Brian McLaren – A Gracious Man

kinnon —  July 4, 2006 — 4 Comments

I’ve heard Brian speak a number of times, have been involved in interviewing him (with Imbi) on two occasions and, although I may not agree with all he writes, I’ve found him to be one of the gentlest people I’ve ever met. He epitomizes the gracious Christian. When I grow up, I want to be like him. (I’m actually a year older than Brian – and have little hope of ever growing up.)

Yet McLaren is the target of vicious attacks, regularly, from those who claim to be followers of Christ. He’s called every manner of heretic possible – from many who only know his writing through the often ill-informed opinions of others. And some of his internet critics refuse to confront him even when they are in the same room and there’s an open forum to ask questions. (If you follow the link, read the first ten or so comments.)

Brian pens A Friendly Note to His Critics:

I hope that if you are among my good Christian critics, you will aspire to be a good Christian in the way you respond to my writings, even if you think I am a bad Christian for what I write or the questions I raise. We have a chance to model constructive dialogue rather than the religious bickering which has too often characterized all our religious communities. Even if I am as wrong you think I am, what good would it be to prove a wrong person wrong if in the process right people prove themselves mean-spirited, unfair, unreflective, inaccurate, dishonest, or hypocritical?

One final request. I hope that none of us will spend so much time in internal debate about our beliefs that we neglect putting our beliefs into action. It would be tragic for both you and me if our differences distracted us and others from what religion is supposed to be about: helping widows and orphans and others in need, and keeping ourselves “unspotted from the world,” as James says.

Read the whole thing, please.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

4 responses to Brian McLaren – A Gracious Man

  1. Well, the fat girl with the braces should not be judged for her outward appearance. And even if she seems naive or awkward or misinformed we should give her the benefit of the doubt and treat her well–with love, as Jesus would.

    If she is about to lead the younger kids out in front of moving bus, however…

    We need to rebuke her, try to turn her around. Brian is nice on the outside, and a very gentle and kind man. I would love a father who acted like he does.

    The problem is, though the tree is beautiful, it’s poison at the roots. A man who is inspired by Hans Frei and Karl Barth and yet disdains the label, “liberal.” He allows evolution, lesbian pastors, and even other religions as true, yet he is not a universalist?

    He denies the inerrancy of scripture and yet he is a Christian who quotes the Bible when it serves his purposes.

    What are we to think?

  2. Reading Frei and Barth makes one a liberal? Your theological degree is from where, sir? And as to your concluding statement…thinking would be a good idea.

    Forgive me, I’m not as gracious a man as our brother, Brian. But then, neither are you, sir.

  3. Hey, just because you like the guy and he hasn’t ever done anything to “wrong” you as the “mainstream” “conservative” mega church has, doesn’t mean that he’s all that.

    “He allows evolution, lesbian pastors, and even other religions as true, yet he is not a universalist?”

    if those statements are true, I’d sure be wary of the guy. The bible is pretty clear on all of those matters. There only is one way.

  4. “If those statements are true” would be right on the money, Mick. They aren’t.

    And what does “he hasn’t ever done anything to “wrong” you as the “mainstream” “conservative” mega church has” have to do with anything at all. Where I come from, we’d call that a cheap shot. But perhaps that wasn’t your intent.

    Have you actually ever read any of Brian’s writings? Or do you just believe what you read in blog comments.


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