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Everything Must Change: When the World's Biggest Problems and Jesus' Good News Collide Paperback – September 1, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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From AudioFile

With light enunciation, Lloyd James narrates this (self-proclaimed) unconventional pastor's call for a new kind of Christianity. James captures the author's anger with God for allowing national and international disasters. He deftly delivers McLaren's analysis of the perfect storm that led to what he calls the four foundational crises--in prosperity, equity, security, and spiritual beliefs. McLaren calls the four a "suicide machine" because their focus is destructive instead of service oriented. He says Christians should address these crises but cannot because religion has spiritually failed. In the final analysis, the author replaces the "good news" message of salvation the Bible offers with a bad news message that "good works" are the way to heaven. G.D.W. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Brian D. McLaren is an internationally known speaker and the author of over ten highly acclaimed books on contemporary Christianity, including A New Kind of Christian, A Generous Orthodoxy, and The Secret Message of Jesus.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140028029X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400280292
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. J. Spurlock on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Passion and compassion. These are the two words that I would use to describe this book and its author. The passion is communicated in the main title-- everything must change. The compassion is communicated in the subtitle-- global crises, hope. McLaren continues building on his previous works, especially Secret Message of Jesus. Those looking for McLaren's theological underpinnings will find it there. This book is about exploring what such a theology will look like on the ground, in real life. With grace in his words, McLaren lets us in on his own journey of discovering that Christianity often does not do much, and the things it has done have often been very negative. Then exploring the theology discussed in Secret Message of Jesus, McLaren talks at length about his experiences with people and communities from around the globe-- his experiences of finding much pain, hurt, and suffering-- and the systems that exist in that world. In the spirit of Jesus himself, McLaren paints a way forward for the church (especially those of us who find ourselves in its northern and western expressions) to truly bring Jesus into the global crisis and challenge these global systems and their central narratives. McLaren challenges the church to have "glad tidings" gospel that rivals the "gospels" of our systems/empires. He implores Christians to address the problems in our day just as Jesus did in his. Christians today are often serving idols and emperors rather than Jesus Christ. Jesus inaugarated the kingdom of God on Earth, the will of God being done on Earth as it is in heaven. Truly McLaren is right-- everything must change. It is time for us to acknowledge Jesus as Lord rather than Caesar as Lord.
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Format: Paperback
In Brian McLaren's new book, Everything Must Change, he brings many different resources together, both religious and secular, to offer a theo-political critique of our current society and its global crises. He then offers an alternative vision in the form of a new 'framing story' that he argues can transform the way we life. McLaren argues that 'our societies are unified, integrated, motivated, and driven by the framing stories we tell ourselves as groups' (66). He then contrasts the Christian 'framing story' (i.e. Kingdom of God) with the theocapitalist 'framing story' (i.e. suicidal machine).

The 'Suicide machine' is the metaphor McLaren says 'captures the way the world's most serious problems are linked in a vicious, self-reinforcing circle' (52). These suicidal systems are the following: dysfunctional prosperity system (culture of affluenza), dysfunctional security system (invisible hand of the market requires the visible fist of the military), and the dysfunctional equity system (sharing the cost and story of prosperity and equity) (55-56).

The 'Kingdom of God' is the metaphor McLaren uses to describe the alternative, transforming framing story that has the potential to bring life instead of death. The Kingdom of God is the divine vision of justice and peace communicated in Hebrew and Christian scripture. For McLaren, the Kingdom of God offers the best framing story: 'a story in which God provides through creation's natural systems, a story in which we acknowledge our creaturely dignity and limits within those systems, a story in which we celebrate our kinship with birds and flowers, with season and toil' (139). This story is a story where peace is achieved through collaborative efforts at 'justice, generosity, and mutual concern' (159).
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I read this book as part of an evening study at what many would consider a "liberal" church. At times I found McLaren assertions of facts and conclusions to be open to discussion and fact checking. I was annoyed often. I don't mind being theologically challenged to question my life, beliefs, nation's policies, and other such things, but I found this book to be downright tedious at times. I was reading Fannie Flagg's Can't Wait to Get to Heaven at the same time and found more personal inspiration in her novel than this Christian Sociology lesson. Maybe it's just my age and knowledge of history that makes me so cynical. I did not come away from reading this feeling "hopeful".
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Format: Paperback
Those of us who have been keeping a wary eye on the Emerging Church know that to understand the movement we must understand Brian McLaren. Though it is not quite fair to label him the movement's leader, he certainly functions as its elder statesman and his writing seems to serve as a guide or compass for the movement. Where he leads, others follow. And so it is with interest that I turned to <em>Everything Must Change</em>. This book is shaped by two preoccupying questions: what are the biggest problems in the world and what does Jesus have to say about these global problems? They are valid questions and probably questions to which Christians should devote more attention. In this book McLaren address them head-on.

According to McLaren, we live in a societal system consisting of three subsystems: the prosperity, equity and security systems. These are all guided by a framing narrative. The world was made in such a way that these should function in perfect harmony as they are guided by God's framing story, but unfortunately they have become misaligned so they no longer function as they should. When the framing narrative is destructive, this system can go suicidal, ultimately self-destructing. This is society as we know it now--a society that is completely suicidal. And this is the problem Jesus came to address. Having thought long and hard about the world's problems, McLaren says this: "Our plethora of critical global problems can be traced to four deep dysfunctions, the fourth of which is the lynchpin or leverage point through which we can reverse the first three." These three crises are linked in a very tightly integrated system that functions as this "suicide machine.
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