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Showing 1-10 of 145 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 172 reviews
on May 18, 2015
I bought this book because of the unusual title and am glad I did. It teaches us that we need to see the world and our culture in a different light that what we have been taught. Makes me realize it's not me versus them and vice versa.
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on November 24, 2014
this book needs to be read by those who'd be reluctant to do so.
it does not preach "my way or the highway" but, instead, preaches "Jesus' way - and Moses' and the Buddha's and Mohammad's . . .

this will prickle many who want to be members of an exclusive club rather than an atom in a soup bowl. it is not a good book for the arrogant but is for those letting go to be humble.

I whole-heartedly recommend it to those who see the way they currently practice their faith as "the only way".

My criticism, as with any of the McLaren books I've read, is that he makes his point(s) well before the book is over and, in general, the second half of the book becomes redundant. Still - all good points to pound home.

And while McLaren preaches "benevolence" we think even that word comes from a slightly tolerant point of view rather than a open-hearted one. "Love" in fact would be the better replacement in our view.
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on October 9, 2013
"To accept and love God, must I betray my neighbor of another religion? To accept and love my neighbor, must I betray the God of my religion?"

The past couple of decades have been exceptional when it comes to religious diversity. Christianity is no longer the cultural norm in America. Incidents across the world have highlighted our many differences. How do Christians respond to Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and so on?

Brian McLaren's appropriately titled book Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? attempts to refocus our goals as followers of Christ.

From a purely historical and literary perspective, Jesus is a very interesting character. He spends almost his entire ministry with societal outcasts while specifically avoiding the religious authority of the day. Now fast forward over two thousand years, where do we find the followers of Jesus? Are they more concerned about loving people or staying in line with Christian values?

McLaren divides this book into four sections.

The Crisis of Christian Identity. Identify yourself as a Christian and you will unfortunately be labeled with several negative qualities. Regrettably, most of these perceived qualities have been earned by well-intended but severely misguided Christians. Just like the Pharisees found in the Gospels, Christians today have become more concerned about staying holy and not sinning that we forget to love our brothers and sisters on earth. To be strong Christians, we need humble hearts. To be strong Christians, we need to focus on loving others as an act of loving God. We will definitely receive reprimands from the Christian mainstream but as McLaren reminds us, "Crucifixion happens, not at the hand of others, but Us."

The Doctrinal Challenge and The Liturgical Challenge. These two sections were a bit weak in my opinion. I understand McLaren's desire to refocus our doctrines and liturgy so that we focus more on others and the love that God wants us to show. I liked the areas where I felt like he was correcting doctrinal misunderstandings, but I didn't like how he tried to change the entire focus of a tradition or sacrament. See chapter on baptism. I certainly don't disagree with his changes or adjustments, I just don't think the changes are the solution. There was not much tie in to the whole theme of the book.

The Missional Challenge. The best way to describe the challenge of being a Christian in a multifaith world can be summed up by Gandhi. One, be like Christ. Two, don't tone done your message. Three, center on love. Four, study non-Christian religions.

In conclusion, this is great book on religious diversity and more importantly, loving others. This is the book I think Rob Bell was trying to write when he penned Love Wins. Brian McLaren does a great job writing in simple and straightforward terms. He does not try to throw Greek words at you to prove a theological point. I look forward to reading more from McLaren in the future.
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on April 17, 2017
Interesting story of the author's move from evangelicalism to a more Jesus-oriented and directed faith. Good read for those of fundamentalist tradition. "What's new" for more progressive Christians.
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on December 12, 2013
A great and challenging book about spirituality. It challenges the importance of having a clear understanding of what Christianity and spirituality mean, going beyond a rigid and brutal set of beliefs or a watered-down acceptance of anything. While uncomfortable at times to see the damage that can be done in the name of religion, McLaren challenges the reader to listen and search for the value within the individual on another path. The notion that these four "leaders" of spiritual paths and religious beliefs would not only NOT kill each other, but that they could have a painfully real conversation about what religion could actually contribute to the world is essential in breaking the stalemate of arguing over the "right" way to interpret for ourselves and others.
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on November 8, 2013
Brian McLaren is a fresh voice among so many time worn repeated phrases. This particular text tackles the problem that many believers deal with. "How do they become more and more dedicated to Christ, while at the same time not turning into a great big jerk?" We follow a Messiah who was kind to Gentile (Roman) oppressors, to half breed "used women" (Samaritians), prostitutes and blue collar people, and he did so with love for these people. Somehow Jesus and his followers did what eludes so many who call themselves by the name of Christ. Brian's works (including this one) shines the light on a different way to see key theology, lituragy and practice. I hope he continues to deep deep into his spiritual well and share what he finds with the world.
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on December 3, 2014
McLaren demonstrates the courage to say what must and can be said, but he says it with deep knowledge of both Scriptures and Traditions. His writing brings a message for layperson and the scholar that both understand and does it with respect for both.
My faith is greater in so many ways from reading this spiritual book because it offers answers and clear wisdom about the challenges we all encounter daily. Here I have found an optimistic picture that can begin a shift in humanities shared life together keeping our faith paramount for all people.
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on March 28, 2015
Probably one of the most important and significant books I have read on what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Mr. McLaren clearly illustrates how our faith has been distorted into a hostile us vs. them doctrine far removed from the teachings of Jesus and the Bible. A serious must-read and study for anyone truly interested in professing themselves as a Jesus follower.
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on November 12, 2014
Controversial agenda but well intentioned. Book is well organized, using 4 Challenges to focus criticisms and proposed solutions. Catchy metaphor.
The only major criticism I have is that the references were used more for a "others are doing it" rather than facts supporting the foundational why of the recommended approach to improving Christianity. (For instance worldwide the gap between rich and poor is narrowing but he states the opposite without a supporting reference). Not sure that so many people are conflicted about their religious identity as to warrant naming a syndrome.

A minor criticism is inserting unsupported cliches such as attributing ecological damaging technology entirely to the "west."
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on May 31, 2017
There's really a lot in this book, and it's worth reading again and again. Our book club really had a great discussion after reading this!
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