Wednesday, July 23, 2008

American Pastor Addresses Anglican's Lambeth Conference

This Lambeth update report came from the Walking with Integrity Lambeth update.
After reading the update I wanted to learn more about Dr. McClaren
so googled him and after the article, I have posted his biographical information obtained from his website,
by Louise Brooks, Integrity's Lambeth Press Officer . “Three or four years ago, I spied a book with an interesting title in a bookstore”, explained the Archbishop of Canterbury, as he introduced Dr. Brain McLaren, a nondenominational Maryland pastor and elder statesman of a movement called the “Emerging Church”. That book was titled, A GENEROUS ORTHODOXY “It had the longest subtitle I’ve ever seen,” he continued. (Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished CHRISTIAN.) “After I finished his book, I knew he was someone I wanted to speak to us here tonight.” . The title for McLaren’s talk this particular evening was somewhat shorter but still provocative: CHANGING CONTEXTS: BREAKING OPEN OUR MODELS OF EVANGELISM. His targets for this new model of evangelism are “those who never show up in churches; those who are created in the image of God but have never known the spirit of God.” . To a nearly SRO audience in the “big blue tent”, McLaren announced to the crowd, “We are called to create a new understanding and a new evangelism. Are we making disciples of reconciliation and transformation on earth.? Or, are we just selling tickets to heaven?” McLaren proposed that the Gospels gave us information on how to get to heaven but little information on how to live on earth. “On earth”, he pointed out, “is what The Lord’s Prayer talks about.” . McLaren defines evangelism as an outward mission and believes it is the only hope of saving the church from irrelevance. He urges the bishops and their spouses to be part of a paradigm shift where they preach a gospel of reconciliation and transformation by Jesus, rather than a gospel of “evacuation” which only includes some. When asked a question about how young Christians are affected by the decision to exclude Bishop Gene Robinson, McLaren said it is important to see how Christians love each other when they disagree. He also suggested that the issue of homosexuality be dealt with as missiological concern rather than a theological concern. McLaren’s greatest hope is that Christianity will become a movement rather than a religion. “What would happen if we rediscovered and reprioritized our mission to be the hands and feet and eyes and ears of Jesus in the world? What would happen if every Christian was a beacon of light and hope, not judgment? What would happen if we transformed the world with the message and teachings of Jesus Christ?” What would happen? Can our bishops make that happen? Only time will tell.

Brian D. McLaren

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, pastor, and networker among innovative Christian leaders, thinkers, and activists.

He is a frequent guest on television, radio, and news media programs. He has appeared on many broadcasts including Larry King Live, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and Nightline. His work has also been covered in Time (where he was listed as one of American's 25 most influential evangelicals), Christianity Today, Christian Century, the Washington Post, and many other print media.

Born in 1956, he graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in English (BA, summa cum laude, 1978, and MA, in 1981). His academic interests included Medieval drama, Romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr. Walker Percy. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

From 1978 to 1986, McLaren taught college English, and in 1982, he helped form Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region ( He left higher education in 1986 to serve as the church's founding pastor and served in that capacity until 2006. During that time, Cedar Ridge earned a reputation as a leader among emerging missional congregations.

Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors since the mid 1980's, and has assisted in the development of several new churches. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer at seminaries and denominational gatherings, nationally and internationally. His public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, evangelism, leadership, global mission, spiritual formation, worship, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, ecology, and social justice.

McLaren's first book, The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix, (Zondervan, 1998, rev. ed. 2000) has been recognized as a primary portal into the current conversation about postmodern ministry. His second book, Finding Faith (Zondervan, 1999), is a contemporary apologetic, written for thoughtful seekers and skeptics. His third book, A New Kind of Christian (Jossey-Bass/Leadership Network, 2001) further explores issues of Christian faith and postmodernity, and won Christianity Today's "Award of Merit" in 2002. His fourth, More Ready Than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix (2002) presents a refreshing approach to spiritual friendship. A is for Abductive (coauthored with Dr. Leonard Sweet, Zondervan, 2002) and Adventures in Missing the Point (coauthored with Dr. Anthony Campolo, Emergent/YS, 2003) explore theological reform in a postmodern context, and a sequel to A New Kind of Christian, entitled The Story We Find Ourselves In (Jossey-Bass, 2003), seeks to tell the Biblical story in a new context. He is one of five co-authors of Church in the Emerging Culture (Emergent/YS, 2003).

His 2004 release, "A Generous Orthodoxy" (Emergent/YS/Zondervan), is a personal confession and has been called a "manifesto" of the emerging church conversation. The conclusion to the A New Kind of Christian trilogy was released in 2005, entitled "The Last Word and the Word After That" (Jossey-Bass).

"The Secret Message of Jesus" (W, April 2006), explores the theme of the kingdom of God in the teachings of Jesus. "This book was written for a broad audience," he explains, "from the spiritual-but-not-religious to Christian pastors and leaders. Everything I've written to this point has been a preparation for this book."

His books have been or are being translated into many languages, including Korean, Chinese, French, Swedish, Norwegian, and Spanish. He has written for or contributed interviews to many periodicals, including Leadership, Sojourners, Worship Leader, and Conversations. Many of his articles are available at He is also a musician and songwriter.

He is on the international steering team and board of directors for emergent, a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders (, He is also active in global networking among emerging leaders (

He serves as a board chair for Sojourners/Call to Renewal (, and is a founding member of Red Letter Christians, a group of communicators seeking to broaden and deepen the dialogue about faith and public life. He is also a board member for "Orientacion Cristiana," and formerly served on the boards of International Teams ( in Chicago, Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle (, and Off The Map ( He has taught or lectured at several seminaries in the U.S. and abroad.

Brian is married to Grace, and they have four young adult children. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, and his personal interests include ecology, fishing, hiking, music, art, and literature.

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