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The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World's Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,056 ratings  ·  161 reviews
The Christian story, from Genesis until now, is fundamentally about people on the move—outgrowing old, broken religious systems and embracing new, more redemptive ways of life.

It’s time to move again.

Brian McLaren, a leading voice in contemporary religion, argues that— notwithstanding the dire headlines about the demise of faith and drop in church attendance—Christian fait
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Convergent Books
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Sharon Chinn Amazon is offering 2 free audio books with a subscription to Audible. They also say "Free with Audible trial." I borrowed mine from the public library…moreAmazon is offering 2 free audio books with a subscription to Audible. They also say "Free with Audible trial." I borrowed mine from the public library. Yeah! Always free.
Sharon Chinn I'm just guessing that before it was published, Goodreads might have had it as a giveaway.…moreI'm just guessing that before it was published, Goodreads might have had it as a giveaway.(less)

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Clif Hostetler
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
This book provides an articulation of a positive and progressive view of Christianity that calls for migration toward a way of life defined by love and away from being a religion about beliefs. This includes rejecting the image of God as a violent supreme Being and embracing the image of God as the renewing Spirit at work in our world for the common good. McLaren describes this as identifying less as organized religion and more as an “organizing” religion consisting of spiritual activists dedica ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I love Brian McLaren and have been greatly influenced by him--especially by the two NEW KIND OF books, CHRISTIANITY and CHRISTIAN. But his latest one disappointed me. First, I felt the main metaphor--a grand spiritual migration taking place--seemed more asserted than described in any detail, let alone proven. Also, he seemingly sees this emerging shift as between those who think Christianity should be about love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and justice and those who are mean and angry; these two ...more
Randal Martin
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Liberating book. Some parts are challenging for a recovering Baptist like myself but that's the beauty of Progressive Christianity. It's less about having the correct beliefs than it is the fruit of your beliefs. While many churches get caught up in maintaining the old practices even in the face of new questions and challenges, Brian's book challenges you to allow questions to be asked. Re-look at the way you have just accepted some things about your faith in the past. Remember that Jesus starte ...more
David Robertson
Sep 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: church, theology
Its difficult to describe in a few words how bad this book actually is! And I am astounded that anyone is taken in by its smug pseudo-spiritual waffle. Mclaren demonises those he disagrees with, sets himself up as some kind of guru leading a new movement (hence the need for follow up study guides and leaders guides), attacks the Bible he purports to believe in, demonstrates a spectacular ignorance of history and is illogical in his arguments. For example the fact that he argues against those who ...more
Marty Solomon
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I find that I am often personally drawn to two kinds of nonfiction books. There is the practical, useful book that is full of readily practical insights, well packaged and delivered clearly. Then there is the poetic, romantic, idealistic writing that inspires my soul and fills me with hope and energy.

McLaren has bridged the gap (again) with this book. This very, very timely read could be a monumental shift for so many people trying to navigate a Church/Christian (?) subculture that just doesn't
Paul C.
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Speaker and former pastor Brian McLaren has given us a book which will prove provocative to many Christians. In The Great Spiritual Migration (Convergent, 2016) McLaren utilizes superb communicative skills throughout all 205 pages (228 counting the three Appendixes), speaking into the dissatisfaction among “Catholics, Evangelicals, mainline Protestants, and Orthodox Christians…that there must be a better way to be Christian” (p. 3-4, Introduction). While I agree that such a dissatisfaction is ev ...more
Laura Beard
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read it on audio. Definitely good to get overview but would need to listen again or read it to really think deeper about some of the things brought up. It helped me feel like I’m not alone in some of the things I’ve wondered about/struggled with Christianity. I liked that it highlighted that churches are doing a lot of good things, but that there are things that can “migrate.”
Georgia Gietzen
Dec 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read and it resonated great truth regarding my own journey through “organized religion”. I have never found peace or “my truth” in the Christian church. Church leaders many times say the “right” words but when it comes time to take stand and speak that truth to “power” the church remains silent. This book has so many good discussion points of how things could be different … in my opinion, better. I’m excited to read and discuss at a future bookclub gathering. We can start planting seed ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian
Recommended to Julianna by: Foothills Book Club
Reviewed for THC Reviews
"4.5 stars" Brian McLaren has been on my radar since he came to my attention as an occasional contributor to the Sojourners blog. I enjoyed what he had to say in those posts, and as a result, I’ve had more than one of his books on my TBR list for a while. Our church book club chose The Great Spiritual Migration, and even though it wasn’t one of his books that I’d had on my list the longest, I was very eager to read it. I found it interesting that both Rev. McLaren and I c
Robert Irish
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those who have been struggling to find their place in a church that seems increasingly irrelevant or to be masterfully missing the point, for those who are complacent in a church that is comfortable holding onto its conceptual beliefs while ignoring its issues, for those who have already rejected anything that smacks of church because it seems hate-filled and narrow-minded, for those who are upset that the KKK can claim they are "Christian" while spewing their hate-filled bile, this is a boo ...more
Jonathan Schut
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a really challenging book to review. McLaren is advocating for much-needed change in the way that Christians approach their beliefs and their practices. In many ways, I would put McLaren in a similar place that I would put Rob Bell. I genuinely appreciate the concerns he expresses and the questions he raises, but I struggle to accept his answers. The value in this book is that it forces all Christians to think about their way of being Christian and whether or not they could be doing a be ...more
Amy Juhnke
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I didn’t grow up conservative fundamentalist as the author did, and since I didn’t, the entire premise of the book didn’t make sense to me. His point was moving away from a set of rules and religion to a loving way of life; from a violent God who needs to be appeased to a loving concept of God. In my faith, I haven’t experienced or believed God to be a violent and angry God so the idea to throw out rules or any organized religion seems way too extreme and unnecessary.
Kevin Mackey
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A surprisingly good, profound and important read. The first book in years that my wife and I have read together AND enjoyed. This may sound overstated, but I wouldn't be surprised if we look back on this book in a decade as contributing to one of the most positive turning points in the history of the Christian Church, when it migrated from a religion of exclusivity, hyper-focus on "right belief" and consumption, to a movement of humility, gentleness, love, peace, compassion, generosity, continuo ...more
Alyssa Foll
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been familiar with McLaren's work for a while now, but hadn't read a book of his. A friend of mine recommended "The Great Spiritual Migration" to me and I'm glad to have read it. I certainly have points of disagreement with this book, but overall, I think McLaren raises some really important questions about movements within Christianity vs. institutions (and he concludes that both are necessary).
I'm looking forward to discussing this book in a small group in the near future and teasing out
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Sunday school class has read a few books by McLaren. McLaren believes that the Christian church needs to change in order to better reflect Christ's teachings. His ideas would probably seem radical (and unacceptable) to conservative Christians, many of whom are content with the status quo and have no desire to change. While I agree with many of the things he says, I think he is idealistic and overly optimistic.
Camille Olcese
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've stopped calling myself an evangelical for political reasons. However, I have a high view of scripture. Therefore, this book seems theologically radical. Nevertheless, I couldn't find anything in it to disagree with. In fact, McClaren is starting a movement, and I'm in. I so want to discuss it with my friends. Please read it and let me know your thoughts. ...more
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this book, Brian McLaren pulls together several areas of concern that I have been exploring over the past few years and presents a coherent, grace-filled, and hopeful vision of the future. Finding this book at this point in my own story has been a gift and an inspiration. I'm sure I'll be coming back to it frequently in the days ahead for insight and guidance. ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
5/5 at the beginning, 3/5 toward the ending. This is a great book that the Christian community needs to take in and soak with. How did a religion based on love lose its way and how can it get back on track? McLaren has some great ideas.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
McLaren offers characteristically compelling stories alongside fresh models for interpreting faith. I especially enjoyed the reflections on the impact of "movements" on "institutions." ...more
Lisa Smith
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A hopeful and enlightening read
Tim Olson
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An essential read for those trying to discern the future of faith, religion and spiritual life.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
When you propose scrapping 2000 plus years of Christian tradition, belief, and practice, you need to replace it with something more than what can easily be gleaned from: the evening news, social media, sitcoms, dramas, academia, popular music, cinema, publishing, old media, new media, the Academy Awards, The Grammys, The Tony Awards, graphic novels, etc. Simply adding one heaping cup of Jesus to the foregoing ingredients then stirring to combine thoroughly and placing in the oven for 25 minutes ...more
May 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been pretty difficult for me read Christian nonfiction books over the past couple of years, but I'm trying to make an effort to read more practical and "reconstructive" books of faith . With that said, I found Brian McLaren's The Great Spiritual Migration to be an encouraging, gracious, and refreshing read that was filled with hard truths, sharp cultural insights, and practical next steps for those who have "deconstructed" the Christian faith of their upbringing.

What I liked about this book
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book and couldn’t help myself from highlighting all the amazing points made by the author. McLaren writes about how we should be making more strides to advance our faith in love and focus on adding to some of the pillars that currently exist in the Christian community. It makes you think deeper about the difference between faith and beliefs within the Christian community, also how we all need one another as members of the same body to progress on this spiritual migration. ...more
Mary Ann
Read this for my study group at church. Very enlightening. Love the perspective of focusing on the way we live as opposed to dividing ourselves by what we believe

Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Progressive Christianity. You either love it or you hate it. Well, there’s a third option where you aren’t interested in Christianity, so it leaves you cold. For me, having identified as a Christian for over 50 years, it’s hard to remain neutral on the subject.

I like reading McLaren’s books because they challenge me to think about what I believe (more coming on the subject of beliefs). I like his approach to Christianity, despite some alarm bells about “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”
Apr 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
If books were anthems, then The Great Spiritual Migration would be the anthem for the Deconstructionist/Emerging Church/Evolving Faith Movement (or whatever you want to call it). It encapsulates the stirrings that many are seeing happen in traditional Christian faith circles, convicts the heart of the reader-activist towards humility and love, stirs indignation towards what needs urgent attention in our world, gives hope and practical direction to those of us who want to be a part of what God is ...more
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it

Brian McLaren joins others with evangelical Christian backgrounds (i.e., Jim Wallis, David Gushee) who remain in the Christian faith but have moved into what some are calling a “progressive” Christian movement.

In McLaren’s case, he calls for Christians to focus on living out Jesus’ love rather than emphasizing correct beliefs. He states: “What I care about is whether they are teaching people to live a life of love, from the heart, for God, for all people (no exceptions), and for all creation.”

Steven Nordstrom
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is a movement afoot, and Brian McLaren makes the reader want to be a fellow traveler. I'll definitely be rereading this one soon. At times idealism outpaces realism, but McLaren sets for a vision of what could be, and seems to even recommend some definitive steps towards making that vision a reality, and which seem to be worth giving a shot. The alternative doesn't look pretty--our worship of individualism, our acquiescence to economic, political, social, and religious systems that only en ...more
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it
As I am legally blind I used two different technologies to help me read this book. Slow and difficult, but I manage. I enjoyed this book. It was informative and well written and explained. really how I've been feeling for a bit. ...more
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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.

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“Love all of God’s creation, both the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love animals, love plants, love each thing. If you love each thing, you will perceive the mystery of God in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin tirelessly to perceive more and more of it every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an entire, universal love.” 9 likes
“Confession: Imagine if love, not law, was the standard by which we learned to examine ourselves and confess our sins against God, neighbor, and the earth we share. Imagine if each week we were guided into the kind of self-examination that helped us name and turn from our unloving acts in recent days. And imagine if, along with confessing our sins, we confessed or named our hurts, the places where others have wounded us, so that we could process our pain and then respond in a way that doesn’t give in to resentment or revenge.” 5 likes
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