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Brian's Blog

  • August 26, 2016

    Clergy Pedophilia to White Privilege

    For centuries, Christianity has been presented as a system of beliefs. That system of beliefs has supported a wide range of unintended consequences from colonialism to environmental destruction, subordination of women to stigmatization of LGBT people, anti-Semitism to Islamophobia, clergy pedophilia to white privilege.

    - The Great Spiritual Migration (available September 20, 2016)

    Tour info here: http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/schedule/current-schedul/


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  • August 25, 2016

    Called in the same direction ...

    Like flocks of geese migrating in distinct V’s from different starting points, we are being called in the same direction.

    - The Great Spiritual Migration (available September 20, 2016)

    Tour info here: http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/schedule/current-schedul/


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  • August 24, 2016

    A big dose of nostalgia?

    When a culture needs wise spiritual guidance the most, all it gets from many religious leaders is a big dose of nostalgia. - The Great Spiritual Migration (available September 20, 2016)

    Book info here: http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/books/brians-books/

    Tour info here: http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/schedule/current-schedul/


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  • August 23, 2016

    A regressive turn in religion ...

    In times of rapid and ambiguous change, a regressive turn in religion may be understandable, but it is even more tragic. - from The Great Spiritual Migration (available September 20, 2016)

    For book tour information ...


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  • August 22, 2016

    Q & R: Every 500 years?

    Here's the Q:

    Hi- I'm teaching a worship class this year and I'm using some of Brian's articles along with Phyllis Tickle's book (Emergence Christianity). Do you know where I can get a chart that depicts the "Everything changes every 500 years" idea?

    Here's the R:
    There's a timeline I've used for years to talk about key transitions that works will with Phyllis' schema. My "hinge" dates are 2000 BC (invention of writing), 500 AD (fall of Roman Empire), 1500 AD (beginning of modern era), and 2000 AD (postmodern transition). I don't include the Great Schism (c 1000) as she did, but it could easily be added. You'll find my slides here.

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  • The Great Spiritual Migration Tour (USA) - for pastors and lay leaders

    The Christian story, from Genesis until now, is fundamentally about people on the move—outgrowing old, broken religious systems and embracing new, more redemptive ways of life. It’s time to move again. In his new book, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World's Largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to be Christian, Brian McLaren invites you to seize the moment and set out on the most significant spiritual pilgrimage of our time: to help Christianity become more Christian.

    Join us for “An Afternoon with Brian McLaren,” a leadership-oriented gathering for clergy and lay leaders hosted in seventeen cities around the US. This gathering will run from 1:00-4:30 p.m. and requires a ticket. ($99 for individuals, $60 for groups of four to nine, $50 for ten or more.) More information here.

    The ticket for the afternoon event includes a free copy of Brian’s newest book for the first 24 registrants in each city ($15.75 value). Participants will also receive the following:
    Free downloads of exciting new music for your congregation from the Convergence Music Project. A free download of Brian’s Through-the-Bible podcast (a $25 value) and audio Bible Overview series (a $100 value). Access to other free and discounted resources.
    If you would like to come but can’t afford the registration, just email info@brianmclaren.net for scholarship information.

    Then at 7:30 p.m., invite everyone for a reading and presentation from Brian on The Great Spiritual Migration. There is no cost for this evening event. Brian will be available to sign copies of his book, which you can purchase at the event.

    Who Should Attend: If you’re a long-time fan of Brian’s work, this will be an ideal opportunity to hear his latest thinking. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, this will be an excellent introduction. The afternoon is geared toward Christian pastors and lay leaders, but faith leaders from other traditions will also find the afternoon relevant, practically helpful, and inspiring. And all are invited to the evening session.

    Schedule: We’re packing the maximum amount of value into the half-day seminar. Here’s what’s planned:

    Introduction: My Migration and Yours: After leading in an opening exercise of prayer and reflection, you'll be introduced to the concept of migration.

    Session 1: Your Personal Migration: You'll think through your own process of spiritual migration so far, and imagine what's next. Plus - Q & R.

    Session 2: Your Congregational Migration: What are the options for your congregation as it moves into the future? This session will feature a pop-up interview and/or Q & R.

    Session 3: Your (trans)Denominational Migration: What role will denominations play in the years ahead? Also - Q & R.

    Conclusion: Brian will lead in a time of prayer, song, and meditation to end the day.

    For additional information, see brianmclaren.net.


    UK Readers: Brian in eight cities in the UK, October 7-17. You can find details here:
    Host cities include London, Exeter, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, and Harrogate.

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  • Q & R: Study Guide for The Great Spiritual Migration?

    Here's the Q:

    I'm guessing you are getting lots of inquiries on your new book, so I understand if you don't have time to answer this, but if you have time....

    I recommended your book to an awesome group of older women who have stumbled into progressive theology through their book studies. I'm hoping to bring a few to your event in Minneapolis in Sept. Wondering... will you have a study guide coming out on it?

    Here's the R:
    Better than a study guide - I included questions at the end of each chapter of The Great Spiritual Migration. So it's ready to go for a book study - and September 20 (the release date) is a good time for fall groups, I think.

    There are 10 chapters, plus a preface, introduction, and afterword. There are also three substantial appendices. So - the books could work for a 10 - 15 week study easily.

    If a group wanted to meet less frequently, the ten chapters are grouped in three sections, so folks could read (and the discuss online) and then come together three or four times to discuss the three sections and then maybe a recap or party at the end. (I think we need more parties!)

    It will be great to see your group in Minneapolis. If they're interested in the afternoon event, there are special group rates available that make it very affordable. Info here. Of course, the evening event is free - we'll have a great time at both events.

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  • August 21, 2016

    A beautiful piece of writing on beauty


    Beauty, perhaps most of all the beauty of love, is often God’s “impertinent” way of sneaking in the back door when all the other entrances are closed off—when we’ve closed them off, and that’s why, again, it’s so important in this world of so much loss.

    Thanks, Benjamin Self! More here -

    Be sure to read Part II too ...

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  • Scratch an Evangelical

    Scratch an Evangelical, you might say, and underneath the paint you’ll often find a fundamentalist seeking a little room to grow. - The Great Spiritual Migration (coming September 20, 2016)


    Tour info here: http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/schedule/current-schedul/

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  • August 19, 2016

    Q & R: Your book tour in the UK?

    Here's the Q:
    I heard about your book tour in the US. It sounds fascinating. The only problem is that I live in England. Any chance of your bringing it over here?

    Here's the R:
    In just over a month I'll begin a tour of 16 US cities ... with an afternoon event/experience for pastors and other leaders, and a free evening open-to-the-public event. I'll be in Seattle/Tacoma, Portland, San Francisco, Encino/LA, San Diego, Phoneix, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, and Minneapolis on the first leg of the tour, and then in Nashville, Charlotte, Atlanta, Boston, New York, and DC/Baltimore the second leg in early November.

    In between, I'll be in eight cities in the UK, October 7-17. You can find details here:
    I'll be in London, Exeter, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, and Harrogate.

    I do look forward to seeing you in October!

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  • August 18, 2016

    More on Naked Spirituality - plus a generous gift:

    A reader writes:

    I heard Brian speak in September 2015 and talked to him after his workshop on Naked Spirituality. I have found the workshop and the book so helpful!

    This fall I am leading a small study group on the book for my church. Therefore, I have been making some summary and outline charts of the book to give people an overview. (As a person with some mild ADD, and also being a poor auditory learner, I have to write everything down or I can’t remember and keep things straight. So, over the years I've made lots of charts for things that I want to remember because of their importance.)

    Anyway, I have no idea if you would ever have any use for these summary charts, but I have attached the charts for you. It’s my way of saying “Thanks, Brian!”

    Your approach to prayer is practical and simple, yet has great depth with profound and fresh ideas. The book has transformed my prayer life, and for the first time in 66 years I can say I have a regular, meaningful, and yes, fun, prayer life that I look forward to. I think the chapters and prayers in the Perplexity section are the best I have ever read — and I mean EVER! Frankly, the book is worth buying just for that section alone! However the whole book is wonderful! I really think the first 3 chapters have helped me be much more aware of God and thus to be thankful and in awe of God and Life throughout the day — and that is actually saying a lot as I have had depression much of my life, and a rather negative outlook in addition.

    Keep writing and speaking, Brian! Your insights and voice are desperately needed in the faith community! I will keep praying for you!

    Thanks so much for this encouragement!
    It comes at a good time - after yesterday's post where I referred to Naked Spirituality.
    I'm happy to share this helpful chart here:
    Download file

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  • Q & R: Resource after We Make the Road by Walking?

    Here's the Q:

    As a pastor, I’ve been leading a weekly group called “Walking Together” for 2 years using Brian’s book “We Make the Road by Walking.” We love it – both the content and the format! But we’re coming to the end of the 2nd year using the same book. We may want to try something new. So, any suggestions as to another similar resource to use as we keep “walking together?” Our format is as follows: we start each week by sharing where we are in life, we read the recommended scriptures, read aloud the chapter, and answer the questions, followed by communion. Thanks.

    Here's the R:
    First, I'm so glad you've found WMTR helpful. I just heard that the publisher is considering creating a year-long daily devotional based on the book. Exciting!

    As for a follow up to WMTR, here's an idea. My book Naked Spirituality is built around 12 simple words.

    You could take one each month and simply work with it. There are two chapters for each word, so you could use one each week. You'll find discussion resources here:

    Then on the third week, you could practice the body prayers (Appendix B) ... perhaps practicing one and reviewing the previous weeks. My friend Suzanne Jackson and I developed a beautiful set of videos to assist in this process - info here:

    On the fourth week, you could do a creative art project (collage, poetry, photography, songwriting, banner-making, etc.) around each word.

    Readers have been sharing resources on the book here:

    Your question gets me thinking about creating a special lectionary that could go along with the book. Maybe a project for some upcoming plane flights!

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  • August 16, 2016

    A reader writes: Malcolm Gladwell mentions you

    A reader writes:

    On the off chance that you are not aware of this episode of Malcolm Gladwell's podcast, I want to recommend it to you. It is no accident that its title echoes that of one of your books -- indeed, Gladwell specifically mentions you and your book at the end.

    Revisionist History: Generous Orthodoxy

    Thanks for letting me know. It's an honor to be a small part of such a moving podcast. What a great story about the Mennonite pastor!

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  • Q & R: Reading the Bible?

    Here's the Q:

    When we spoke a couple of months back you made a comment about how often people read the bible as a “law book.” And I agree with that - it happens way too often. A good part of my journey over the last ten years has been a deconstruction of Scripture, followed by a reconstruction of what I believe the Bible is. So here is my question:

    Have you written anywhere your view on the Bible? If not, would you care to reply with a brief explanation? I ask as I am taking our leadership through different ways of reading and interacting with Scripture. I am discovering a lot of good material - but always looking for more.

    Here's the R:

    - 4 resources that should be of help.

    1. We Make the Road by Walking is my attempt to give a reading of the whole Bible. You'll see me grapple with the most difficult passages there ...

    2. On my website, I offer commentary on the book that explores a bit more of the interpretive approach here:

    3. My upcoming book - The Great Spiritual Migration, especially Chapter 6 - is the best place to go. It will be out Sept. 20 -

    4. Also, A New Kind of Christianity has a whole section called "The Bible Question" that should be helpful.

    Thanks for this important question!

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  • August 15, 2016

    A Late Summer Read that I Would Wish On Anyone: Peter Enns' The Sin of Certainty

    This summer, I really enjoyed Peter Enns' latest, The Sin of Certainty. My only complaint: why didn't Peter write this book years ago? (I'm joking, of course. It takes decades to be ready to write a book like this.) There was literally nothing like it available when I was in college, graduate school, and young adulthood ... and I went through so much spiritual agony and angst that Peter's gentle wisdom, humor, and understated brilliance could have saved me from. Even now, the book tells me I'm not alone in my struggle to redefine faith not as a list of beliefs, opinions, or thoughts, but as something bigger and deeper. What is that? You really should read The Sin of Certainty to find out.

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