I first heard of Brian McLaren 15 or 20 years ago when I was looking into the fast-spreading phenomenon known as the Emergent Church Movement. McLaren was sort of the guru of that Christian movement with roots in the evangelical branch of the faith but with hopes to focus less on personal salvation and more on being a healing presence in a wounded world.
He's written several important books to help guide struggling churches, and I've reviewed several of them, most recently here last year when I wrote about his book The Great Spiritual Migration.
McLaren is a church voice well worth hearing. And I'm really glad to be able to tell you that he's coming to my own church, Second Presbyterian of Kansas City, Sept. 16 and 17 and that you're invited to hear him. Here is Second's Facebook page giving details of times.
As I've mentioned several times before, this year marks the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation, and many Protestant denominations have been experiencing decline in recent decades. People have earned a pile of doctorate degrees trying to explain why that's happening and what can be done about it.
As I quoted McLaren in my review of his latest book, "It is tempting to leave Christian faith altogether. But there is a treasure hidden in its field, and I want to assure you that you have permission to shovel away the distractions and rediscover the precious gift that has for too long been buried."
Like much of our culture in this post-modern, even post-Christian era, the church is feeling its way forward (and sometimes backward) but not in the dark. It knows where (and who) light is. McLaren may help Christians find it anew.
(The photo of McLaren at right is one I took a few years ago when he spoke at Jacob's Well Church in Kansas City.)
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P.S.: I'm in Arkansas for a few days with my bride and some friends to take a breather at the end of summer, so you won't find the usual second item on the blog today. I plan to be back to regular blogging on Tuesday, assuming I can escape Arkansas in one piece.