Today’s Charlotte Observer newspaper features a new Q&A interview with Brian McLaren (see the “Faith” section), conducted by the Observer’s Faith & Values reporter Tim Funk.
Welcome to all of you who read the interview and made your way here to the “Everything Must Change” Charlotte blog! From all of the local organizers here in Charlotte, I want to extend a warm welcome to all of you to join us this coming Friday and Satuday, February 1-2, at Area 15 in the Optimist Park neighborhood of Charlotte.
This is going to be more than just a book tour and more than just a series of talks from Brian McLaren! “Everything Must Change” Charlotte promises to be a unique experience featuring the visual art of Linnea Nilsen Capshaw, the original music of Tracy Howe, and the contributions and voices of local leaders — including plenty of opportunities for conversation and interaction with hundreds of participants, all enjoyed while drinking fair-trade coffee.
The $109 registration fee includes lunch on Saturday. Student rate is $79. Also, you can save $20 just by contacting the Charlotte Emergent Village cohort!
Also Saturday night, from 7:30-10:30 p.m. we’ll be hosting a FREE “Worship Party” featuring music by Tracy Howe, Andy Squyres, and kgb.
In the interview, Funk asks McLaren, “You say that many Christians should start by replacing the idea of getting themselves and others ’saved’ so they can go to heaven … with this idea of getting out there, in the here and now, and healing the hurts of the world. So when Jesus said, ‘As the father sent me, so I sent you,’ he was talking not really about conversions but about tackling the world’s crises — Is that right?”
McLaren answers, “Actually, I would put the two together. If we keep recruiting people to evacuate the earth, then every person who gets saved is, in some ways, taken out of the action. It’s like going to the bench of people who want to play in a football game and trying to recruit them to leave the (stadium) altogether. A better image would be: What Jesus is asking us to do is go into the stands and recruit some people to come on the field and join us to play. The recruiting of new disciples is really connected to wanting to make a difference in the world” (emphasis added).
In response to the question of “How would [or, perhaps, should] those people who come out of the stands proceed?” McLaren brings up politics, and says, “Jesus lived in a monarchy; we live in a democracy. So, Jesus never voted. But I think if he were here, he would vote. And Jesus never really talked about elections, because there weren’t any. But if he were here today, he might talk about that.”
McLaren goes on to say, “I affirm in the book that I am completely orthodox in all of my beliefs about Christ. I affirm all the ancient creeds. … The change I’m interested in is helping us flesh out what it means to affirm the ancient creeds and historic faith” (emphasis added).
Asked a question about evangelism toward the end of the interview, McLaren responds, “First of all, I love to help every person I can to become a follower of Jesus Christ. A lot of people don’t want to become followers of Jesus Christ. And when they don’t want to, they are not disqualified from being my neighbor. In fact, they still are my neighbor. And so, everything Jesus teaches me about loving my neighbor applies to a person who has no interest in being a Christian. This idea that because some people don’t want to become Christians, we should ignore them or treat them as enemies, I just don’t get it.”
This is a lengthy, wide-ranging interview that covers everything from theology (personal sin vs. social sin; the End Times; evangelism; etc.) to politics (and the role of faith in politics) to homosexuality and abortion to Billy Graham to Islam to church structure (the small group model) to worship music to the Internet — and more.
Thanks to Tim Funk for interviewing Brian, and to the Charlotte Observer for posting the full transcript online!
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