The Secret Message of Jesus
In many ways, all of my previous books are a preparation for this one. It is aimed at a broad audience - including "spiritual but not religious" seekers, members of nonChristian religions, and Christian leaders and thoughtful Christians. It is an exploration of the real "passion of Christ," which is the message of the kingdom of God.
The Secret Message of Jesus is, based on all our feedback, Brian's best book ever for group studies. A wide variety of church groups, classes, and cohorts, plus mixed groups that include Christians and non-christians together, have found the book very effective at stimulating dialogue and deep engagement.
This chapter was part of the original manuscript of The Secret Message of Jesus (W Publishing Group, 2006). A number of readers of the pre-publication manuscript said they felt it alone was worth the price of the book. We decided to make it available here on the Internet. If you have already read the book, we hope this chapter will help you make the message of the book a part of your daily prayer life. And if you haven't read the book yet, we hope this chapter will interest you in reading the whole book. You are welcome to use this chapter in discussion groups, classes, etc. Thanks – Brian D. McLaren
A Note from Brian: This material was included in an early draft of The Secret Message of Jesus (W/Thomas Nelson, 2006), but I felt it went too far afield from the main subject and required a level of detail that wasn’t appropriate for the broad audience of that book. So, I wanted to make it available for friends of emergentvillage.com. Feel free to use it for discussion – charitable dialogue, not bitter argument! – but please do not take parts of it out of context. That would be unfair to me and the text (John 14:6) itself. If you duplicate it for a small group or class discussion, please only duplicate it in its entirety, with this introduction. See emergentvillage.com for more about this generative friendship for missional Christians.
You can download a study guide for the book to use individually or with a group.
The Secret Message of Jesus is currently available in eight languages: English, Dutch, German, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.
I received an email recently from someone I had spoken with in a recent speaking tour. He summarizes what a lot of people are feeling in response to the Secret Message of Jesus:
"... I think that we have reduced the Good news of the Kingdom of God to the OK-news. We have reduced the gospel to the dealing of our sins, and turning a blind eye to Jesus' invitation to be part of God's kingdom and establishing justice, peace and joy. ...
I think that as Christians we tend to abdicate our responsibility to look after the poor, the oppressed and the widow. We change the message so that it talks about the "spiritual" poor, oppressed and widow - because it's easier than to deal with the hard, real life realities. How wonderful it will be if all Christians would trade our small dreams of "making a difference" for God-sized dreams of "making this world different."
At times, the task seems so big and so overwhelming. I have to earnestly seek how I can follow in Jesus' footsteps personally and individually, and how as a leader and teacher I can extend Jesus' invitation to others. It is as if I have been lied to my whole life - as if I was only shown a little part of what Jesus did and invites us to. But I have made the decision that I will heed Jesus invitation to "seek the Kingdom of God..." Can it be that there really is a better way to live than to worry about what to eat and to worry? Can it be that my life can amount to more than my needs, my ambitions, and my wants? Can it be true that I can be a part of God's unveiling story of restoration?
It must be.
I dont really know where to go from here. But I guess that its part of the journey? Always seeking, always listening, and always responding to the call.