everything must change

February 17, 2008

I agree with about 75% of what Brian McLaren has to say in Everything Must Change. I think that about 75% of me doesn’t want to. While the title is ambitious, it appropriately reflects the point that McLaren is trying to make — and he makes it well.

In Everything Must Change, McLaren sets out to answer the two dominant questions of his life: What are the biggest problems in the world? and What does Jesus have to say about these global problems? For anyone who has read McLaren, it will come as no surprise that McLaren asserts that Christian Evangelicalism has fallen short of answering these questions by focusing primarily on the salvation of individual souls.

I have one or two more posts in the works to interact with some of McLaren’s writing, but here are a few quotes to give a taste of the book to those who haven’t read it:

  • “But if our framing story tells us that we are free and responsible creatures in a creation made by a good, wise, and loving God, and that our Creator wants us to pursue virtue, collaboration, peace, and mutual care for one another and all living creatures, and that our lives can have a profound meaning if we align ourselves with God’s wisdom, character, and dreams for us…then our society will take a radically different direction, and our world will become a very different place.” (pg. 67)
  • “Personally, I am convinced that Jesus’ good news was and is better news than we have been led to believe by the conventional view. … In terms of our two original questions, then, Jesus in the conventional view has little or nothing to say regarding the world’s global crises.” (pg. 83)
  • “That’s why if Jesus were here today, I imagine he would speak frequently of the new global love economy of God — not an industrial economy, and not an information economy, and not even an experience economy, but a wise relational economy that measures success in terms of gross antional affection and global community, that seeks to amass the appreciating capital of wise judgment, profound forethought, and deepening virture for the sake of rich relationships.” (pg. 131)
  • “We have become, he says, ‘increasingly deranged by our own religious certainty. We have a society in which 44 percent of the people claim to be either certain or confident that Jesus is going to come back out of the clouds and judge the living and the dead sometime in the next 50 years. It just seems transparently obvious that this is a belief that will do nothing to create a durable civilization.'” (pg. 152)
  • “gratitude becomes an act of defiant contemplation, expressing rebellion against the thousands of advertisements a year that tell you to want what you don’t have, and not appreciate what you already have.” (pg. 213)
  • “Second, there is community action. This level of action should perhaps come first in our list, because individuals can’t learn a new kind of faith to inspire new personal action without a faith community to teach the faith and model the action.” (pg. 298)
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