It's no secret that Brian McLaren is one of my favorite writers. When a friend recommended "A New Kind of Christian" to me years ago as being reflective of my own journey in following Jesus, I immediately knew I had found a close friend (only in writing; I've never met Brian, but I will use his first name a lot because McLaren is harder to type...). In the semi-fictional New Kind of Christian series, Brian introduces us to some characters that are grappling with following Jesus without the constructs of modernity. Some of his other books regurgitate earlier material, but last year's "Everything Must Change" is, I think, a groundbreaking work for what followers of Jesus ought to be doing in our world today.
So since I'm nearly finished reading the book, I want to spend some time blogging on it as a review for myself and hopefully a challenge for you, the 3.4 readers of this blog.
In chapter 1, Brian introduces some of his (awesome if you ask me) metaphors used throughout his speaking and writing. He talks about our "framing story" or worldview, or what Lesslie Newbiggen called "plausibility structures" as what really needs to change. Throughout the book he confronts us with places where we've bought into an unbiblical, even ungodly framing story and somehow baptized it with a few Christian pieces and claim it as belonging to Jesus.
He also uses the term "suicide machine" to describe the corrupt systems that infiltrate our world--particularly the economic, political and military systems--and reprograms them to work for evil instead of good. He alternatively uses "an undetected storm, an undiagnosed disease, an unacknowledged addiction, or a machine that has gone destructive" metaphors to describe "our plethora of critical global crises" in our world today.
What are those crises? Let's end today's post with Brian's list:
1. Environmental breakdown directly caused by corrupted, unsustainable economic systems in the suicide machine (prosperity crisis).
2. The huge and growing gap between rich and poor (equity crisis).
3. The danger of cataclysmic war we constantly live with (security crisis).
4. The failure of the world's religions to provide a framing story capable of healing or reducing the three previous crises (spirituality crisis).