Sunday, September 30, 2007
Everything Must Change - Preview Video
Brian McLaren's new book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, comes out next week. As a promotional for it, Brian has posted a few preview videos of what the books is about. Here's one:

I guarantee that this book will end up being his most controversial yet. If you thought evangelicals got after him when he started questioning their theology, just wait to see what happens when he questions their conservative politics. They might give you a lot of freedom to disagree on various gray areas when it comes to doctrine, but you best not give any hint of being a "liberal". That's a dirtier word than heretic to some.

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to the book. As Brian says, it's about two basic questions: 1) what are the biggest crises facing the world today, and 2) what do the life and teachings of Jesus have to say to those global crises? Great questions IMHO.


posted by Mike Clawson at 12:43 AM | Permalink |


At 9/30/2007 08:40:00 AM, Blogger rick

Mike - I love your blog but I think this post falls a little short.

While the two questions are generally important, I don't think they are the two most important questions Christians need to deal with - although now I'm challenged to think of what they might be. ;-)

But what I really disagree with is the hard-wiring of politics to faith. Not all evangelicals link faith to politics and even fewer elevate politics above faith as you charge. Here, it is McLaren making the link not an evangelical.

I was tempted not to comment but I want to be clear that while what you say is true about some people, it is not for all. If after his book comes out I disagree with the issue he identifies, e.g., Global Warming, it is not because of my religious feelings. If I dislike the link he makes to faith, it is not just because I'm an evangelical. Etc..

Again, I'm sure some will do as you say but don't pre-judge all that may disagree with McLaren.


At 9/30/2007 01:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

it would be nearly impossible to debate numbers and percentages in terms of how many christians are highly politically active, how many are not, how many are conservative, and how many are liberal.

but it seems more than beyond debate, when you look at federal politics in this country over the past 30 years, which christians from which groups have gotten the most TV airtime, the most radio airtime and have the ears of the most politicians.

it isn't an issue of pre-judging anyone. many of us have lived everyday of our lives being labeled as heretics, liberals and whatever else that mainstream, high profile christianity has deemed "wrong".

as someone who's politics fell under conviction long before his theology did, i spent over a decade "in the wilderness" when it became more than obvious that as a libertarian who was not a supporter of nationalist faith, not a supporter of militaristic faith, and not a supporter of imposing evangelical morals on the entire country, that i was simply not welcome in church.

and that was -before- i started embracing theological notions that i now discover those same churches brand as heresy.

there's no pre-judging going on here, most of us have been on the wrong end of that for a long time and we know what the reaction is going to be because we've been living it.


At 9/30/2007 01:40:00 PM, Blogger rick

jhimm - I do not mean to discount your experience nor your apprehension of what's to come. I'm only offering that a few of us will likely disagree with McLaren for reasons other than you may presume and like you, I'm asking in advance not to be discounted.



At 9/30/2007 04:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

i don't see anything in this post that discounts anyone. i don't see anything that says "the one and only one reason you could possibly find fault with this book is if you feel your politics are threatened". i see a pretty reasonable expectation that the sort of people who got aggressively defensive when McLaren questioned their theology will get at least as if not more aggressively defensive when McLaren questions their politics. if you disagree with the book for some other unrelated reason, then mike's comments here really have nothing to do with you. is it unreasonable not to list every single possible reason why someone might disagree?


At 9/30/2007 04:31:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Point taken Rick. You're quite right that this does not apply to all evangelicals. I did qualify my statement by saying "some", but I suppose I should have qualified it even more.

(Also, I don't think I or Brian said that they are the "most important" questions... though like yourself I'm not sure what else might be more important. If the gospel is true, then it is true for our world today, and therefore the question of how to apply the gospel to the problems in our world today does seem like one of the most important questions we could ask.)

Anyhow, jhimmm is right too. Many of us have lived through the rejection that comes from turning away from conservative Republican politics within the evangelical church. My comments in this post was based on my observations of my own background. I grew up in a context where "radio orthodoxy" (i.e. what Dobson and Colson say must be the truth) was the norm, and being a "liberal" (politically) was just about the worst thing you could be. I guarantee that I would get less of a reaction in some of my former churches by saying that I believed in evolution, than I would if I said that I don't think abortion should be our sole voting issue... or even if I said that Christians ought to care about the environment, or economic inequalities, or gender equality, etc.

In fact, when I was pushed out of my last church (a conservative Baptist church), I'm pretty sure the senior pastor had more of my problem with my "socialism" (his word... by which he meant that I wanted to help the poor) than with my theology.

So anyhow, while certainly not all evangelicals will fit this description, it fits the contexts that I've been in. As jhimm said, one only has to turn on Christian radio to show that for many God and conservative politics are still inextricably intertwined. But as jhimm also pointed out, if that's not true of you, then my comments were not directed your way.


At 10/01/2007 02:35:00 PM, Blogger Jo Cool

Does Brian use the description "Babylonian captivity of evangelicalism" elsewhere or was it unique to this clip? I think I understand what he means by it, but I found it more derogatory than insightful, so I was wondering if there was a more helpful context.


At 10/01/2007 02:48:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

I haven't heard it before. Maybe he explains it in the book.


At 10/02/2007 12:42:00 AM, Blogger Mark Van Steenwyk


Forgive me if I am completely wrong, but it seems as though you are taking some joy at the notion of coming conflict. And you use the word "evangelical" as though you aren't one.


At 10/02/2007 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Mark Van Steenwyk

Sorry Mike, that last comment sounded WAY pissier than I intended. I think all the back and forth in the blogosphere has been pressing down on me and a bit of my pent up angst came out.

I think we need to rise above it all and refuse treat people as "others." And it felt as though your language did that. That is what I'm reacting to, but I could have said it a whole lot better than I did. I apologize.


At 10/02/2007 10:15:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Hey Mark,

No, I'm not particularly looking forward to any coming conflict. I'm just sad to think that Brian's message will go unheeded by so many.

And no, I don't really consider myself an evangelical anymore. I don't say that to create any kind of "us vs. them". I'm just not, that's all.


At 10/05/2007 08:44:00 AM, Anonymous Progression of Faith

Thanks for posting the video. I'm waiting for my copy of the new book. Love your blog!


Links to this post

Links to this post:

Create a Link