Brian McLaren

Brian D. McLaren is a best-selling author, speaker, activist and networker among innovative faith leaders. A former pastor, he has written 15 books, including The Great Spiritual Migration. He is an Auburn Senior Fellow, living in Florida.

Posts By This Author

Budgets Are Still Moral Documents

by Brian McLaren 02-28-2011
The "What Would Jesus Cut?" campaign, launched by Jim Wallis and the good people of Sojourners, assumes that

What Does Violence in the Bible Tell Us About God?

by Brian McLaren 01-03-2011

I recently received a note from a pastor and missionary we'll call Pete.

Is God Violent?

by Brian McLaren 01-01-2011
What does the violence in the Bible tell us about the nature of God?
mjones / Shutterstock

mjones / Shutterstock

I recently received a note from a pastor and missionary we'll call Pete. It went like this: "I have read most of what you have written, including A New Kind of Christianity ... I would say I am in agreement with [much of what you write], but I do think you bring disservice to this argument in the evangelical world when you shun the 'violence' of God and the subsequent need for the cross' justification, which was also quite violent."

He continued: "You have a lot to say to the church, but when you make these kind of statements that don't really appear to hold weight under the plethora of biblical examples, it mutes your voice. The fact is the Old Testament is a God-ordained bloody mess, and the cross is the ultimate expression of it. This only highlights God's holiness, and when we try to mitigate this reality to save him from a secular mind, we mitigate the power of the cross as well, and end up with a less powerful narrative."

I don't know which shocks you more -- that I would question God's violence, or that Pete would defend it. My guess is that nearly all of us would be shocked one way or the other.

If you ask why this question is so important, I think "Sept. 11" is a good answer. Since then, we've been marinating in the issue of religious violence, day after day. One day we see a shaky video from the Middle East featuring terrorists blowing up a humvee, with shouts of "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is great!") in the background. Another day we hear a famous Christian televangelist say, "Blow them all away in the name of the Lord." Another day we read about Israel Defense Forces destroying the homes of Palestinians, defending their actions on the grounds that God promised them the land 4,000 years ago. And the day after that, we hear another Christian televangelist defending their actions, and urging the U.S. to join Israel in a war against Iran.

A lot is at stake.

American 'Exceptionalism' Can Degenerate Into Superiority

by Brian McLaren 12-03-2010
There has been a fascinating and important dialogue going on this week over at the Washington Post's On Faith

What I've Been Reading This Year

by Brian McLaren 09-29-2010
What a great year for books. I've been enjoying some new ones and some old ones lately. Here are a few in various categories.

Post-Colonial Theology

by Brian McLaren 09-15-2010
[Editor's Note: Emergent Village will be hosting its annual Theological Conversation this year in Atlanta, Ge

Flipped: A Film Review

by Brian McLaren 09-08-2010

A lot of contemporary movies picture American suburban life as banal, hypocritical, and morally bankrupt -- a deceitful place where manicured landscapes and plastic surgery cover up empty, desperate realities.

We Need a Clean Energy Conversion

by Brian McLaren 08-10-2010
We need a clean energy conversion.

The Importance of Being Engineers

by Brian McLaren 07-16-2010
I often say that one of my favorite parts of being a pastor for 24 years was pronouncing the benediction each week at the end of gathered worship.

11 Women Writers You Should Be Reading

by Brian McLaren 07-12-2010
Here are some of my favorite women writers of spirituality and theology in no particular order with short comments on why I recommend them.

Subscribe