Brian McLaren on Constructive Dialogue
“The Anglicans and Episcopalians have tremendous resources in liturgy and worship, and one group we all need to hear from are the Anabaptists, because they have a tradition of not killing each other. Presbyterians have a great intellectual life and a rigor in approaching the Bible, and the Catholic teachings on social justice should be adopted by everyone.
“The thing that gives me hope is that there’s an attitude among Christians on the ground where so many of us are sick of the kind of debates and fights that cause Christians to vilify one another.”
Such is the manner that Brian D. McLaren explains why he believes “denominations” do not have to be a “source of division, it can be a source of mutual interest and understanding.”
McLaren was recently interviewed by Jim Trageser of the North County Times, a daily newspaper that serves residents of North San Diego and Southwest Riverside counties. On February 12 and 13, he spoke at the 36th annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego at the First United Methodist Church in Mission Valley.
Mormons and McLaren
According to Trageser, “McLaren said even churches such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which many mainstream Christian denominations consider outside the Christian fold, should be welcomed.” McLaren continued, “Mormons would not endorse the historic creeds of the Christian Church. But on the other hand, I’ve had Mormon folks contact me who’ve read my books, and I’ve found nothing but openness and curiosity about what I’m saying.”
Responding to those coming from an unchurched background
McLaren is founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, a non-denomination church, began in 1986. As a pastor, McLaren explained, most of the people who came to Cedar Ridge seeking truth were from an unchurched background, not from another denomination. As a result, their questions were greatly different from those raised within a faith tradition. This experience caused McLaren to ponder and reflect on his own faith.
“When people are coming to the faith from outside it, a lot of it just doesn’t make sense. The more I considered their questions, the more I questioned my own faith. It created a crisis of faith for me —- I had to take apart my own theology, scrutinize it and put it back together again.
“That struggle, as I sensed the growing gap between where people in churches are and people outside churches are —- that became the struggle that was expressed in my first book.”
He stepped down from pastor in 2004 to devote time to writing and speaking. While McLaren remains a controversial figure among the Evangelical community, his message resonates greatly with a new generation of unchurched “spiritual seekers” that are considering what Christianity offers. Read the whole article here.