Thursday, January 12, 2006

Interview with Brian Mclaren Part II

Part II
Note (Edit, 3/18/2006):

I just noticed from a spike in my web stats today that a mass mailing went out to what looks like a group called "light house trails". I feel sad and somewhat frustrated that the 'marketing' of that post seems to dramatize and (intentionally?) misrepresent the issue, but I know I have fallen to the same temptation myself, so I can't get too upset. However, to those of you visiting this site and listening to the interview with 'heresy hunting' pre-motives, I ask that you please:

  1. Start with an open and thoughtful mind, as well as a humble and loving spirit. As mentioned in the interview, their are ~35,000 christian denominations --its really time to start humbly listening and learning from each other.
  2. Try to let God's "perfect love" cast out all fear, for fear is the root that gets us all divided and judging each other. A deep trust in God's perfect and unconditional love is the only way out.
  3. Check out a conversation like this one, in which both christians with more conservative and liberal views have been talking about the same "false advertising" quote and having a mostly respectful dialogue.
  4. Despite what I said in the blog of the first interview, I'd encourage you to start from the beginning.
In Christ's peace,


Here's the second half of the interview with Brian. This half we continue the hell-busting, as well as consider question like:

  • Is Christian exclusivism unavoidable with a high view of Jesus?
  • Why is evil evil?
  • Does an after-life focused theology contribute to earthly injustice?
  • How can someone like myself start to trust/believe things about God again when so many beliefs seems to continue changing?
  • Do our human concepts of God innately become idols?
  • How many people really feel God's presence daily? What to do if its a "dark night of the soul"
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Rick said...

Fantastic interview with Brian.

I think Brian is a very needed voice in Evangelical Christianity. He has the ear of those that other folks don't. The relaity is much of what he is saying isn't "new", he is simply saying it to a new audience and I applaud the spirt of humility and grace in which he does it.

I also appreciate your honesty about your questions and struggles.
I too have had many of the same. One thing that I know is that I have had an expereince of what I call God that truly impacted me in a profound way. Since that expereince I have attempted to put language to the Mystery rather than living with the Mystery. When I doubt and wonder what it all means, I hold on to my expereince of God that was real. I'm not sure what I believe as absolutes, but there is something deep within and beyond my comprehension that I call God... and it somehow gives me life and sustains me.

Thanks for the link and thanks for being transparent.

Leifh said...

Thanks Rick! I'm glad you liked the interview and that you resonated with some of my struggles.

I'd love to hear more specifics about your experiences with God. I too have had a number, but apparently they weren't deep enough to make it hard for me to still doubt them occasionally.

I'm slowly starting to become more comfortable with mystery and ambiguities as well.

But I know that, honestly, I still want God to pop up in front of my (in a not too intense way) and say "Hey Leif. Yup, I know you, and all the good stuff is true. Chill out buddy --I love ya."

jeff said...

Hey Leif,

Long time no see...

I just linked to this from my site. Nicely done!

jeff @ demerging

Zeke said...

Well done, Leif!

Sean said...

Your podcast could not have come for me at a better time. I am emerging from a 7 year dry spell. There were temporary moments of rain, however the same old problems teologically came up and I just couldn't stomach being dishonest with myself or with God. The rain started a month ago when I started "a new kind of christian". I am almost thru the series.

I just wanted to share with you the one thing that i could hold onto in my dry spell. I am sure you have heard it too. Everything is created by something else. The creator exists. The creator has talked to us. I think a new dialog is forming and I am exited to be apart of it. I am excited to see others want to be apart of it.

Leifh said...

Thanks Jeff, Zeke, & Sean!

Sean, I'm tickled purple to hear that this interview could have a small part in your emerging from a dry spell. I look forward to hearing some more about it, and from you.

Keep it comin.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interviews....I heard you mention at one point that Paul does not refer to Jesus as the son of God and this troubled I very quickly flipped through my Bible and found numerous mentions of Paul calling Christ the Son of God. What is up with that?

Leifh said...

Hello Anonymous,

I don't believe I said that. I believe I said that Paul never mentions the virgin birth (the Mary narrative). My point was that seems to be such a HUGE thing (to say that God was literally incarnated through Mary), that for the 'greatest apostle' to not even mention it, seems kind of fishy to me.

kevin beck said...

You have a great site here. I think that we have a lot in common.


Timothy Wright said...

I always thought that Brian was a universalist. Thank you ( i am being sincere and serious) for getting Brian to express himself. Podcasts are really amazing.


Leifh said...

I don't think Brian would easily use that label because 1)It means very different things to different people and his understanding is probably fairly different than most 'universalists'. 2)He is in the process of working these issues out and so to take on a label like 'universalist' sounds too hard and fast.

In truth,

djrakowski said...


I've finally listened to the entire podcast, which I've been carrying around on my iPod for quite some time now. Your struggles with God really resonate with me. Thanks for your podcast, which is becoming one of my favorites.


Leifh said...


I can't tell you how great it is to hear comments like that -thanks!

Jason said...

Enjoyed and appreciated your interview with Brian. I couldn't not comment just to let you know what a value this interview is.
I'm an agnostic ex evangelical pastor who shortly after my experience in Seattle at Soularize lost my Christian faith. I've moved on, but still a fan of McLaren and can see the importance of what he is doing.
Like the other posters, thought I needed to comment on your transparency and wanted to let you know it encouraged me to hear Brian's identification with doubt as well as your own.
I'm happy to have found your podcast.

Leifh said...

Thank you Jason for the encouragement, and thank you as well for your own transparency.
I'd love to know what "lost my christian faith" means to you, as well as to know what you've "moved on" to. Feel free to email me (seelink on main page contact info)or to respond here if you like (or call me via skype/gizmo).
I was at that same soularize conf. in Seattle --hmmm, now I'm curious what happened there as a 'last straw' as well.


Joy said...

Relatively new (since 2004) blogger and new "Bleeding Purple" listener.

I've listened to the McLaren podcasts. In part 2 you so verbalized the very questions that are in my soul. Thank you!! Brian was awesome and just a humble as I've heard him before, but your honesty and self-effacing humor is comfortable. It is nice to feel like there is a conversation and not a debate!!

I also listened to the follow up podcast and am downloading 2 others. It takes an hour or more to download on podcast, (very slow dial-up) but they have been worth it!

Going to download your paper that you referred to...

Leifh said...

Hi Handmaiden,

I just realized I hadn't replied to your last post --sorry about that! Thanks so much for the encouragement and affirmation that my dorkiness has a good side (;

I'm sorry abou the file size, but if you need to you can always stream using the "Podtract Player: Listen Now" button on the right.

Let me know what you think of the paper.


kevin said...


Thought I would leave you a post since I visited from the light house link. I am glad I did, I really enjoyed the interview. I finish reading Brian’s book a couple of weeks ago and I love the questions that he asks, just as I enjoyed some of tough questions you asked. The God that I serve is not afraid of tough questions, so we should not be afraid to ask them. I am glad I found you site, I look forward to reading and listening to more. Thanks!

SolaMeanie said...

This all illustrates precisely what many of us have been concerned about since this whole uproar over the EC and related theology began.

I have been amazed over one thing in particular (well, really more than that, but this particular matter strikes me rather forcefully now). The EC goes after biblical orthodoxy, orthopraxis, the conservative evangelical church etc. tooth and nail..and when those of us on the traditional (for lack of a better word) side decide to respond to both the criticisms and the aberrant to heretical theology, that all of a sudden is cruel, mean-spirited, vindictive, "how modern of you" name it. My, I never knew disagreement, even vocal disagreement, put me in the same camp as Torquemada and Duke George. I hate to disappoint, but I dislike torture. I hate VO-5, Brylcreem and ties. Thick Southern drawls from the pulpit make me squirm. I even like rock and Rickenbacker basses. I used to make candles as a hobby and drew mazes on my Etch-A-Sketch as a child. Reading a Bible other than the King James Version does not give me hives. I know who Rabelais is even though I don't care for him much. I like Marketspice Tea and have been known to enjoy a Pinot Noir. But I am a doctrinal, biblical conservative who has little use for postmodernism or the extremes of the EC..because of its apparent distaste for Scripture and orthopraxis...not to mention this growing tide of using swearwords, vulgarity etc. and saying it's perfectly okay to do. The Bible says otherwise, but if the Bible means no more to you than a Dick and Jane story or the Bhagavad Gita, I guess it was needless of me to cite its authority. Oh, I forgot. Postmoderns don't like authority.

If you are going to insist on reinterpreting, unpacking, redefining and deconstructing orthodox theology as it has been held for eons, then you are going to receive criticism..and sometimes SHARP criticism. This whole thing really hangs on our view of Scripture. Do we have a high view of it or a low view of it?

In true postmodern (or schizophrenic) fashion, we can take the idea and run with it that nothing really matters, there is no set meaning to anything, we can't really know truth for certain, yada yada. You all have the freedom to do what you like and believe what you like. Just don't call it orthodox Christianity. There ought to be enough integrity left out there for truth in labeling.

In Scripture, we are not told to humbly listen to, dialogue with etc. false teachers. We are told to reject them when they are held up to the light of Scripture and found wanting.

I don't know why I bothered to post this. Probably useless and will accomplish nothing but to draw fire my way, but I had to do it.

David Williamson said...

An extraordinary conversation. Thank you for sharing it.

The comment which was for me most on the money was the line that we when we doubt we are often doubting the words we use to describe God.

So much of modern worship portrays God as the best boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse we could wish for - and too often, as Barth notes, we talk of God as simply a man with a loud voice - none of this is God. It's not even true to define him as the creator of the world; he is so much more.

Defining him as the answer to our deepest longings is the Western trend. But this is just as wrong.

He is the God who spoke to Abraham in time and space; who is redeeming his creation and revealed himself in his son. It is the same time and space in which we live and are invited to join the redemptive quest.

It is in this arena that we have fellowship with people whose faith can sustain us when our own has run dry. It is here that we have taken public steps to say, in spite of everything I believe.

When Luther was overcome by a moment of searing doubt he snatched the inkpot and flung it at the wall where he believed his tempter lurked. He shouted, “I have been baptised!”

If God has allowed many of us to enter the desert, perhaps it is because he wants us to know him in truth. Maybe he is stripping the idolatry from our culture?

Barth said he wished someone would whisper in Paul Tillich’s ear that we should not be proud of doubting. Just as soldiers should take more pleasure in the peace than the battle, we need to throw some inkpots and push forward through these dusty days.

God bless, and thanks!

Leifh said...

HI David,

Thanks for stopping by and listening --glad you enjoyed the interview.

I think there are pockets of faith culture now where doubting has become 'cool', and I agree with you that going to that extreme isn't a good idea.

In trust,

Pastor Doug said...

Leif, thanks for your podcasts. Glad to hear someone else is a self proclaimed "Dork." I used to have DORK on my license plates.

So refreshing to hear Brian's words and that what we do on earth really does matter. I also appreciate both Brian and your honest, raw, questioning.

What would happen if more pastors/all Christians, spoke more of real questions, brutal fears, and honest doubts? Perhaps we'd find ourselves grasping faith at a deeper level.

Peace, Doug

Leifh said...

Hello Doug,

Thanks so much for the encouragement you big Dork (:

Yes, lets do it! Who do we have to fear if we are being honest, speaking from our hearts and trying to follow the Spirit of love. Would God be upset with this. No way! Perfect love casts out fear. A revolution is coming! (: