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The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything Paperback – April 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Pastor and bestselling author McLaren (A New Kind of Christian) explores Jesus's teaching in this book, placing it in its Jewish context, analyzing its tenets and expression, and trying to work out how it should be lived today. McLaren starts with the assumption that the church may not have accurately understood Jesus's "secret message" (hidden "as a treasure one must seek in order to find"). He revisits the gospel material from a fresh—and at times radical—perspective. The church has focused on salvation as a means to "heaven after you die" for too long, according to McLaren; we should take Jesus at his word when he says "the kingdom of God is here now," and work to assist that kingdom by being peacemakers and loving others. McLaren admits to not exploring every topic here in depth, in an effort to keep the book brief, but he does an excellent job of capturing Jesus's quiet, revolutionary style—the prophet who spoke in parables, who didn't want people to talk about his miracles, who challenged established Jewish thought, and paradoxically found ultimate fulfillment and victory through death. Conservative evangelicals will be critical of some points (and there are weaknesses here), but this book will appeal to a broad spectrum of people who want to understand Jesus. (Apr. 4)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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
I much prefer Marcus Borg. Borg gives you the secrets on page one and continues to the end of his books enlightening, informing and inspiring and moving the book along.
All-in-all very readable, accessible and worth the read!
McLaren then suggests another filter: What if Jesus was a first century Jew? It is a filter that is worth considering (since Jesus obviously was Jewish and lived in the First Century AD). How are Jesus' teachings alike and how are they dissimilar from his contemporaries?
This book is not be popular with people who already like the filters they use and who see no need to attempt something new. I've been trying to follow Jesus for a long time now and I found this book helpful for my continuing journey.
I like McLaren's style of raising and asking questions, digging, searching, looking at the Jewishness of Jesus, the religious backdrop of prophet and priest of that history and context. This will be very helpful for people that consider Jesus a great teacher and or a prophet. He explores the political and social message of Jesus in a land that was occupied by Rome, the superpower of the day. I think that it is sometimes easy for us to read the Bible, consider the life of Jesus and even become followers today without fully grasping what that message meant to the hearers in Jesus' day. It was good to be reminded.
McLaren reflects on Jesus' private and public conversations, his parables, his language, his indirect or hidden approach that eventually becomes visible, that raise questions, that require further engagement not just the sharing of information. "This form of parable helps to shape a heart that is willing to enter an ongoing, interactive, persistent relationship of trust in the teacher." page 46. " It was the most religious who seemed to get the secret message of Jesus the least, and the least religious who seemed to get it the most." page 81.
What does this book say to us today? It raises the significant question, what does the Kingdom of God look like in the 21st century? How do we live out the life of God in every sphere of society today? If the Kingdom of God is in the midst of us today, what does it look like and when it comes, what can we expect? What is our role to play or where do we start? This book gives us some things to think about and to act upon.