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
An Atheist's Praise of Evangelism in Africa
The Green Bible
When the editors of The Green Bible asked to include an essay of
Obama's Ethic of Responsibility
Be a Friend to Yourself and the World
Orgy of Greed, Action Without Forethought
Hard Data on the Shifting Evangelical Ethos
A 'Postmodern Negro' Perspective on Not Voting
I'm voting in this election, not with naivete but with sincere enthusiasm. Not with any messianic hopes, but with a deep sense of moral responsibility as a shareholder or steward of the richest, most dominant, and most well-armed nation in the world. I had another long talk with a friend a couple weeks back who, on religious grounds, is passionately against voting. He had read my earlier posts on the [...]
Mal-Engagement, Disengagement, and Wise Engagement
I understand the sentiments shared by many voters in the recent Pew poll on faith and politics. The Chicago Tribune reports:
Social conservatives are growing more wary of church involvement in politics, joining moderates and liberals in their unease about blurring the [...]
Prophetic Distance and the Perils of Picking a Winner
I like winning, but I've done a lot of losing in my life, especially when it comes to voting. I've got a pretty good track record of picking losers.
But recent history tells us that picking winners in presidential elections has its own dangers.
What happens if the presidential candidate you prefer wins this fall?
As a Christian and citizen, you owe the winning candidate -- whoever he is (we've only got "he's" left this time around) -- the gift of what my friend Jim [...]
What Is Your Vote Based On?
All of us who choose to vote must base our vote on something.
For some people, it's party. They're Democrats or Republicans and from election to election, they support whomever the party serves up. For others, it's a litmus-test issue -- abortion, homosexuality, war, whatever. For others, it's fear or hope or some other "gut-level" appeal -- whoever scares or inspires them the most gets their vote. And for still others, it's a "group thing" -- they belong to a group (a race, a [...]
Voting is Never Uncritical, Unqualified, nor Unconditional
I've been blogging lately about faith, politics, and voting. In a recent post, I reflected that this election season will require us to have thousands of conversations, millions even -- around dinner tables, sitting at the beach, during hikes and boat rides, online, in church fellowship halls, and parking lots -- about truly important issues for us as Americans and as Christians. We'll need to talk [...]
To Vote or Not to Vote
Some folks I've talked to are not going to vote in the 2008 elections. Some are disillusioned. Some don't like either candidate enough to vote. For some, not voting is an act of protest against the whole system, which they believe is hopelessly corrupt. Some believe that their citizenship in God's kingdom means they shouldn't become involved in "earthly" citizenship.
While I respect my friends who aren't going to vote -- especially those who have prayerfully thought the decision [...]
A friend of mine recalls a dinner-table conversation one day when she was a schoolgirl. Her dad had come home unusually frustrated from his job as a city planner. "D#@*$% environmentalists!" he said over dinner. "Dad, I thought you were an environmentalist," she said. "Why are you so upset?"
"All day long," he answered, "environmentalists come to me with problems and complaints, and business people come to me with ideas and projects. Why can't the environmentalists be proactive [...]
A Call for Evangelical Rhetorical Accountability
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA.org) was launched in 1979, in response to growing concern "over an increase of [sic] questionable fund-raising practices in the nonprofit sector." As their Web site explains, Sen. Mark Hatfield challenged "a group of key Christian leaders" to begin policing their own mission agencies as a kind of "Christian Better Business Bureau."
Perhaps 30 years later, evangelicals, because of "an increase in [...]
Fearsome, Fearless, and Fearful
I've remarked to a number of friends lately that there seem to be three main kinds of religious people in the world.
First, there are the fearsome -- those who like to make others afraid.
Second, there are the fearless -- those who refuse to be intimidated by the fearsome.
Then in the middle are the fearful -- those who are afraid to associate with the fearless because they might incur the ire of the fearsome.
Holding 9/11's Emotions Up to the Light of God
All of us remember this day, where we were when we heard the news, our feelings, our fears. There has been a lot of controversy about how the memory of this day has been or is being used or misused for political purposes, but I always come back to one of my life mottoes: the best antidote to misuse is not disuse -- it is proper use.
In many ways we have run from the feelings of that day ... grief, grievance, unity, confusion, dislocation, vulnerability and solidarity. In [...]
N.T. Wright and Bart Ehrman Discuss Evil (Without Flaming)
It's true that the blogosphere has created space for some truly unremarkable interchanges to take place. You can't call them conversations or dialogues, both of which imply the occurrence of actual communication. I guess "mutual flaming" would be more descriptive.
But sometimes the blogosphere is used for substantive dialogue, and when that happens, it should be celebrated. A case in point - the recent Beliefnet dialogue between [...]
Engaging with "A More Perfect Union"
Like many (I hope most) people, I was deeply moved and impressed by Senator Obama's speech on race. Almost as interesting as the speech itself have been the responses to it, which usually come in the form of opinions:the speech was good or bad or didn't go far enough or went too far, and so on.
Opinions often don't tell us much about the content of the speech - it's truth, beauty, or goodness - they tell us more about the perspective, bias, fears, hopes, and interests [...]
Good News for Southern Baptists
As the nation's second largest denomination (after the Roman Catholic Church), Southern Baptists have been given much, so their potential to do good is considerable - as is the danger of missing opportunities to do good. Sadly, until now, constituents and leaders of the 16-million-member Convention have tended to lag behind other large Christian communities when it comes to addressing the issue of environmental stewardship in general and climate change in particular. But that may be [...]