everything must change

everything must change.jpgEverything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, by brian mclaren.

at this point in his publishing career, brian mclaren could publish the sentence, “water is good to drink,” and people would freak out. john mac and john pipes and the don and others would deconstruct his sentence (ironic, actually). christian radio shows would invite him on to talk about his drinking water sentence, but bait-and-switch into a discussion of relativism and hell. christianity today would be oddly silent, with only a passing sarcastic comment on the editors’ blog.

and, of course (to be fair), too many emergies would start drinking more water, without thinking, because “the brian” said it.

at first brush, i couldn’t find all that much controversial about brian’s new book, everything must change: jesus, global crisis, and a revolution of hope (which, btw, releases next week). but, i’m sure that’s the “i’m not a theologian” in me peeking above the firing line, and there will be plenty of helpful and unhelpful critique from others.

i will say this: brian knows how to stir a pot without letting it boil.

he’s a master of properly placed emotion. it’s not that the book is emotionless: far from it. brian just knows (or chooses?) to get fiesty on some matters, and graciously sashay up to, but not onto, other matters that would hurt the book. knowing brian, i’ll call this humility (which is genuine).

this wasn’t my most-favorite-all-time-bestest of mclaren’s books. but it was 110% thoroughly worth reading, and will have me thinking for a long time; and, likely, it will push me to change some things (maybe not everything, but some things). and, i expect, there are plenty of people (i can think of many) for whom this will definitely be their most-favorite-all-time-bestest brian mclaren book.

while his breakdown of the engines that create or power culture were tough for me in the sense that i don’t feel i have the faculty to think critically about what brian wrote (i’m not sure i would know if he’s correct or not), it did give me a whole new way to think about those componants. like, the “three interlocking systems” of prosperity, equity and security.

i think most helpful for me was the section on “framing stories”. as is often true of brian’s writing, this section put words to things i kinda understood (somewhat understood, partially understood), but didn’t have a good way of articulating, even to myself; and, then, he added to that thinking, or pushed my thinking further. brian makes an interesting case for how the framing stories in jesus’ time should shed light for us today on how to read his life and message, and how our own framing stories need to be acknowledged and partially (?) deconstructed.

it’s not a skimmer. you gotta read the whole thing. if you’re one of those who would rip on brian for the above fictional sentence about water, you’ll find plenty here, i’m sure, to fuel your fire. but for those of us who read with a desire to live openly, believing that god will reveal truth to us from both likely and unlikely sources, i fully expect god to stir your pot.

thanks, brian.

10 thoughts on “everything must change”

  1. I’m someone who has wanted to read McLaren, but just haven’t had time. Is this a book I can just pick up? Or do I need to begin with his earlier books?

  2. water is good to drink ? did he mention what kind ? I sense he is pro-bottled water, tho it seems unclear where he stands on carbonation. i hear someone at mars hill said that they only drink water from the spring – that brian & doug & tony are heathen, fake water sippers. dan, he seems to wash his hair in the right water, but drinks anything people give him.

    and honestly, do only white men get to drink water ?

    **** wink *****

    it is a demanding, often perplexing book. i just devoured it. my sense is that it transcends the emergent (& traditional christian bookstore) ghetto

    then again, i really like water.

    from the tap

  3. dj — tough question, as “a good book” is situation, personal and subjective. personally, i would start with “a new kind of christian” or “a generous orthodoxy”. but get back to this book at some point.

  4. I like water and think that it is good to drink. However I don’t think that I contemplatively drink it. I also believe that I choose to drink it not God choose me to drink it. Come to think of it I’m really a 4 point water drinker. That is 1)Grab a glass 2) Turn on the tap 3) Fill the glass 4) Injest.

    For the record I love what Brian has to say, not always agreeing. I love that he is willing to ask the questions. That is important.

  5. ya know upon reflection, my sense is that flavored water is what the big, successful churches must be serving

    it’s tasty, it’s personalized, comes in handy sizes, the packaging is REALLY cool

    anybody know any recipes that they use?

  6. I agree with everything you said. I haven’t finished yet (almost). Not at all my favorite, but definitely worth reading.

    Luckily, Everything WILL Change…someday.

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