Everything must change is not a book for you if your theology is comfortable and settled.
McLaren writes disturbing books, and if you are very comfortable in
your Christianity, and don't want the boat rocked, then may I suggest
you go else where for your reading material. He starts asking questions
that will certainly take you out of your comfort zone.
He suggests that "being saved" and "having your place in heaven assured" is only the very first step of the Christian faith. God then expects us to go on and make a difference in the world. Or, as Jesus put it, "bear fruit".
"Jesus' message is not actually about escaping this troubled world for heaven's blissful shores, as is popular assumed, but instead is about God's will being done on this troubled earth as it is in heaven."
How does one summarise a complex 300-page book in one page?
Not easily, and in fact I'm not going to try. What I will try and describe is what this book has meant for me personally.
Firstly, McLarent has challenged the notion in me that the world's problems are so big that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. So I won't even try. And that's a disturbing thought. Could I really make a difference?
Whilst men and women of great intellect have made profound changes to this world, men like St Paul and CS Lewis, there have been very ordinary Believers of little education, people like St Peter and Brother Andrew, and John Newton, and George Muller who through living close to God have made vital changes to our world and the people of God's world.
Now, in my retirement sentiments there has been little thought of making a difference in our world. It's very comfortable making a compost pile and learning how to start beekeeping and such things. That has to change, and I'm waiting on Him for direction. Sealed orders...
Secondly, I've gained a far better perspective on how greed is driving the late great planet Earth on a suicidal path. It's not sustainable either in terms of energy, resources, water or pollution. We are leaving our grandchildren a heritage that will be hopelessly flawed.
Brian McLaren drives home the point. We haven't been saved simply for pie in the sky by'm bye. He saved us so we can make a difference. Starting with Believers, everything must change.
Everything! And the sad fact is that Christians are proving just as resistant to change as the World is. The prosperity gospel has convinced so many of us that God wants us to have more and more. Greed is insidious. Less is more is a relic, pagan mystic philosophy.
Christians should be leading the way to use solar powered generators and wind turbines, designing new technology that makes cars more efficient, for that matter driving smaller cars, electric cars, and generally leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
Christians should be at the forefront of recycling, using less resources and being the creative people in God's world who are making it all happen. You! Me! Everything must change, starting with me.
Does it eat you too when you look in the kitchen drawer and find about 15 chargers, 14 of which are derelict. Each time you upgrade your mobile you find they've change the plug fitting, so you're forced to buy yet another charger. Greed
And that new Sony of mine. They've changed not only the size of the battery, the battery charger, and the jack. So you have to buy Sony, and you have to buy yet another battery size, and yet another charger. I like Sony cameras but I won't buy another. The greed of Sony company has got to me. That's assuming that Canon, Nikon, Olympus... are different. They probably aren't.
Perhaps one of the most difficult chapters is the one looking into how religion has under-girded the war machine.
Muslims blow themselves and innocent bystanders up, crying out, "God is great." Some Christian leaders are encouraging US presidents to "blow our enemies away in the name of the Lord." Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan... Violent religious extremists are increasingly deranged by their own religious certainty. Religious communities edit their versions of Jesus to fit their narrative.
Rather, conversion is about Jesus editing us to fit HIS narrative. So many Christians today have the boot on the wrong foot.
Brian McLaren asks embarrassing questions: Why is the value of arms sales by Christian USA to Africa exceeding the aid given?
Watching the insurgents in Damascus, or Dafur, or the Congo... one is increasingly impressed by the sophistication of the rocket launchers and fire power of the trouble makers, yet no one asks, "Where are these arms manufactured, and who sells them to the rebels?" There appears to be a conspiracy of silence of the part of the super powers who are profiting from these agents of death.
Why is Christian America still not a signitary to the Ban the landmine treaty, the ultimate terrorist weapon.
Everything must change by Brian Mclaren is a profoundly interesting, disturbing, very spiritual book that every educated Christian should read. But beware, the Spirit might just grab you by the jacket lapel, shake you violently, and call you into something entirely new. Something that will enable God's will to be done on Earth, as it is in heaven. Something difficult. Like persuading Christian America to stop killing innocent civilians with their drones.
Well, done, Brian. A wonderful book.
PS. Oh one last thing. Do you too quite often have difficulty finishing Christian books? This one I enjoyed to the last drop. Enjoyed? Mm, the wrong word. Felt challenged, felt enriched, thought about starting again at page 1, occasionally wished I'd never heard of Brian McLaren! I don't know about everything, but I'm a different person, some things have certainly already begun to change.
Now to Brian McLaren's next book.
There are quite a lot of second hand books available too, for a song. But do Brian McLaren a favour. Buy the new Everything must change! He can use your support, this is a profound book that took a HUGE amount of time and study.
Oh, Everything must change would make a great group-study book. At the end of each chapter are a numerous provocative questions for discussion and thought. Expect the sessions to be disturbing, rowdy and boisterous rather than the a solemn cloistered assembly!