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This is the last in a series of three responses to Brian McLaren's book, A New Kind of Christian (Jossey-Bass), followed by some concluding reflections from McLaren.
Recently I received this email from a youth pastor:
Tony, Thanks for your advice … I am kinda discouraged because I have been finding a ton of opposition to the whole postmodern movement—people are just misinformed, from that they misunderstand, and then they base their whole view of judgment on one thing. I have given several people in my church (including my pastor) a copy of McLaren's New Kind of Christian. My friends love it, but everyone else hates it. I've heard everything from "liberal" to "satanic" to "heresy." They're all looking at it from modern eyes. They accept some of it, but, as you would guess, they are stuck on the Bible issue and the "one-way-ness" of Christ. They see the book as taking a stance that it obviously does not take. They say that it is submerged in culture instead of trying to minister to culture. Is this normal, or is it just that I'm in the South?
I have had several talks with my pastor (we usually agree on most things), and they haven't been great. He just told me that he could not support or allow me to use my budgeted money to go to the Emergent Village conference in Houston [at which McLaren spoke]. So that leaves me, a minister who is also married and a college student, to come up with that kind of money. I want to go very badly, but I just don't think we can afford it. I feel like I'm alone and maybe I missed something! Hopefully you can relate. I truly feel like I have finally found my faith again, but everyone else seems bent on destroying it. Sorry if I rambled. Thanks for your comments. Nate
If it weren't about Brian McLaren's book, one might think this email came from McLaren's book, for it is the very dilemma of Nate's email that swirls around A New Kind of Christian—both between and beyond its covers. Within a number of evangelical organizations, the book has stirred ...