Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian by Brian McLaren

Review: The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian
Brian McLaren
Convergent Publishing

The Great Spiritual MigrationI hadn’t read anything from this author in quite a while and when I saw this book I decided to see what he had to say now.  McLaren communicates well and can be very convincing.  He hasn’t lost the touch over the years.  This book is engaging, thought provoking, and will make some folks unhappy.  That’s his style or at least what I have read it is.  This book is not just for those that identify as Christian.  And it’s my opinion that even an atheist might find this a good read.  

Each chapter can be read as a standalone, so start where you want after the preface.  Being a bit of a traditionalist I read front to back.  Most of the central thrust addresses what McLaren see as a religion bound by the rigid form of its own belief systems and unable or unwilling to meet the challenges of today.  As his title states, that same system is seeking change.  “A better way to be Christian” may not describe the changes sought, but we’ll let that go.  Have to sell the book, and there’s scads of them now all looking at the same topic with less optimistic titles.

Basically, what I see in this book is a return to the idea of love for all people and doing the right thing by those people which would include a broad range of targets for choosing the right thing to do.  The environment, political systems, religious systems, racial harmony, gender equality, business, liberation…  There’s no end to of ways to express love and all this from the Christian perspective.  
McLaren covers a lot of territory and in my opinion does it well. He includes not only a critique but suggestions for improvement.  That in itself is refreshing.  This book could trigger some very useful conversations among those that read it.  Things that still need plenty of talk, action, and new ways to go about whatever needs to be done.  Do I agree with all that he says?  Of course, not. 

That’s McLaren's gift, to challenge and explore.  I do think he pushes the language to emphasize a point.  Definitions are stretched to fit around some of his points.  His theology leaves a lot to be desired in some cases, in my opinion.  Those shortcomings do not disqualify all that he has to say.  And I think a lot of it needed to be said.  

I’d challenge you to read this book and give it some serious consideration.  Then you can do with it what seems appropriate to you.  

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

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