I am always amused when I read reviews of books and I can see so clearly the reviewer hasn’t really read the book. I find it funny to read, see or hear news reports that in the end are found to be based on internet rumours, not on sources on the scene.
But I am not amused to read damning articles, critical reviews, or hearsay about Brian McLaren from people who have not had the courtesy (or courage?) to read or listen to him before making a harsh judgement. Any secondhand information is susceptible to the same distortion as a game of Chinese Whispers–even if you hear it from me!
This does not mean that reading will change your mind. In fact there are several genuinely insightful reviews by people who have read all of McLaren’s material, who don’t necessarily agree with his outcomes or theology.
I don’t agree with all he has written, but I tend to agree with his understanding the majority of the time. I would say his writings have influenced my understanding of the Bible and what it means to be a Christian more than any other author I have read. But Brian is still human and fallible. He does get it wrong at times as do we all. He also expects disagreement and encourages it, as long as the conversations keep happening and everyone remains open to the fact that we don’t have all the answers and our understanding may change from what it is today.
On Brian’s blog today, he provides suggested reading if you’re interested in what he has to say (or knowing what has been put ‘out there’ firsthand).
Here’s that list:
If you prefer fiction for summer reading, then try this:
New Kind of Christian or one of its sequels
I don’t recommend you try this one unless you like to jump in the deep end of the pool.
A New Kind of Christianity
And if you have a long drive, or like to jog or walk, or just hate to read – how about this podcast series – an overview of the Bible?
All the books are now available at a good local Christian bookshop (such as Koorong) or online at Amazon or Dymocks. The podcast series is available online (click the link).
There are also several interviews and lectures online as part of other podcast series. You can do a search at the iTunes Store on ‘Brian McLaren.’ Most of these podcasts or iTunes U episodes are free to download.
And once you’ve gone to the source, why not write your own review? You can even let us know what you think in the comments box below. I don’t edit these and, apart from spam or defamatory statements, I allow all comments.
Grace and Peace.
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Her’s a link to a very recent podcast interview with Brian McLaren on the Jesus Manifesto podcast.