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Brian D. McLaren
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Brian D. McLaren is a blogger for Beliefnet's Progressive Revival, an author, speaker, pastor, and networker among innovative Christian leaders, thinkers, and activists.
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He is a frequent guest on television, radio, and news media programs. He has appeared on many broadcasts including Larry King Live, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and Nightline. His work has also been covered in Time (where he was listed as one of American's 25 most influential evangelicals), Christianity Today, Christian Century, the Washington Post, and many other print media.

Born in 1956, he graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in English (BA, summa cum laude, 1978, and MA, in 1981). His academic interests included Medieval drama, Romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr. Walker Percy. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

From 1978 to 1986, McLaren taught college English, and in 1982, he helped form Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region (crcc.org). He left higher education in 1986 to serve as the church's founding pastor and served in that capacity until 2006. During that time, Cedar Ridge earned a reputation as a leader among emerging missional congregations.

Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors since the mid 1980's, and has assisted in the development of several new churches. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer at seminaries and denominational gatherings,nationally and internationally. His public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, evangelism, leadership, global mission, spiritual formation, worship, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, ecology, and social justice.

McLaren's first book, The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix, (Zondervan, 1998, rev. ed. 2000) has been recognized as a primary portal into the current conversation about postmodern ministry. His second book, Finding Faith (Zondervan, 1999), is a contemporary apologetic, written for thoughtful seekers and skeptics. His third book, A New Kind of Christian (Jossey-Bass/Leadership Network, 2001) further explores issues of Christian faith and postmodernity, and won Christianity Today's "Award of Merit" in 2002. His fourth, More Ready Than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix (2002) presents a refreshing approach to spiritual friendship. A is for Abductive (coauthored with Dr. Leonard Sweet, Zondervan, 2002) and Adventures in Missing the Point (coauthored with Dr. Anthony Campolo, Emergent/YS, 2003) explore theological reform in a postmodern context, and a sequel to A New Kind of Christian, entitled The Story We Find Ourselves In (Jossey-Bass, 2003), seeks to tell the Biblical story in a new context. He is one of five co-authors of Church in the Emerging Culture (Emergent/YS, 2003).

His 2004 release, "A Generous Orthodoxy" (Emergent/YS/Zondervan), is a personal confession and has been called a "manifesto" of the emerging church conversation. The conclusion to the A New Kind of Christian trilogy was released in 2005, entitled "The Last Word and the Word After That" (Jossey-Bass).

"The Secret Message of Jesus" (W, April 2006), explores the theme of the kingdom of God in the teachings of Jesus. "This book was written for a broad audience," he explains, "from the spiritual-but-not-religious to Christian pastors and leaders. Everything I've written to this point has been a preparation for this book."

He serves as a board chair for Sojourners/Call to Renewal (sojo.net), and is a founding member of Red Letter Christians, a group of communicators seeking to broaden and deepen the dialogue about faith and public life. He is also a board member for "Orientacion Cristiana," and formerly served on the boards of International Teams (www.iteams.org) in Chicago, Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle (mhgs.edu), and Off The Map (off-the-map.org). He has taught or lectured at several seminaries in the U.S. and abroad.

Brian is married to Grace, and they have four young adult children. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, and his personal interests include ecology, fishing, hiking, music, art, and literature.

Entries by Brian D. McLaren

Florida: Leader or Laggard?

(1) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 4:42 PM

For the last five years my wife and I have been blessed to call southwest Florida our home. It's a beautiful place with abundant opportunities to enjoy and thrive in God's good creation. (For me this includes chasing down snook and tarpon in my kayak.)

But it's also a...

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Why I Wrote 'We Make the Road by Walking'

(2) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 10:28 AM

Since I was a teenager, I've been searching for a new kind of Christianity.

The confident fundamentalism of my childhood, the Jesus Movement with its vigorous piety in my late-adolescent years, the charismatic movement with its joyful celebration after that, the moderate Evangelicalism of my early adulthood (before the...

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A Letter to Publix Owners and Management

(2) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 3:47 PM

Dear Publix Leadership,

I should begin by saying that I am in almost all ways a fan of your company. I often shop in a nearby Publix and shopping there truly is a pleasure. It is clean. The staff are friendly and helpful. The products are good and the prices...

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A Prayer For Peace In Syria

(35) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 12:54 PM

I'll be joining many others in praying for the situation in Syria on Saturday because I think it's time we realize that Dr. King was right: we can't cure violence with violence.

Mirroring violent behavior sets vicious cycles of offense and revenge in motion. We need a more creative response...

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'We Are Poor, but We, Too, Are Human Beings'

(15) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 3:28 PM

Those are the words of our neighbors who work in the fields, planting and harvesting the food we eat.

On Sunday, a group of my friends from Coalition of Immokalee Workers began a 200 mile march from Ft. Myers, Fla., to Lakeland, Fla., the headquarters of Publix Grocers....

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An Open Letter to Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament

(18) Comments | Posted December 12, 2012 | 11:37 AM

Dear Ms. Kadaga,

I have visited your beautiful country and come to love it deeply. From the reedy shores of Lake Victoria to the hilly game parks near Lake Edward, I have enjoyed your green land and your amazing wildlife. And even more, from small rural villages to the teeming...

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Why We're Leaving Church: A Report From the Nones

(676) Comments | Posted October 16, 2012 | 2:53 PM

The same day news outlets around the country carried a notable headline -- "Protestants Lose Majority Status in US" -- I was in a jam-packed church, speaking about my new book on Christian identity in a multi-faith world. The article explored recent Pew research about

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Here We Go Again?

(1) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 7:28 PM

(RNS) Joe Scarborough said what a lot of Americans are thinking as they watch anti-American protests and embassy attacks in many places across the Muslim world.

"You know why they hate us? They hate us because of their religion, they hate us because of their culture, and they hate us...

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The Scandal Of Publix and The Coalition of Immokalee Workers: A Christian Critique

(5) Comments | Posted September 24, 2012 | 9:49 AM

A Presbyterian minister enters a Publix grocery store in Florida to buy a sandwich at the deli. Store management calls the police and they escort him from the store, telling him his grocery-shopping privileges have been revoked for a year. What? Why? What's the backstory?

As the Herald...

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Just Because You Love Jesus Doesn't Mean You Have to Disrespect the Buddha, Dishonor Muhammad or Disregard Moses

(1539) Comments | Posted September 11, 2012 | 6:36 PM

On this 11th anniversary of 9/11, it's a good day for us to look back and assess the damage.

The damage to buildings long been accounted for, and much has been rebuilt. The damage to the economy has also been debated and estimated -- and replaced by new, greater,...

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Interfaith Misunderstanding in America

(29) Comments | Posted September 10, 2012 | 1:30 PM

It's been a great year for interfaith misunderstanding in America.

There was a U.S. senator's wild allegation about Islamic extremists infiltrating the American government.

There are the ridiculous -- and ongoing -- claims about a conspiracy to "impose sharia law in America," starting in Kansas...

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A Fertile Summer for Violence

(18) Comments | Posted August 8, 2012 | 2:36 PM

It's been a bad summer for corn, and a fertile summer for violence.

It sprouted unexpectedly in Colorado in a movie theatre. It just shot up in Wisconsin in a Sikh house of worship. Then there's the violence that hardly gets reported from the mean streets of the neighborhoods abandoned...

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A Story of Christian-Muslim Friendship: Entering Without Knocking

(11) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 6:27 PM

We all know the standard traditions of marriage in America: something borrowed, something blue... the groom doesn't see the bride before the wedding... processional and recessional... the kiss, the toast... the newlywed couple cutting the cake and smearing it on one another's faces, throwing rice on the departing couple. But...

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Speaking Out Is Complicated (And So Is Staying Silent)

(12) Comments | Posted April 14, 2012 | 7:40 AM

For 24 years of my life, I was a church planter and pastor. At the beginning of those years, I would have gladly called myself an Evangelical. But those years coincided with the rise of the Religious Right, and at the end, Evangelical meant something very different than before.

I...

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Dirty Tomatoes: A Spiritual and Dietary Proposal

(4) Comments | Posted August 25, 2011 | 11:25 AM

In various religious communities, certain foods are considered acceptable and others unacceptable. For observant Jews and Muslims, for example, pork is unclean. For Hindus, any meat is unacceptable. Christians like me often adopt a food abstention of some sort during Lent.

I have a proposal for a different way...

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Two Roads Diverged in the Evangelical Wood

(12) Comments | Posted July 14, 2011 | 6:00 PM

When I was a young Evangelical Christian coming of age back in the early 1970s, I remember feeling that there were two paths before me. One was legalistic, anti-intellectual, combative and rigid. The other was missional rather than legalistic, reflective rather than anti-intellectual, communicative rather than combative, and supple rather...

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Father's Day and God as Father

(33) Comments | Posted June 18, 2011 | 4:41 PM

It was probably about thirty-five years ago, before I had children of my own. I was part of one of those retreats, popular back in the seventies, where people were organized in small groups and each session began with an "icebreaker," a question to get people opening up and sharing.

...
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Who Will Be Our Next Monster to Fear?

(4) Comments | Posted May 6, 2011 | 1:21 PM

On the death of Osama bin Laden, theologian Miroslav Volf expresses my sentiments when he writes:

We are right to feel a sense of relief that a major source of evil has been removed. But we should reflect also on the flip side of that relief:...

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Good Friday Evangelicals

(16) Comments | Posted April 21, 2011 | 11:30 AM

I grew up Evangelical and although I certainly don't fit in with religious right stereotypes, my heritage is still important to me. But two recent news items have me wondering as never before: What's happening to my heritage?

First came news that Donald Trump was garnering Evangelical support. He was...

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Will 'Love Wins' Win? We're Early in the First Inning ...

(40) Comments | Posted March 23, 2011 | 2:39 PM

Because of my own experience as a writer, I've been anticipating the baptism in hot water (or worse) that Rob Bell was about to experience with the publication Love Wins. And because of the old saying that it's not the attacks of your critics but the silence of...

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