As part of the ViralBloggers network, I have the honor of being one of the few (elite?) people to receive author, speaker, pastor, and networker Brian McLaren's newest book "A New Kind of Christianity (browse inside it)," which hits the store shelves, as well as virtual shelves on Feb. 9th. HarperCollins is publishing Brian's newest quest
Brian has been a faithful friend, I mean that's what books are written to be right, along my pilgrimage. I haven't read much by him but in seminary I read A Generous Orthodoxy after reading Richard Foster's Streams of Living Water. These two pilgrims helped me move away from the strictness of fundamentalism wrapped tightly in denominationalism and see truth in the many doctrines, dogmas, and denom's of Christianity. Needless to say when I was deconstructing and struggling to find words and new ways of viewing the church, God, and my own faith McLaren gave me the gift of perspective. Later in seminary one of my night stand books became More Ready Than You Realize in which again Brian aided my perspective in reinventing evangelism away from the evange-cube/tract/guilt tactics toward befriending those were are different from me. Thus, began my conversation. These two themes play strongly in my faith still: the necessity of bearing and seeking truth in its many forms as well as the need (for myself) to be converted (continually) as well as love others toward Christ.
Then last year at First Baptist Austin, our Easter Tide (that's the time after Easter before Pentecost on the church calendar that lasts about 7 or 8 Sundays) we studied in small groups Everything Must Change. For myself, while not groundbreaking or even really new, this book guided me in leading "real" people, nonseminarians in the conversations that I found so important and true. Moreover, before leading these groups my wife and I as well as a bunch of other CBF baptists heard McLaren speak at Current retreat. So, in ways I feel like Brian and I are friends. We talked...at the conference...in his books...on the web...blogs...facebook...I'm not sure he'd know who I am, but way I feel towards my friends is the way I feel toward this newest book by McLaren.
I get excited about my friend's stuff, tweets, etc; but I'm also familiar with them. It's not that I'm bored, complacent, or even contempt (familiarity breeds what?) with Brian's work, but more...familiar...comfortable...I don't know how to describe it. But the reason I enjoy genuine friends so much is the same reason I'm looking forward to breaking open "A New Kind of Christianity," friends make you remember: remember who you are, where you came from, what the questions are, what makes life worth the living. While I'm not expecting to have my mind blown away in amazing revelations (though it could happen), I'm expecting to be reminded. Was it Augustine who said prayer is learning deep memory?
If you are still reading and haven't perused the book yet, here are the ten questions Brian seeks to answer in this newest book. These ten questions seek to unite our inner lives with our outer lives in a search for a "faith for tomorrow:"
- The Authority Question: How Should the Bible Be Understood?
- The God Question: Is God Violent?
- The Jesus Question: Who is Jesus and Why is He Important?
- The Gospel Question: What Is the Gospel?
- The Church Question: What Do We Do About the Church?
- The Sex Question: Can We Find a Way to Address Sexuality Without Fighting About It?
- The Future Question: Can We Find a Better Way of View the Future?
- The Pluralism Question: How Should Followers of Jesus Relate to People of Other Religions?
- The What Do We Do Now Question: How Can We Translate Our Quest into Action?
Also, check out the video (and all of Ooze.Tv's stuff) below of Spencer Burke driving Brian McLaren around talking about the power of questions to produce a new journey, a conversation driven by questions asked all around the world of people seeking to follow Jesus.