You may recall that I mentioned that we have been chosen as the bookseller to ship books, and help with a bit of the selection, of the string of conferences/gatherings that invites conversation around the important themes in Brian McLaren’s last book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis and the Revolution of Hope (Word; $21.99.) We are shipping stuff here and there, working with some of our favorite publishers, and a handful of co-sponsors for this tour, to have books available (set up and sold by noble volunteers who perhaps got more work than they signed up for!) Many of our readers know the importance we place on book displays at gatherings of this sort, and what goes on at these experiences: talking at the book table and taking home resources are lifelines for many folks. Anyway, we are honored to be a part of it all. The first of the 17-some cities to host the EMC tour was Charlotte NC. We’ve shipped stuff to Idaho to the Nazarene seminary there for this weekend.
Here is the schedule for the whole tour; if it comes anywhere near you, from what was experienced in NC, I can assure you it will be a very meaningful time. (The co-sponsors include Sojourners, Faith@Work, the Sierra Club, Mars Hill Seminary and of course the emergent village. I believe the ONE campaign has just signed on, too.) Thanks be to God.
These groups have a constituency, it seems, who want to network with others, and dream about how to proclaim the gospel of Christ’s Kingdom in old and new ways that counter the ideologies of Western growth, progress, faith in technology and nationalism. In other words, as Everything Must Change so nicely explores, the framing story of our time, needs to be subverted and replaced, so that the most burning issues of our day can be diagnosed, addressed and (please, God) healed. Of course there are questions about how much of the Christian religion, as typically understood and lived out, needs to change. And there is great debate about how, even with thoughtful and faithful embodiment of the hope of the gospel, that should impact inter-related global issues, from environmental issues to global poverty to terrorism and war. These conversations at the conferences–and we pray, somehow, our books which are sold—make a difference among those who gather to reflect on this heavy, good, joyful stuff, city by city by city. McLaren is such a decent fellow, a good thinking and kind man, I’d sign up to sell his books any day. This particular tour is taxing on us, though, and we covet prayers from our family of friends that our mail-order work works out. (Yikes! You may know we’ve had some health concerns this year, especially Beth, and we are trusting that God will sustain us.) More so, pray for those who gather at these gigs, for Brian, Linnea—for Joe & Will who do the books— and others who present; for Tracey Howe, the very cool worship leader (we’ll talk about her CD later.) Pray for those who attend the EMC tour.
If you’d like you can read a great interview in the Charlotte Observer with Brian which appeared before the conference here. You can go to the EMC website here to learn more about their hopes for the tour. If you have the time, watch these videos about the tour, with Brian talking about his passions and hopes. It’s pretty cool stuff!
(By the way, I am not unaware that many of my readers are concerned about McLaren’s orthodoxy and are properly concerned about authors who write about a social vision or theological innovation, who seem to be losing traditional faith and historic standards of doctrine. It is a concern that I hope that you know, that I, too, share about many authors and movements, even if I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt more often than not. I may not “word” things quite the way Brian does, but find much in this book that excited me, much that motivated me to greater godliness and obedience. I’d say read it and see for yourself; does it generate a hunger to be used by God in meaningful ways for the sake of our needy world? I do believe that some well-known bloggers have offered less than wise discernment when they say that McLaren is “disgusted” by the gospel, or who makes claims that he mocks Biblical truth. He is pushing us to see a more faithful interpretation, to get closer to the truth of the matter, but never mocking! I find that he loves the Word, honors the texts complexities, desires to witness to Jesus and be a humble disciple, even as he admits to not having all the full answers. (And if you think that is so bad, whew, I’d say that is troubling…) As I’ve said before, one need not agree with every page of every book an author does, to still find much that is helpful. One can quibble, and in this case, surely should, but those reviewers who act like he’s way, way off, seem to read into Brian’s call to reject simplistic evangelical pieties a larger critique that may or may not accurate, and that I find unfair.)
So, you can buy the book that this string of events is all based on, from us, of course, here. We are offering a blog special to celebrate the kick-off of the tour. We are selling Everything Must Change for 25% off.
And, we have on sale one of the books that Brian most draws on in his book, a book we are very glad to have introduced him to, Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting Global Crisis (Baker; $19.99) by Dutch ecnoomist Bob Goudzwaard, our old pal Mark VanderVennen, and Trinity College prof, David Van Heemst. I reviewed this earlier at the blog, but thought we should promote it again, because it is so very astute. Dr. Goudzwaard was once a Parliment Member in Holland, in the famous Christian political party founded in the late 1800s by Abraham Kuyper, and brings a wealth of deeply Christian thinking to bear on global issues and the worldviews that shape the history of the West. The lovely forward by Desmond Tutu is pretty great, too. (For those who might know Dr. G’s work, this is a very, very much expanded and greatly revised edition of an earlier work called Idols of Our Time which was out in the very early 80s, published by IVP in those years.) If you’ve read McLaren’s EMC, Hope for Troubled Times may be the best next follow-up choice, a serious guide to rejecting what Bruce Cockburn has called in song, “the ideology of idolatry” that so drives the dysfunctions of our broken world. If you want to dig in, we recommend it highly. If you’re reading any of the other serious stuff about globalization or world poverty, this is simply a must. I like that McLaren calls these three friends, “The New Vision Group.” Yep.
Everything Must Change
$21.99 now $16.50
Hope in Troubled Times
regularly $19.99 now $14.99
order at our secure website order form here
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