A New Kind of Christian
It’s the story of how a pastor finds his faith again, and understands why he’s been increasingly unsatisfied with his life and his church. It’s not just him; he's feeling the discomfort of a transition from modernity to postmodernity, and he’s making the transition a little sooner than some.
It’s a fictionalized account of a transition that McLaren and a lot of other people have gone through. It’s hard for me to picture how radical this must have sounded in 2001. I suspect it must have been shocking to a lot of people. OK, I know it is still controversial for a lot of people – I just don’t know very many of them. For more people I do know, I think their response is going to sound like “finally”, and “Thank God somebody is making sense out of Christianity.” And a sense of “of course, I get it now,” because McLaren is articulating what we already knew but couldn’t quite explain.
This is a story more than an academic treatise. There’s just enough plot and character development to make it entertaining reading. As a novel, wellllllll, it’s a lot more telling than showing. But still, it’s a lot easier reading than most academic explanations or even personal interpretations of this complex set of theories and transitions. At least the ones that I’ve read.
I liked the comparison of the postmodern shift to puberty. You’re not better before or after puberty, you’re just different, and you have to learn to think and act differently. And you’re not better or worse for going through puberty early or late, although being on either extreme can be uncomfortable, for you and for those who love you.
I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I’m still looking for a book about the emerging church that doesn’t assume that you already were a conservative evangelical Christian and that this shift represents a liberation. I’m looking for one that represents the transition from “I didn’t want to be a Christian” to “Now I can see a way that I can call myself a Christian.” You know, like my journey. (I’m also writing more about that topic, but I think it’s for another blog post.) If you have suggestions, I’m really interested.
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