Check out Everyday Liturgy interview with Brian McLaren

Thomas at Everyday Litrugy has a decent interview with Brian McLaren regarding his new book, Finding Our Way Again, the Everything Must Change stop at Princeton and a couple other things.  

Here’s an exert:

“Brian: Part of moving beyond modernity is retrieving things we have largely forgotten as a culture: that there are rich treasures in the ancient ways, and that we are transformed by our thinking, yes, but not apart from practices – and we are transformed by practices, yes, but not apart from thinking.”

Click here.

Reflecting on McLaren at Princeton Theo. Seminary

A couple Tuesdays ago (April 15th), I went to see Brian McLaren at PTS with super blogger, Thomas Turner from Everyday Liturgy and super mission-centered barista , Jesse (he runs the Holy Grounds Coffeehouse in Allendale NJ).  Good times.  

I’ve heard this lecture a couple of times, have read through it in Everything Must Change and have a high appreciation for Brian and his presentation, specifically of the Three Crises, (Prosperity, Equity, Security)

“It’s not about equality, it’s about justice” is often the anthem mentioned by everyone from Bono to joe blogger.  A lot of time and thought have been spent on that line and I’ve come to appreciate it.

The thought that has really occupied me lately was mentioned by Brian that night, “What you focus on determines what you will miss”.   I may have heard that before but it struck me.  I find myself juggling this thought with the other appreciated maxims, “You can only do a few things well”, “Focus on your strengths, forget your weaknesses” and others.  Praying for wisdom on this because there seems to be some kind of goodness to the tension-balance-paradox that’s called for.  The mediation on it has been good for the soul.

If you are stimulated by such discussion, consider going to see Brian at the Everything Must Change Tour and/or read the book.

For more perspectives, check out Todd Heistand’s post or Everyday Liturgy Thomas Turner’s Hitchhiking to Princeton.

thanks Todd H. (

Francis Collins – Q Conference – Session 3

Session 3 with Francis Collins was a little more controversial.  Again, we sat in round tables of 10 so whispers were easy to hear.  Not to insult your intelligence, but in case you don’t know, Dr. Collins is the chairman of the Genome Project, author of The Language of God, a devout believer, debates Richard Dawkins on NPR regularly, but does not hold to conservative Christian views of origins.  Frankly, he wasn’t very specific of his position.  One of his points was to leave the audience unsettled with theirs. 

He discussed how science and faith are not enemies stating, “Regardless of what we have heard from the atheistic horsemen, we do not have to choose between the two.” 

I was proud of that because I’ve been teaching my students that for years.  In fact, back when I was in 4th grade and heard of the Big Bang Theory and how that threatened the teaching of Creation, I immediately asked the teacher, “Why couldn’t God create the big bang …” The budding theistic evolutionist trajectory was quickly squashed when I entered youth group.  Today, I am certain that God is sovereign and that not even Francis Collins can figure it out.

Back to Collins, he showed 2 pictures – one of spiritual (stained glass window) and the other – DNA view along its axis which resembled each other.  Cool although the skeptic in me couldn’t help but think this was a little gimmicky for a world class intellectual.  Fortunately the next slide was not Jesus in the nucleus but his point was to segue how the spiritual world and the material one intersect.  It got everyone’s attention.

Collins was not raised in a religious home, his parents did not criticize religion but did not promote it.  He was an agnostic throughout college and then in med school, he was touched by the faith of those in hospital beds.  A woman asked him what did he believe and he did not have an answer, he researched it, found CS Lewis and continued his journey. 

The most unsettling moment (and this would come up in various conversations I had with people) was when he showed a slide of the human chromosome and the chimpanzee’s.  I am paraphrasing but he said the key difference was with the one part in the middle that has  a something mysterious in it while the chimp has two parts but not this particular thing (sorry I didn’t get what it was he said) inside it.  It’s here where they split.  He said something to the effect of it is possible that they had been the same until a certain point in time when God pre-ordained/pre-programmed/pre-something or other to split and create a new species.  Again, this was the unsettling moment.  He mentioned in passing literal meanings of Genesis 1, quoted Augustine, and Chesterton, and asserted his faith in the Almighty God.

Again, each Q speaker only had 18 minutes and his “big point” was, “science and Religion are not incompatible … God cannot be threatened.”  Some attendees were as upset as if he had just slapped their wives and ran out the door.  As for me, maybe their view deserved it.  So the possible lessons are don’t marry your theology or don’t marry an ugly wife, or be smarter then Francis Collins or maybe keep your theology open-handed and maybe your wife won’t get slapped by Dr. Collins.

Leroy Barber at Q Session 5

Leroy Barber (pastor, Atlanta) from Beloved Community was the Session 5 presenter. 

These are the notes I took:


6 aspects that King shared from Jesus regarding Community:


1. All people can share in the wealth of the earth

2. Poverty hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated.

3. Racism discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced with a spirit of brotherhood.

4. Violence will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution

5. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. 

6. Conflict is part of human experience and will be reconciled and resolved peacefully.


I appreciated the last point the most.  As I am past the point of frustration with all those that say, “If we would just obey God, all will work out …” type of stuff, I find myself saying similar things like, “The struggle is inevitable, you will experience pain whether you are obedient or disobedient to the Lord, evil surrounds you, this is part of the human condition …”.  When Jesus promises us suffering … for the obedient.  He promises suffering for the disobedient, how do these prosperity gospel preachers drive their Bentley’s in good conscience?   Certainly people need to be encouraged, I value that.  But I think saying these types of things sell out the gospel in order to fill the offering plate.  Guys like Leroy are to be appreciated and I hope the Lord’s presence fills Beloved Community in Atlanta.

Chuck Colson – Session 4 at Q

I appreciate a lot of what Chuck Colson says, can’t stand some of it, what can you do?   He’s been very critical of the emergent conversation and quite frankly, I don’t think he really understands what is actually being said.  But it was good to see him at Q. 


This picture has received a lot of praise and it summarizes his session.  To paraphrase what he said emphatically,  “We (as a Church) are ignorant (of the Gospel message) for if we took it to heart, we’d all be changing the world.” 


To read more Chuck, feel free to stop by Breakpoint or read any of his 67 books.  He told us at Q, he wanted to write more books then Jesus.  (Not true but neither is what he says about the emergent conversation).