Review of A New Kind of Christian
The other books in the series include:
The Story we Find ourselves in- This is the second in his Trilogy. Each book helps to build one more aspect to a strong foundation in believing in God on your own terms, also to understanding that it is OK to be different from others.
The Last Word and the One after That- The third book and by far my favorite. It deals with the Christian struggle of Hell and damnation, but in a way that will hopefully open some eyes or maybe a heart or two. Reading this with Love Wins creates many questions and discussion opportunities with others.
A New Kind of Christian in review
I am a minister who sometimes struggles with why the church acts the way it does, especially to those who call themselves Christian. I have often wondered why there are so many different philosophies of how to act, talk, live, or even worship God. I began my own serve and realized that it is more than just a generation thing (my parents worship and view church differently than I do and their parents view church differently than they do) but goes to what we think Church is going to be in the next ten or more years. In that search I found the book (which I will now find the other two in the trilogy) A New Kind of Christian.
Brian McLaren helps people who feel that church should do more, be more and serve more to see that it is in the simple acts of being human that we can serve God the most effectively and also help us become the New Kind of Christian. We are constantly trying to label who fits in what group without seeing that each person is created by God and can be important to our growth as spiritual beings. The concept that many of us understand as Church may have to change at a fundamental level in order for people to start really following Christianity again. Too many people have placed their own opinions on how to serve God, and that has restricted the church in many different areas, such as who can serve as leaders, what it means to be a follower of Jesus and also where we can go to worship God.
A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren
A journey of two men through spirituality.
This book follows two men as they journey through a time of doubt and worry by one of the main characters, a minister. The book helps people to realize that simply because one does not fit into a church now, does not mean they are not being Christian. Many churches follow a tradition and philosophy that does not fit with people of the Generation X and younger. God is being put into a very small box and the church is the one pushing the sides ever smaller.
The characters go through many different topics and the history of religion is discussed many times. The main thought throughout is that we need to move from one era to another. We need to move out of modernity and into post-modernity, into an acknowledgment that the world around us is changing and if we as Christians want to continue to serve others, we need to first understand what they need and where they are. This movement from one era to another is meant to be difficult and changing, we are not supposed to be the same people we were when we started. The change will be powerful in some people, allowing them the knowledge and the confidence to go out and teach what it means to them to follow God and Christ.
One of the biggest thoughts for me is to not be so abrasive as a Christian trying to get people to understand my faith before I take the time to understand where they are in their own faith journey. Listening is a key element to a conversation, but too many times people only pretend to listen long enough to express their side of the story again, either louder or with more words. McLaren gives suggestions to how to walk with Jesus and others in a journey that has no end, a journey where the only purpose is to walk the path and learn what we can about ourselves and Jesus.
For those that want to take another step, the book is set up to be used as a group study. There are questions and conversation starters at the end to help people on this journey. Change is difficult and most people will fight the idea that there is anything wrong with the church today. I am not saying the church is dying, because I fully believe that the true church will outlast what we call church today.
I enjoyed this book; I needed this book at the time I read it. I feel that I could have continued my ministry of following what is expected by tradition and history, or I could begin the process of changing myself so that I can serve Jesus in the next era as well as this one. I am hoping to use this new knowledge to bridge the gap between those who see the church as the modern church, a church that still has power and authority over the lives of its members. A church that can teach and affect people by instruction and direction. And also the post-modern church, a church that sees itself as helping the world by listening, helping and healing. A church that is more directed towards understanding others instead of teaching them how to be like everyone else. The church is going to change one way or another, as people die, the leadership of churches will change, and hopefully the new leadership will have a direction for the church. May that direction always point towards God and Jesus.
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