no longer “news.” In another sense, it is vital to be included in such a topic as the nature and potential reach of the Kingdom of God as McLaren (or any of us) sees it.  Vital because it is the nature of how things “work,” and because so few people either see this clearly, or account properly for it in how they vote, take direct action re. legislation, intervention for the poor or oppressed, etc. 

The conclusion of this (and much more positive I could say about “Everything Must Change”)? Get a copy somehow, and read this book… carefully, thoughtfully! I’d read at least 2 of his other books and I thought this was the best among them, with a lot of valuable, important grist for the mill of personal reflection or person-to-person discussion.

What have you read lately? Especially, we’d like to hear what has touched you deeply or a book that you believe is important for others to encounter.  Give us a mini-review (either shorter or longer than mine is fine)! 

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