Monday, September 11, 2006

A New Kind of Christian

Interesting profile in yesterday's WashPost of the Rev. Brian McLaren, a self-described "progressive evangelical" in what is called the "emerging church," a "grass-roots movement among young evangelicals exploring new models of living out their Christian faith."

Last year McLaren was named one of the "25 most influential evangelicals in America" by Time magazine, but somehow I missed taking note of him. He's a prolific author of provocative books: "A New Kind of Christian," "The Secret Message of Jesus," "A Generous Orthodoxy," "The Story We Find Ourselves In," "Finding Faith," and several others.

What makes him especially provocative in this Year of Our Lord-George-W.-Bush is the challenge he offers to conservative evangelicals who have turned themselves into a wholly owned subsidiary of the national Republican Party. Says McLaren, "When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels."

For daring to express such views, one conservative web site dubbed McLaren "A True Son of Lucifer." Nice Christian charity, that!
"Emerging church" is a loose network of mostly young evangelicals who believe the Christian message needs to be made more relevant in a time of rapid technological and societal change, particularly to those who've never been part of any church. Participants refer to their interaction as a "conversation," much of which takes place on the Internet at sites such as and blogs such as

I wanted to call the local Touchstone Bookstore this a.m. to see if any of McLaren's books are available here, but my phone is tied up. Maybe someone can do that and post under comments any titles they locate.

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