« a first | Main | catching up on books 2... organic community »


andy goodliff

Jonny - I'd happily have your spare copy of McLaren's new book. Regards Andy

David at free Christian resources

Oh no! Second to comment so I won't get the book! Personally I prefer shorter reviews. Some book reviews can be so long it is almost like reading the book itself.


andy e-mail me your address and i'll send it over...

D.G. Hollums

Yep! I heard there is a Greenbelt event coming to the States....man I would love to go to that!

Jeff Moulton

Greenbelt on this side of the Atlantic?

Please, someone post details!


Hey Jonny,

What you wrote touches on a number of things I've been thinking about in relation to the US and A. I too find Brian's writing laborious especially when you get the feeling that he's fighting battles in the States that just don't play out in the global context.

One of this elements of this has got to be what I'll call "pseudo-majority thinking". As if there is some tipping point out there where if enough people get "it" then everything will change. Because religion is so big in the US, there is a lot of the pie to cut up. Just today I read on the washingtonpost.com about elections happening in Mississippi. 70% of the voters in that state claim to be evangelical or "born-again"!

So there are a lot of hearts to be won. And I can't see how some one, even if they have the best of intentions, will escape trying to grab some of that majority.

I should probably make a post out of this...


There's a couple of interesting video interviews with Brian McLaren about this book and the way he faces his critics at:


brian mclaren

Hi, Jonny - thanks for the review. As you can imagine, I'm thrilled to think that the kinds of things I'm writing about are "of course" for many readers in the UK. But if you google on my name, you'll find out that on this side of the Atlantic, these rather obvious understandings of the good news of the kingdom of God have earned me and my friends the label of heretic, etc., among a lot of U.S. evangelicals.

I really believe the tide is turning here, but the conservative establishment is very strong, and so far, the majority in the middle seem to be quite docile and fearful of angering their brethren to their right.

Because of the US's political, military, and economic dominance/interference in the rest of the world, I think it's quite urgent that we kingdom-oriented/integral-mission Christians in the US make our case. I recently wrote on the sojo.net blog about the concern many of us share that we're going to wake up any morning soon to discover that our government has attacked Iran in another rush-to-war, and that this kind of pre-emptive strike would be heartily defended by the conservative Evangelical establishment. You can imagine where this sort of thing could lead. So even though what I'm writing may seem rather old-hat to many readers in the UK, I hope you'll keep us in your prayers as we try to break out of some very deep and very long-standing ruts here in the US.

I'd also add that in Africa, Latin America, and many parts of Asia, the reduced American version of the gospel (theology of escapology, as you say) is dominant via the prosperity gospel teaching, propagated constantly via TV evangelists, etc. The kind of theological rethinking that you have experienced in the UK is still too rare, not only in the US, but in so many places around the world.

And as you say, Jonny, even after we "get" the gospel of the kingdom, there's so much work to do, figuring out how to live and act as agents of the future.

Jeff - yes, there is some good work being done about an "American Greenbelt." A group of us have been working on this for some time. Please stay tuned ... I expect that there should be some good news to report in this regard some time next year. My website (brianmclaren.net), Sojourners (sojo.net), and emergentvillage.com will all carry the news when it's available.

In the meantime, US readers of your blog here may be interested in a tour I'll be involved with in early 08. Info is available at brianmclaren.net and deepshift.org.

Keep up the great work, Jonny, and thanks for your interest in "Everything Must Change," everyone ...


brian thanks for dropping by... it's easy for us to forget the challenges you face in the US! i certainly didn't mean to imply that what you are writing is old hat. and i think the point you make about africa, latin america and parts of asia having been influenced by escapology theology is really interesting. i'm sure you're right. keep on keeping on. blessings...


jonny i like what u r writing - do you have contact with any people in sydney who connect with your emerging church ideas?


dave, others may be better placed to answer but two communities i know of are
cafe church - http://www.cafechurch.org.au/
small boat big sea - http://www.smallboatbigsea.org/

i am visiting melbourne in june and would love to connect with cms in some way?... i do have a contact there who i will e-mail but if you fancied coming over it would be good?...


Hi Jonny and all,
Great to read the early review draft comments and great to see Brain contribute!!
I have been chasing a copy of the book here in Oz for a few weeks, have seen some of the chapter intro's on youtube and can't wait to get the book as I believe it will sort into logical and inspirational 'order' my view of what my discipleship is about and what I am encouraging others to consider when I speak to groups!!
I am looking at the book title for an Easter Camp theme for 2008 and like you observe I suspect it'll be not so revolutionary here in Oz but Brian's writing style I know will help me order my thoughts and will challenge me not about 'do I get it' but 'am I enacting it'!!
Still sounds a good read!


I obviously commenting long after you posted this, but I found this post interesting. You thought McLaren's book was a little myopic, but it seems your thoughts here are only as wide as your particular experience in the UK. Brian is right in his comment that Africa, South America, and Asia are highly, highly influenced by the conservative, evangelical "gospel" of the mid to late 20th century. Not only this, but the political and economic thoughts of these evangelicals has a lot of influence in the world-- especially in the UK government-- the Iraq war being a very visible example of this and also the policies towards Israel.
Overall, I do appreciate your blog and find your thoughts very helpful, but I did find this review of McLaren a little narrow in its point of view.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


  • jonny profile pic

    i have been blogging for twenty years in fairly eclectic fashion. i am an advocate for pioneers, lover of all things creative, an explorer of faith in relation to contemporary culture, a photographer and writer. explore the presences section below to find me in other spaces

    about me | profile


  • instagram facebook twitter flickr vimeo links e-mail me


  • pioneer practice

    the latest book is a full colour coffee table type book which is the first published by new venture GETsidetracked - pioneer practice

    jonny baker book covers

    follow this link to other books, chapters, articles and music i have published.

worship tricks

  • series 1series 2series 3series 4

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


  • typepad monthly archivesmy first blog