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A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  4,276 Ratings  ·  256 Reviews
A Leadership Network Publication A New Kind of Christian's conversation between a pastor and his daughter's high school science teacher reveals that wisdom for life's most pressing spiritual questions can come from the most unlikely sources. This stirring fable captures a new spirit of Christianity--where personal, daily interaction with God is more important than institut ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 11th 2001 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 1st 2001)
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Feb 15, 2012 Adam rated it really liked it
An important (if occasionally corny) book that will be seen as eye-opening and challenging by a lot of people and downright dangerous by others...

A little personal background. I first read this book when I was 16 or 17--I'm 24 now--and it was a real eye-opener for me at the time. It was one of a few books I read as a young Christian that taught me that it was okay to have the doubts I was having and still try to lead a life of faith.

A lot has happened since then, of course. Starting around age 2
Douglas Wilson
Jan 20, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it did not like it
Shelves: theology
Appalling. Ick. Poo.
Jason Lyle
Aug 13, 2015 Jason Lyle rated it it was amazing
The best part about this book was the fact that I no longer feel alone. To hear a main line church leader express things that I have thought / felt for years was freeing. Very very good book. Especially for someone questioning all they have been taught from their childhood.
Feb 08, 2012 Amber rated it it was ok
Now, I think I probably rated this lower than others, but here's why.

1. this book was probably much more profound when it came out in 2001, unfortunately, i am reading in in 2011. some of his "innovative" new ideas are not so profound anymore. I'm not sure if that from the influence of this book though or from the influence of the various sources that influenced him.

2. he is not a fiction writer. i think he could have done just fine in a non-fiction format, but he tried to make it a fiction inte
Benjamin Sigrist
Apr 18, 2010 Benjamin Sigrist rated it really liked it
Postmodern Christianity. This is all a bit new and uneasy for me. It will take more reading and more thought for me to form a reasonable, defend-able position about it. That said, much of what Neo and Dan talk about makes sense.

- Instead of us reading the Bible, letting the Bible read us. Leaving aggressive analysis behind and "trusting God to use it to pose questions to us about us."

- Seeing the Bible as a contextual document.

- Modernity as an era defined by certain characteristics:

Conquest a
Aug 31, 2008 Teri rated it it was ok
I'm in the minority with my thoughts on this book as related to those people I read the book with and participated in many discussions with. But, that's part of what I think this book intends: discussion with no commitment to resolution for fear of offending or excluding those who don't share our exact beliefs.

The redeeming quality of this book is that it presents ideas worth considering when thinking outside the box of Christian faith. How we worship, is it okay to think outside of what we're
Sep 05, 2009 Paul rated it liked it
This book is a welcome invitation for modern evangelical and fundamentalist Christians to positively re-think what it means to be a Christian in our time. Trust God and drop your guard when you read it. It won't make a 'liberal' out of you. The more liberal side of Christianity comes in for some good criticism in the book, but I don't think the book is written for them and I doubt they will be helped much by it. One doesn't have to accept all the ideas this book offers to see that many of them r ...more
Apr 04, 2009 Joey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, non-fiction
This book functions as a Socratic dialogue regarding how our faith could look in a postmodern context. The book tackled a lot of questions that I found most Christians I know would not want to tackle, which is why I respect it. The topics conversed over a lot of Christian subjects that I have been wrestling with over the years. The book didn't solve all of my "problems" or questions, but at least I was able to read something that addressed the questions with humility and fairness.

I only gave it
Nov 09, 2007 Lara rated it did not like it
I realize that I'm kind of in the minority here, but yeah, I HATED this book. I had a really hard time getting through it, simply because I thought it so poorly written, and I didn't really find any of the ideas all that new or interesting (although I did find some of them disturbing). I understand that a lot of people really connected with it, and, in fact, the reason my husband and I read it in the first place is because people in the new church we were going to thought so highly of it. But, s ...more
This book was my "red pill". I've never been able to look at Christianity the same way after reading this book. The second one was even crazier and I had to put it up for a while, because it was rocking my world way too much. If you are brave, and not afraid for your beliefs to be challenged, examined, tested, then you have GOT to read this book. If not, take the blue pill and pretend nothing ever happened!
Jan 27, 2008 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Fantastic perspective of Christianity from one of the foremost leaders of Post-Modern Christianity. Several of McLaren's conclusions are revolutionary and will appear, to many, heretical. Nevertheless, in an age of condemnation and the depreciation of brotherly love among Christians as a whole, I find McLaren to be both refreshing and honest. I recommend this book to anyone interested in reviewing their own Christianity.
Micah McCarty
Aug 26, 2012 Micah McCarty rated it it was amazing
I was just telling a friend about this earlier this week. It was about twelve years ago that I read it but it was a crucial book for me at that time. It liberated me from the fundamentalism of my youth. I don't know how it holds up over time but I will always hold it dear for what it did for me when I read it back then.
Tania Leis
Feb 10, 2016 Tania Leis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Challenging read--not necessarily challenging to understand but a challenge to think through!
In many ways I think it isn't so much "new" thinking but a call to return to an authentic following of Jesus...
Inspires further thought, study, contemplation....
Calvin Wulf
Apr 23, 2012 Calvin Wulf rated it it was amazing
Stimulating primmer to the influence of post-modernism on modern Christianity.
Dave Miller
I've read the whole trilogy. If you are open to questions about Christianity, or you've figured out that your parents religion isn't working for you, these are grea reads and very thought provoking.
Aug 07, 2011 Randy rated it did not like it
Brian Mclaren believes that the church, thoroughly enmeshed as it is in modernism, is becoming increasingly irrelevant to a culture that is moving away from modernism and toward a new paradigm of postmodernism. To be able to speak to a culture that is well underway in making the transition, he argues that the church must also embrace this worldview.

The problem is, he never gives us anything close to an adequate description of postmodernism. He doesn't tell us that its main feature is the repudi
Steve Allison
Nov 02, 2016 Steve Allison rated it it was amazing
I read this right around my 53rd birthday and it had a great effect on me. It started me down the path of investigating postmodern and emergent Christianity. It was what I'd been looking for since my early twenties when I began having questions for which I could not find answers.
Ben Adkison
Jan 22, 2016 Ben Adkison rated it did not like it
A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren

Let me start by saying that I hesitate to even write a review of this book because there stands a chance that even posting a picture of this book on my blog might lead someone to think that I am endorsing Brian McLaren. I am not endorsing Brian McLaren or this book!!! However, I do understand the necessity to stretch myself, and think differently, and read widely from different people. So I read this book to do those things, and also to help keep myself ab
Michael Goldstein
May 25, 2017 Michael Goldstein rated it did not like it
Two word review: Straw Man.
John Henry
Nov 19, 2015 John Henry rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey

You and I are on a spiritual journey. However, this journey extends beyond individual experience. It’s a journey beyond our church experience, even beyond our national and cultural experience. God is taking us by the hand to lead us on a journey through history and beyond; we are entering a new day. This book is a brilliant portrayal of our journey out of the 500-year period of history called Modernity into a new period referred to Post-modernity.

Chris Brown
Mar 04, 2017 Chris Brown rated it did not like it
Utter nonsense.
Taylor Storey
May 05, 2014 Taylor Storey rated it really liked it

I am exactly the audience this book is supposed to connect with. I was right there in the young evangelical circles who were being most affected by the ideas contained in this book. And I was dissatisfied with what I was finding. The book does connect with me to an extent. To be sure, when it was written in 2001 I think yes, cutting edge, very strong, beneficial challenge to mainstream evangelicalism (though I was not ready for it). Since then there has been quite a few groundbreaking books in a
Johan Haneveld
Aug 05, 2014 Johan Haneveld rated it really liked it
Even though the Emergent Church movement seems to be over, at least as a singular entity, the concerns that gave rise to this phenomenon, halting and awkward and diffuse as it was, have not dissipated. The culture we live in is still different from the 'modern' world of the twentieth century, and people (at least in the west, which is the culture we live in) still ask different questions. And I do not really think conventional christianity has evolved from 'modern' sensibilities enough to really ...more
Aug 16, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-books
My first impression was of this book's title: how pretentious! "A New Kind of Christian"? Really? *Eye Roll* But then I started to read it, and couldn't stop.

First, if you're someone who feels the need to be right all the time, you should probably just stop here. There's nothing for you past this point. Seriously, I'm not kidding. You should move on.

Ok then... I often listen to audio books vs reading them in my spare time. This book is mostly a conversation between two men, a disillusioned white
Greg Dill
Sep 19, 2015 Greg Dill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A New Kind of Christian is a fictional dialog between a pastor on the verge of quitting the pastorate due to his theological struggles and his daughter's wizened high school science teacher who so happens to be a former pastor. They meet during a youth event one night where a music band called, "The Amish Jellies" are rockin' away. The two men bond a friendship that carries them through a year or two of dialog about faith, salvation, philosophy, and theology. Not your typical traditional views, ...more
Mar 29, 2011 Randy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
The author said nothing that convinced me his conclusions are correct or workable in today’s culture and faith community – he did have a few (very few) comments that made me think a bit. But he had a poor writing style and was scatter-brained in how he presented his material. Clearly he is coming from a very conservative Christian Evangelical perspective and I can only conclude that his faith experience has been hurtful to him. I think he does further damage to the Evangelical tradition - I am n ...more
Nov 06, 2011 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like Marmite, it appears, people either love this or hate it. Likewise with the author, a controversial figure in the Christian world.

This book is written in pseudo-fiction format. He calls it 'creative non-fiction' in a later work, although I prefer to think of it as 'fiction with an agenda' - and not in a negative sense. A fictional scenario is set up :Daniel, a tired pastor, thinking of resigning, becomes friends with Neo, a Jamaican high school teacher who is a graduate in history and philo
Dwayne Shugert
May 06, 2013 Dwayne Shugert rated it it was amazing
Excellent story about friendship and change and the church and faith. Excellent critique of our modern understanding of church and what it would look like to live as the church into our new postmodern world. Brain McLaren does an amazing job of showing us where we are, how we got there and a vision of where we are going. Even though this book was written over a decade ago, it is still relevant and timely as we continue to surf this postmodern wave and join what God is doing all around us. Brain ...more
May 29, 2008 Dion rated it really liked it
I thought this was a helpful book. I think it would've been more helpful to read 5 years ago or so, closer to the time it was written, but still it helped to galvanize some thoughts I've had and reinforce some convictions about the trajectory of the church.

It also addressed me in a more personal way in some of my disappointments and struggles with the current state of the church. It has kept me praying for patience and compassion while I deal with the pains of change.

Two critical notes (and I do
Sep 10, 2009 Claus rated it did not like it
This is one of the basic books relating to the so-called "emerging/emergent church", which has gained a considerable amount of popularity recently. I'm not sure this popularity is a good thing.

This book is so full of errors it is hard to know where to begin.

There are the factual errors, such as the author's claim that systematic, analytic theology did not exist until after the Middle Ages. The writings of the church fathers clearly demonstrate otherwise.

Then there are the erroneous characterisat
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  • How (Not) to Speak of God: Marks of the Emerging Church
  • Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures
  • The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church
  • The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why
  • Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile
  • The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations
  • The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier
  • An Unstoppable Force: Daring to Become the Church God Had in Mind
  • Messy Spirituality: God's Annoying Love for Imperfect People
  • Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community
  • The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is
  • Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith
  • Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals
  • An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith)
  • The Sacredness of Questioning Everything
  • The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives
Brian D. McLaren is an internationally known speaker and the author of over ten highly acclaimed books on contemporary Christianity, including A New Kind of Christian, A Generous Orthodoxy, and The Secret Message of Jesus.
More about Brian D. McLaren...

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“If I could seriously ponder ending my life, then I can do anything. I can change anything in my life. So instead of ending my life altogether, I’ll end my life as I’ve been living it and start a new kind of life. I can now see a third alternative to the status quo and suicide.” 0 likes
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