I tried to read Brian McLaren once and just didn’t want to. It was some sort of fictional dialog between a successful pastor who found himself dissatisfied with his (financially solvent) life (not someone I can have much sympathy for) getting spiritual and intellectual direction from an African-American wise man named “Neo” (no not Morpheus, remember, but Neo).
John Barach has read some of his work. Here are some of his reviews:
So I was rather surprised how much I appreciated this column. It starts off rather mundanely:
I recently heard a provocative interview between Chicago pastor Bill Hybels and British filmmaker Richard Curtis. You will probably know of Curtis’ work, even if you don’t know his hame: “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill,” “Love Actually,” “The Girl in the Cafe,” the Mr.
What you may not know is Curtis’ pivotal role in raising awareness and money regarding poverty, HIV, refugees, and other crises in our world today.
It goes on to talk about Curtis’ good deeds and finally reveals his motivation.
“The Sermon on the Mount is absolutely fundamental” to all of his motivation to use his wealth and influence on behalf of the poor and marginalized.
He described it as “the truest thing” he had ever read.
I know that Curtis may not be following some essential features of the Sermon on the Mount in any number of ways (namely acknowledging Jesus’ Lordship). Still, I found this all quite refreshing. The Sermon on the Mount is not supposed to repel people as an impossible burden, but to draw people and show them the beauty of being Jesus’ disciple.
It is a sad and tragic thing that this will be affirmed by McLaren and Curtis, while that desire for discipleship will be spit on as “legalism” and “covenantal moralism” by the new de facto leaders in the Reformed churches.