Brian D. McLaren

 

Brian D. McLaren (founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, Baltimore-Washington area) Brian is the most gracious + gentle voice that presents a winsome God that loves the world and the people in it. Brian is a prominent voice on the church engaging emerging culture, and its theological currents of change.

This is an unofficial page; the official Brian McLaren web site is www.brianmclaren.net

“My dream is to change the way people in the Washington-Baltimore region (and beyond) think about church and Christianity,” Brian explains. “We’re building an exciting, accepting, active church of imperfect but growing people who can be difference-makers in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces. What I get most enthusiastic about is this: seeing people who have not considered themselves committed Christians come and relax and learn and then – the lights go on – and they discover a faith that is real and a mission in life that makes a difference. That’s what it’s all about for me.”

Now recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America!

From Becoming Convergent (PDF format), the story of Brian McLaren: “So I faced a choice. I either rejected these friends and turned their questions away, or I sought to better understand them so that I could better help them in their search for God, faith, freedom, forgiveness, hope, and meaning in life. What I did was what any missionary would do in a new or unreached or unresponsive people group. That search set the course for the last fifteen years of my life.” [a brief autobiography, also available in HTML: part 1, 2, 3]

Books

The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything (by Brian McLaren) [ed. note: not to be confused with Gnosticism, but it's a catchy title; also, register to download study guide and bonus chapter]
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished Christian (by Brian McLaren)
aGenerousOrthodoxy.blogspot.com – team blog – conversations about this book! Read preview chapters (PDF), includes: Foreword by John Franke, Introduction, Chapter 0 “For Mature Audiences Only”, and Chapter 1 “The Seven Jesuses I Have Known”

The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives (by Andy Crouch, Michael Horton, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Erwin McManus, Brian McLaren; edited by Leonard Sweet) [October 2003]

Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel (by Brian D. McLaren and Tony Campolo)
read excerpt on Salvation

The Story We Find Ourselves In: Further Adventures of a New Kind of Christian
read Chapter 1 + reviews: A Story Darwin Might Love (Books & Culture 4/03), A Newer Kind of Christian (CT 3/03), next-wave.org (2/03)

A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey
read Chapter 1 + reviews: The Postmodern Moment (CT 6/02), Faithfully Dangerous (BC 6/02), Post-Evangelicalism (Books & Culture 6/02), Reformed or Deformed? (BC 4/02), The Virtue of Unoriginality (CT 4/02), Let’s Get Personal (BC 2/02), next-wave.org (7/01)

A Is for Abductive: The Language of the Emerging Church (by Leonard Sweet, Brian D. McLaren, Jerry Haselmayer)

More Ready Than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix
read Chapter 1

Finding Faith: A Self-Discovery Guide for Your Spiritual Quest
read Introduction

The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix (previously titled Reinventing Your Church)
reviews: next-wave.org

Talks

The Secret Message of Jesus (talks given at Cedar Ridge, in MP3 audio format):
Part 1 + Part 2

God in the Movies (talks given at Cedar Ridge, in MP3 audio format): Return of the King, Two Towers, Hotel Rwanda, Spiderman, Bruce Almighty, Signs, Wit, Day After Tomorrow, Rivers and Tides

Off-The-Map Media Center serves up videos + audios, some of Brian McLaren

Articles

More articles about or by Brian McLaren (at BrianMcLaren.net)

From the Biblical Recorder article, McLaren speaks in Kentucky after controversy (April 15, 2005): McLaren acknowledged that “I do not like to use the term ‘exclusivity of Christ’ because I think that Jesus did not come to exclude people. I think Jesus came to seek and save the lost. That does not sound like an exclusive job to me.” He added, however, “I believe Jesus is the only savior. I would be very comfortable talking about the uniqueness of Christ. Is Jesus exclusively the savior? Absolutely. I believe He’s the only savior.”

an Open Letter to Chuck Colson (in response to CT article, December 2003)

Emerging Values (Leadership Journal, Summer 2003)

McLaren coaches churches on how to avoid extinction (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, June 2003)

McLaren unlikely leader of ‘emerging church’ movement (Associated Baptist Press, May 2003)

Preparing the Whole Person for Ministry (Cutting Edge, Winter 2003)

Faith Training of Teens: A Dance not a Mission (ParentMinistry.org, 2003)

GraceAwakening Interview by Fred Peatross (May 2002)

Evangelism : Zondervan Interview (Spring 2002)

Friendships Count (Today’s Pentecostal Evangel, March 2002)

Kneeling with Turtles (DreamSeeker Magazine, Autumn 2001)

How to Evangelize Today (Christianity Today, August 2001)

They Say It’s Just a Phase (Next-wave.org, April 2001)

Zondervan ChurchSource Interview

Featured on a CCN panel on Postmodern Ministry, along with Ken Baugh, Neil Cole, Dieter Zander (May 2003)

Notes

interview excerpt

Fred: What do church leaders do with the long-standing members who have found security in familiarity (and often confuse it with Gospel) and refuse to move forward?

Brian: This is such an important, and tough, question. I don’t think we can treat anyone harshly. These people have simply believed what they have been told: that the church exists largely for the benefit of its members. For us to help people believe and act on the belief that the church exists largely for the benefit of its non-members – this will be a major shift, and it will require humility, patience, clear teaching, apologies, prayer, and did I say patience? I don’t think we should expect a majority of the comfortable to get it. We should seek to bless and care for these people, and at the same time, focus more pro-active efforts on those who “get it”. And we should especially hope to “disciple” new
believers in a better way of seeing, thinking, etc.

jordoncooper.com notes from Brian’s session, a “deep ecclesiology” (May 2003)

  1. There isn’t just one model
  2. The church is actually one already — We just don’t realize it yet.
  3. The church is already layered – church within churches, communities within communities

see all 13 points, and several more entries of color commentary..

miketodd.ca‘s notes from that same gathering (May 2003)

What is theology? A systematic outline of truth, in the form of propositions extracted from the Biblical text through technique to create a “Biblical world view”, or, An ongoing creative enterprise of making models of the universe based on beliefs about God?

Comments

Brian McLaren is a handsome dude. Seriously, Brian is downright suave: the cleft chin, shaved head, groomed 5�o�clock shadow, a voice for radio (on top of a voracious curiosity and passion). I think a lot of the criticism Brian receives just boils down to jealousy. (5/14/06)

But I have a hard time figuring out this “metanarrative” thing. After I returned from the Emergent Convention where I had talked to Brian McLaren a few times, I emailed Brian and others and asked them about this question. This was Brian’s response.. (September 2003)

Having re-read Brian McLaren’s article, some thoughts began to stir. Later in the article, McLaren asks some very important questions: Why aren’t people (Christians) becoming more joyful, holy, peaceful, content and Christ like? , why are the most biblically knowledgeable so often so mean spirited? (September 2003)

‘A New Kind of Christian’ seemed to be largely in the process of deconstructing, and for me had the result of scaring me at times, and at others of reassuring me that I wasn’t a total fool, and I was still a Christian. ‘The Story We Find Ourselves In’ beautifully starts the process of reconstruction with a fantastic retelling of the story (September 2003)

We think of Jonah as a Sunday School story for children. But for adults, Jonah is a complex and sophisticated story that shakes our preconceptions and changes the way we think of ourselves, others, and God. (August 2003)

Anyway I thought I’d mention a few thoughts about the day I had with other leaders in discussion with Brian McLaren. A couple of things that Brian said really stood out: Chaos and the Church.. Taking it out on the Church.. Do we have the right message in the first place?.. Fixing the church.. (August 2003)

I don’t think I have been so profoundly affected by a book in a long time. Let’s see if I can come close to explaining why. First of all – it tells a story that describes my faith. It tells the story of God as I have gradually been coming to understand it over the years. What he says isn’t new to me but it confirms and validates a lot of what I have come to understand about my faith over the years. (August 2003)

I’ve been reading Brian McLaren and listening to NT Wright. For those of you not familiar with their work just let me say that its different than your run-of-the-mill conservative evangelical writing. They are advocating, and its hardly just the two of them, a different way of looking at salvation. Dallas Willard would be another in that same vein. (August 2003)

Brian Mclaren recently said, “Its ironic, and importantly so, that as we spend more and more time in virtual reality, we take “actual reality” more (not less) seriously.” He goes on to say that reality, including our gatherings is where we can debug, defrag and decompress our minds and lives as human beings occupying real space and having real, not virtual senses, with real gravity, real atmosphere and real people. And perhaps most importantly a real faith in a real God. (July 2003)

The LIT’s that I was working with were really receptive to the few Brian McLaren discussions that we were having, the first on how to approach the Bible, one on the importance of our personal stories, and another on the different theories of atonement. It was really encouraging to know that the youth weren’t just writing me off as a heretic like I’m sure some of the adults in their lives might say. Maybe that’s because we grew up together in a time of transition whereas our elders haven’t really. (July 2003)

I’ve been reading Brian McLaren’s book, More Ready Than You Realize, and it’s bumming me out. As McLaren describes and demonstrates evangelism as being a spiritual friend to people we encounter, I am convicted that my current lifestyle is not conducive to this kind of evangelism. (July 2003)

These books are highly engaging and I think it’s got an enormous amount of food-for-thought for many Christians. I know a good friend of mine has been criticized for echoing these ideas. Well, it’s because our faith is not a cake-walk. (June 2003)

Anyway, I think the Evangel Society could serve a good function to the Christian community by writing some responses to these liberal postmodern Christians. (Whatever this Postmodern Christianity turns out to be, I’m not sure.) (June 2003)

So I’ve finished “A New Kind Of Christian” By Brian McLaren… IT WAS AN AMAZING BOOK! Totally changed my perspective on a lot of issues, and really made me look back into my own life and challenged me to look at things differently. Never really looked into what Postmodern Christianity was, but I sure do want to understand this concept A LOT more thoroughly. This book really revealed to me that I should be showing and “Be” Jesus to everyone, which means giving and showing LOVE at all times! =) I am SO glad I read this book! (June 2003)

Do We Need ‘A New Kind of Christian’? by Dan Thompson, in PCA News (September 2003)

Thousands of Christians go without food everyday and yet it provokes no action or no offense but something like an unseen toy Bobblehead Ozzy does. It kind of breaks my heart to read the story actually. Brian McLaren talks about this in “Missing the Point” that he wrote with Tony Campolo. By taking the kind of attitude the person C does, we end up disengaged with culture and find ourselves in a Christian ghetto, isolated and alone and we wonder why no one wants to join us. I think Christians take themselves too seriously and the teaching of Jesus not seriously enough. Bleh. (May 2003)

He doesn’t go into the intelligent design theories as such, but presents characters who hold such views as credible and authentic. My impression is that he is trying to present a Western Christianity that is neither fundamentalist, modernist, nor postmodernist, but rather personally constructed through an authentic seeking of truth and meaning from God’s self-revelation. (May 2003)

As Brian McLaren said in an article I read recently where he was ranting about today’s seminaries, One of the most profound weaknesses is that in the modern world we believed that right theory leads to right practice. (April 2003)

I do my best not to rock the boat here, (as Brian McLaren says, the unwritten pastoral contract is, “You have all the answers that we ever want, and you had better not change because it will mess us up”), but at times I feel like a sell out. (April 2003)

McLaren is not providing answers to all of life’s questions, which will surprise no one, and in that vein there is a great statement early on, which i will not fully disclose but will summarize it and apply it to our lives as Christian leaders: that our job is not to have all the answers to every question, but to help people live with their questions more comfortably. (March 2003)

Brian writes in an extremely accessible narrative form that is both open and honest. The book is a conversation between two people… one a pastor/minister/clergy-type in the throws of a deep questioning of their understanding of faith, the other a God-send. So far, I’ve wept through the introduction, found myself bouncing up and down about some of the concepts, and been wondering about what this will mean to me, practically. (September 2002)

One of Brian McLaren’s points at the conference was that pastors need to move from being experts to becoming amateurs. That doesn’t mean that we should pastor for free. Amateurs are motivated by the love of what they do. Brian told us we should figure out what it will take to love what we do, and then do it. (June 2002)

“I am disappointed because McLaren tries to deal with the problems, the cause, and the cure as package deals. He has neglected careful thinking and the work of making distinctions. In each of his discussions, I can find some ideas that are right on and some that are at best muddled. Yet, based on that vague muddle, he wants us to change the content of the modern evangelical message in unspecified ways.” (Book & Culture mailbox – May 2002)

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