I met Brian McLaren today (here’s his Wikipedia article). I haven’t read any of his books (I probably should), and I don’t know him or anything, so I was kind of awkward about it, but it seemed a shame for him to be there and speak and then be approachable and for me to not go shake his hand or something. He thought our baby was pretty cute, so he has good taste in babies, at least. He was very pleasant, personable, and charismatic, without having that sleazy snake-oil aftertaste.
McLaren founded the church we are currently attending, although he’s currently not actively serving as its pastor (instead, we have the absolutely wonderful Matthew Dyer), but is instead traveling the world, meeting with people and, you know, doing stuff. But he was back for the Sunday and he spoke about the state of the church (the church at large, not Cedar Ridge), what he’s been up to, and what he’s seen on his travels.
He has a very good way of criticizing with love and respect. For example, he talked about the worldwide trend in favor of prosperity theology (which makes me retch), but he didn’t come across as castigating or scathing. He even complimented what he thought were the good things about it. Instead of lambasting prosperity preachers fo, you know, being wrong and hurtful, he talked about the enormous potential that they have to do real Christian good.
Anyway, it was a good meeting. I always enjoy the sermons at Cedar Ridge, and I think our intention is to keep going there for the indefinite future. The kind of Christianity they preach there is definitely the kind that rings true to me. Most importantly, we almost always walk away from the service there with a desire to be better Christians. Also, I think it would be realy easy for Cedar Ridge to be a Brian McLaren personality cult, but it definitely isn’t. He rarely even gets mentioned, actually. The focus is definitely on Jesus Christ, and on his relationship to the community of saints (i.e. the Christian church at large, to Cedar Ridge Church as a community, and to us as families and individuals).
If I decide to be a Christian, which I probably will in the end, Cedar Ridge is definitely a place where I can be the kind of Christian that I would want to be.
Speaking of which, I am thinking more about Christianity, and trying to come to grips with it somehow. I have ths nagging feeling that I am going to ultimately come to Christianity anyway, and so I’m wondering if I shouldn’t quit beating around the bush.
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