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A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two…

A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Brian D. McLaren

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1,190196,740 (4)12
Title:A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey
Authors:Brian D. McLaren
Info:Jossey-Bass (2001), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey by Brian D. McLaren (2001)



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The author said nothing that convinced me his conclusions are correct or workable in today’s culture and faith community – he did have a few (very few) comments that made me think a bit. But he had a poor writing style and was scatter-brained in how he presented his material. Clearly he is coming from a very conservative Christian Evangelical perspective and I can only conclude that his faith experience has been hurtful to him. I think he does further damage to the Evangelical tradition - I am not of the that tradition, but I believe they are not mean-spirited at heart (which is how he portrays them in this book, without specifically naming them) - but their methods may give that impression if you never sit down and talk with folks from that tradition. We discussed this book in my men’s study small group, and even the most liberal member of the group had a hard time defending the author’s conclusions. Some of us had a difficult time not recommending we just stop the study and choose another book – but we continued because we wanted to be open-minded, see what he had to say, and see how he would draw everything together at the end with his “proposal” – he never did that. I wonder if he has ever stepped into ANY other Christian church, or looked anywhere outside his own faith experience. He certainly did not look at my church, where he would have found that so many of the conclusions he drew about today’s Christians would have been seen to be completely false. He would have seen a vibrant youth ministry that is keeping young folks around when they hit their twenties – obviously they have not bought into his ideas of how Christianity “must” change to be "post-modern". Yes, his comments that the Christian church must adapt to a changed culture are true - but that is not some new miracle conclusion. Of course we must adapt to how we present Christ's message in our current culture - but his ideas (where they were discernible) would result in being "of" the culture more than being "in" the culture - the exact opposite of what I think he was trying to say. I thought it was a waste of my money – if you want to read it, borrow it from a library or get it via Bookswap. ( )
  highlander6022 | Mar 16, 2016 |
Like Marmite, it appears, people either love this or hate it. Likewise with the author, a controversial figure in the Christian world.

This book is written in pseudo-fiction format. He calls it 'creative non-fiction' in a later work, although I prefer to think of it as 'fiction with an agenda' - and not in a negative sense. A fictional scenario is set up :Daniel, a tired pastor, thinking of resigning, becomes friends with Neo, a Jamaican high school teacher who is a graduate in history and philosophy, and talks to him - at length - about how the church, if it's going to stay relevant to 21st century people, needs to move from modernism into post-modernism. It includes some of the best nutshell-style explanations I have come across, explaining clearly what post-modernism is - and what it isn't.

Written over ten years ago, much of this was radical at the time, although now it feels almost mainstream; many people around the world seem to have become disillusioned with traditional churches (including those that consider themselves up-to-date), and have moved forward in what can seem like a scary way, forming new kind of communities and relationships, seeing God in a broader, vaster way that includes paradox. Yet the author manages to stay balanced and fair, not criticising those who remain in the modernist style, nor suggesting that it was better to be post-modern as a Christian.

The fictional style allow for discussion and disseminating of ideas without the author directly speaking to his readers, which could have been condescending - instead, Neo speaks to Dan at the stage he's reached, sometimes pushing him beyond the level he's prepared to go. It's cleverly done, although I felt that towards the end there was a style change that was too abrupt: the last chapter is written as a series of emails from Neo to a youth pastor who was also exploring the idea of a postmodern community of believers.

Anyone reading this may need to put aside preconceived ideas about God, whether reading from a theist or atheist perspective, or indeed that of an agnostic. Whatever the background, I would highly recommend it. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
60 of 75 for 2015. Essentially a dialogue between a minister in an evangelical church who is questioning everything he believes and a high school teacher who belongs to an Episcopal parish in suburban D.C., A New Kind of Christian will have all open-minded believers wondering if there is a way to be Christian in today's world, and just what does it mean to be Christian. Dense with meaning, and thought provoking all the way through, the book grabbed my attention from the start. A glitch in my iPad's connection to the car stereo had me listen to the first hour of the narration twice, which I didn't mind at all. Highly recommended to those who care about the future of Christianity. ( )
  mtbearded1 | Jul 9, 2015 |
I have heard a lot of bad things about this book, which caused me to be extremely surprised to find that I actually agree with him on many counts. There are a lot of problems that I have with Christianity as we know it, and what we've come to make our Christian culture, and he addresses many of these things in this book. There are some things that I definitely disagree with, and I have heard that since this time Brian has gone on to universalism and some other theological intricacies that I would disagree with, but I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who struggles to separate Christianity from the culture we find ourselves in and wonders how to reach out to a culture that is rapidly changing. ( )
  NGood | Feb 19, 2014 |
A New Kind of Christian is a fictional dialog between a pastor on the verge of quitting the pastorate due to his theological struggles and his daughter's wizened high school science teacher who so happens to be a former pastor. They meet during a youth event one night where a music band called, "The Amish Jellies" are rockin' away. The two men bond a friendship that carries them through a year or two of dialog about faith, salvation, philosophy, and theology. Not your typical traditional views, but views that are refined for the 21st century. Much of the book is a proscription for post-modern theology. McLaren provides ample evidence to suggest we are transitioning from the Modern era to a Post-Modern era. The church has a choice to transition with the rest of society, or pull back its reigns and hold tight to the mechanized ways of the Modern era (1500-2000 AD), essentially becoming irrelevant. McLaren also provides a Post-modern way of looking at the Gospel, not as some free ticket out of hell (Modern view), but entrance into the kingdom of God to be incarnated on earth now. The Gospel is not sold as some consumeristic product customized to individuals, but relevant to communities and nations as the prophet Isaiah spoke so much about. Salvation is not confined to being saved from hell, but a work that is to be done by serving others and modeling Christ's love to others throughout our lifetime. Although the book is 10 years old I found much of the material very refreshing, not the typical drivel coming from traditional fundamentalist authors still stuck in the Modern era today. The end of the book provides helpful and practical ways for church leaders to move their churches from the Modern era into the Post-modern.

In a nutshell this was another terrific book by Brian McLaren. A book that I think all church leaders should read. Sadly, many will toss this book aside as just another book about liberal theology. Really, it's none of that. It's simply revisioning old Biblical issues and seeing what they may look like in the 21st century and beyond. Conservatives hate the term, but cultural relevancy is key if the church wants to survive in the post-modern era. Otherwise, the church will become much like the churches we see throughout Reformation-era Europe... aged relics of the past turned into dusty museums. ( )
  gdill | May 16, 2013 |
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Sometime in 1994, at the age of thirty-eight, I got sick of being a pastor.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 078795599X, Hardcover)

A Leadership Network Publication

A New Kind of Christian's conversation between a pastor and his daughter's high school science teacher reveals that wisdom for life's most pressing spiritual questions can come from the most unlikely sources. This stirring fable captures a new spirit of Christianity--where personal, daily interaction with God is more important than institutional church structures, where faith is more about a way of life than a system of belief, where being authentically good is more important than being doctrinally "right," and where one's direction is more important than one's present location. Brian McLaren's delightful account offers a wise and wondrous approach for revitalizing Christian spiritual life and Christian congregations.

If you are interested in joining a discussion group devoted to a A New Kind of Christian please visit groups.yahoo.com/group/NKOC.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:34 -0400)

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