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Everything Must Change: When the World's Biggest Problems and Jesus' Good News Collide Paperback – August 31, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. McLaren, a leader in the emerging church, issues a salvo of arguments for radical hope in the face of profound dilemmas. The prolific author and pastor identifies the earth's four deep dysfunctions that have created a suicide machine: crises in prosperity, equity, security and spirituality. What could change, he asks, if we applied the message of Jesus—the good news of the kingdom of God—to the world's greatest problems? Here McLaren builds on the theme of his 2006 book The Secret Message of Jesus—that bringing about the kingdom means transforming the world we live in—to propose that we create a hope insurgency. Using a close reading of the Gospels to challenge conservative evangelicals' emphasis on individual salvation, not to mention end-times theology and, by implication, the prosperity gospel, McLaren argues for establishing a beloved community based on justice, peace, equality and compassion. McLaren's conclusions are not new, but his ability to be clear and persuasive—and get the attention of a segment of America's Christians—are exceptional. While his critics will find yet more material for challenging McLaren's views, his supporters will consider this book a riveting call to a new conversion. (Oct. 2)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Brian D. McLaren (MA, University of Maryland) is an author, speaker, activist and public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian pastored Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. Brain has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors for over 20 years. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings in the US and internationally.
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Top Customer Reviews
More importantly, I’d like to see it in the hands of every “young” person between 18 and 30. I totally believe the future of the world as we know it depends on the issues addressed in this book.
“Everything Must Change” is written by a Christian, predominately to a Christian audience (although many fundamentalists doubt this target audience is “Christian” to begin with). But, the issues and principles here apply to every human on the face of the planet. And they effect every human and non-human on the face of the planet.
Some issues covered are:
* The Prosperity Crisis – Environmental breakdown caused by our unsustainable global economy. One that does not respect environmental limits, while creating great wealth for about one third of the world’s population.
* The Equity Crisis – There’s a growing gap between the ultra-rich and the extremely poor, most of whom are growing in envy, resentment and hate of the rich. The rich become fearful and angry as they seek to protect their wealth.
* The Security Crisis – The danger of war arising from resentment between the groups at opposite ends of the economic spectrum.
* The Spirituality Crisis – This is the failure of the world’s religions (especially Christianity and Islam) to provide a framing story that could bring healing or at least reduction to, the previous three crises.
This is another book that will help readers see how we’ve misconstrued so many of Jesus’ teachings. Brian helps us to hear Jesus’ words more in alignment with how his first listeners heard them. We see that we have a “framing story” that desperately needs changed. So we revisit “the essential message of Jesus.” In doing so, we re-examine metaphors like “The Kingdom of God.” We consider our human situation in connection with the message and purpose of Jesus
In one section, Mr. Mclaren likens our past religious attempts at understanding to those of someone piecing together a puzzle. We’re trying to fit it all together according to the picture on the lid. The problem is, we have the wrong lid!
In chapter 4, a young man from Khayelitsha, South Africa, delivers a very weighty message to a group of pastors and evangelists from America. It is a message every pastor and evangelist needs to hear. If you’re a “missionary,” please read this chapter. Even if you don’t want to buy the book, borrow it from the library. Borrow it from me. Just read this chapter.
It seems many people shy away from politics and religion. As Brian states, “A lot of us are very happy to go through life knowing as little as possible about economics, politics, and ecology.” The thing is, these are both the problem, and part of the solution. For me personally, my politics are intrinsically tied to my faith in Christ. Yes, we pray. But then we help bring God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven” by taking action: Action that can help bring about equality, justice, and environmental responsibility. I believe a proper look at the teachings of Jesus will reveal that very thing.
This was my 9th Brian McLaren book. My “Comrades” and I are getting ready, as a group, to read Brian’s latest, “We Make The Road By Walking.”
If you’re someone who cares about the future of your children, your children’s children, and so on; I would suggest you read “Everything Must Change” and seriously consider the message it contains.
- Not only am I often unsatisfied with conventional answers, but even worst, I’ve consistently been unsatisfied with conventional questions.
- Part of what it means to be “a new kind of Christian” is to discover or rediscover what the essential message of Jesus is about.
- Many of our religious institutions have taught us to see no horizon for the message of Jesus beyond the soul of the individual.
– The way of the kingdom of God calls people to a higher concern than self- or national interest: namely, concern for the common good.
- We can no longer deal with global problems as discrete unrelated issues.
- Jesus bursts on the scene with this scandalous message: The time has come! Rethink everything! A radically new kind of empire is available.
- Theocapitalists have tended to see the rich as morally good and the poor as morally culpable for their own poverty.
– Many of our current eschatologies, intoxicated by dubious interpretations of John’s Apocalypse, are not only ignorant and wrong, but dangerous and immoral.
- We don’t have a violent “Second Coming” Jesus who finishes what the gentle “First Coming” Jesus failed to do, but we have a poetic description of the way the gentle First Coming Jesus powerfully overcomes through his nonviolent “weakness”, a prince of peace whose word of reconciliation is truly mightier than Caesar’s sword.
Whether or not you agree with McLaren theologically, these are questions that churches and their partitioners need to be asking themselves: how do we effect the environment? How do we effect inequality? I would encourage anyone to read this book and I hope that we all can look beyond our theological differences to address the problems and questions that the world is experiencing and asking.
It seems to me that McLaren is a whole lot closer than most of what comes out of traditional pulpits today: "be good, stay clean, give your tithes, see you in Heaven." Jesus' teachings were radical and far-reaching, and that's what McLaren is trying to tell us. What other than a radical, far-reaching Christianity could save this world???
I'm not saying I'm a convert to so-called emerging Christianity, but the teachings of this author and this book are SPOT ON.
Since change is the essential constant of life, this is a book that can envision for most people how we can and need to change our would for the better.