Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope by Brian D. McLaren
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Global crisis has rarely been more obvious to the current generation as it is today. Ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Libia, and Afghanistan (even in light of the death of Osama Bin Laden) tell us of the evil that still lives in our world. As a people who long for justice, Christians rightly long for a day when all this will end. Paul compares the ache for peace and justice with the agony of a mother in childbirth. It is something we all share.
In his book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, Brian McLaren talks about his own journey in search of something to address the pain and suffering he witnessed firsthand. Convinced that the message of Jesus must have something to say about it, he interviewed people from many different nationalities and poured over the Scriptures, particularly the gospel accounts. Thus, what McLaren does in the book is offer what he describes as a “reframing” of the message of Christ in order to address the world’s ills.
Nearly a year ago I began to follow the moving and shaking that has been happening in the northern part of my state in a booming Christian congregation called Granger Community Church. A typical megachurch, Granger prides itself in being fully relevant to popular culture even to the extent of using Coldplay songs to headline services and basing sermons on popular movies, drawing out “spiritual themes” and applying them to the lives of Christians.
As a testimony to the belief in the method above the message, executive pastor Tim Stevens wrote a book called Pop Goes the Church: Should the Church Engage Pop Culture? to defend the church’s philosophy of taking pop culture as the driving force behind its weekly services rather than the good news of Jesus Christ.
Lacking theological basis, services at Granger lack the biblical substance, giving popular culture the center stage. Granger wrongly bases its success on the number of people in attendance, not on the strength of their belief. For the remainder of this post I will take chapter 8, titled “I’m Not a Theologian, But…” and address each of the ten points he tries to make to justify a position that the church should not only address popular culture, but completely embrace it.
Last night was my first experience of the blockbuster movie Avatar. The epic was a feast for the eyes, the ears, and the nerves as I watched on the edge of my seat. Even with the obvious comparisons with Pocahontas and Fern Gully, it was a definite delight.
But Avatar is NOT Christian.
Rev. Roy Shaff apparently agrees, but thinks that it is a prime opportunity for “discussion” about “spiritual truths.” Rather than relying on the Bible (which is supposedly authoritative) to bring its own truth, Rev. Shaff advocates for taking this film as a primary source for discussion. In a post on his blog, he tries to pull out what he says are excellent discussion points that connect with the message in Scripture.
It has been said, “Never judge a book by it’s cover.” Yet even alone, some book covers cause so much difficulty they require special notice. After all, many more people are influenced by the cover of books as they glance over a bookstores wares than who actually read them. Last week (November 3, 2009), a “new” installment of the tripe that Joel Osteen calls “truth” graced the shelves of bookstores across the country. Having written two best-sellers that are essentially carbon copies of one another, any wise entrepeneur would make the third attempt to repackage the same refuse and sell it yet again.
If you want to know what Christianity is, take a look at this:
Chris Rosebrough does a critique of this lecture on his program, Fighting for the Faith.