Everything Must Change

December 09, 2007

Recently, I read Brian McLaren's new book Everything Must Change. The subtitle of the book is Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope. It is a very good and thought-provoking book that I highly recommend. Having read some of McLaren's previous works, I was looking forward to this one. The main argument of the book is that there are various systems--security, prosperity, and equity--that he calls "suicide machines" because they are are destroying society as they get out of control. He addresses what has caused the crises related to each of the three systems, what has caused the problems, and how we can overcome them. His focus is on the fourth crisis--the spirituality crisis--that he argues "is the lynchpin or leverage point through which we can reverse the first three." That may sound kind of technical, but McLaren offers personal stories, biblical analysis, and current event facts and examples that make it fascinating and thought-provoking.

There are three aspects of this book that especially makes it worth the read. First, he takes biblical passages (such as the so-called parable of "the unjust steward" and Jesus's comment that his "kingdom is not of this world") and offers very illuminating insights that helped me to reconsider them in meaningful ways. Second, he deals with very current real-world issues and problems that Christians should be addressing (e.g., genocide in Darfur, economic injustice, and governmental spending). Finally, McLaren addresses postcolonialism, which I find refreshing. I have studied scholarship from this perspective (which seeks to address the problems of imperialism and correct the injustices of the colonial era), but it was exciting to see someone tackling such important issues from a Christian perspective. As we seek to be more global-minded Christians, there are many lessons from postcolonial work that will help us place our faith above nationality. Thus, I highly recommend you check out Everything Must Change.

3 comments

  1. Brian,

    I too have enjoyed McClaren's writings. I don't necessarily agree with everything that he writes, but I concur with a great deal of it. I had just finished reading Big Daddy Weave's blog entry about the price of tickets to McClaren's current speaking tour. He said (only half in jest I think) that the price of the tickets should be included in everything that must change. He cited prices of $99 for the general population and $79 for students.

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  2. Brian,

    I just started reading it today. I've finished the 1st 4 chapters and it has been a smack across the head. Very sobering.

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  3. Thanks for the comments!

    Gary: Yeah, I don't agree with everything McLaren writes but he sure does make me think a lot. I saw BDW's post; it's too bad (because he's coming to Kansas City later in his tour) because his ideas need to get out to more people than will shovel out the money.

    Kevin: Yeah, I got slapped repeatedly throughout the book. But looking around at American Christianity today I think we need a few slaps.

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