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

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  4,779 ratings  ·  274 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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Adam Lauver
Feb 15, 2012 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
Feb 08, 2012 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
Jason Lyle
Aug 13, 2015 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.
Aug 07, 2011 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
Mack Hayden
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
While corny at times, I did enjoy this fictionalized dialogue between a struggling evangelical pastor and a more postmodern, openminded Christian. I'd been meaning to read this since my own evangelical days and, while it hasn't brought me back to the fold of Christianity at all, it's refreshing to see a depiction—even an imaginary one—where two people benefit from each other's opposing viewpoints with the shared goal of ensuring their religious beliefs line up with both truth as they can see it ...more
Benjamin Sigrist
Apr 18, 2010 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 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
Paul Dubuc
Sep 05, 2009 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 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 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
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
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!
Leigh Kramer
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An author that explores Christianity outside of the box. After reading this in college, I finally felt ready to take back my abandoned faith and wrestle with God a bit. It was refreshing to see that there were others out there like me who didn't quite fit into the conservative church we had grown up in.
Micah McCarty
Aug 26, 2012 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 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....
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.
Calvin Wulf
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Stimulating primmer to the influence of post-modernism on modern Christianity.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read a few reviews of this book and decided not to read or buy it, but a friend loaned me her book and suggested I read it, and so I did. Bottom line, I recommend this book for anyone who is tired of simplistic Christian formulas and longs for genuine faith in God, girded with love for God and the people of the world. The ideas are complex, but I think they are accessible and worth considering. The end gets long, but maybe I just need more sleep.

I think most of the reviewers evaluated the boo
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
When I first read this book to myself a few years ago, it and its sequels opened my eyes to a new way of believing. In the intervening years I have travelled further along that path and I now find myself with a much more comfortable and inclusive faith based on the love and acceptance that I see in the Jesus of the New Testament and on the subversive God of justice that underlies the whole of the Bible.

This book is written as a fictionalised account of a growing relationship between a worn-down
Ben Vore
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Parables of the inspirational/leadership ilk rank as about my least favorite form of literature, so when I picked this up and discovered it was, in fact, a parable, I was wary. McLaren gives fair warning in the intro: “Things will go much better for both of us if you consider this more in the category of a philosophical dialogue than a novel.” So, setting aside my qualms about this particular genre (as well as some of the dated references here — Palm Pilots are in vogue, as are sentences like, “ ...more
Dan Mayhew
OK, I gotta be honest here. I don't remember reading this book. That should probably tell you something about it. Either I never got around to reading it (it is in my library) or I started it and never finished, or I read it, liked some stuff and then forgot about it. It may have been the second option since, I have to admit, I'm not a McLaren fan. I'm too theologically conservative to be totally comfortable with his point of view. Anyhow, I'm going to leave it on my list so it won't appear that ...more
J. R.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: pilgrim
This is both interesting and well-written, a good introduction to one approach to the emergence of a new sort of Christian faith. It is sensitive, if a bit unkind to those still persuaded by a traditional paradigm. However, without going into a full critique of modernism from a post-modern standpoint (already done by other writers), it provides a good idea of how a new Christian fellowship might emerge. One deficiency that I believe the vision has is that it still accepts a basically passive "se ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith, must-reads
I first was recommended this book when hearing a talk by Rob Bell where he talked about how A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey effected his spiritual journey so I figured taking a walk down this path would at least be an interesting read. As a start I spent most of my 20's as a student of Youth Ministry at and I can't tell you how many books I was assigned on ministering to the Post-Modern culture. Each book described post-modernism as a dangerous and post-Chri ...more
Christy Baker
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, theology
Told primarily thru a fictional story, but with an introductory section as nonfiction to frame the ideas, this was an examination of Christianity and ways to move Christian theology forward (post-modern) rather than keeping stuck to ideas from the past. Despite attempts at being inclusive across all of Christianity, it is very much skewed towards either evangelical or more mainstream if slightly conservative Protestantism. Whether because of when the book was written or simply because I already ...more
Lee Tracy
This book is an easy listen, and I felt it was worth it for the introduction to McLaren's thinking, although I only went with this one because it was the one available from the library. It has a very dated, late 90s feel, which I guess is always what happens when you try to sound relevant and up-to-date, and yes, it's cheesy.
Ben Adkison
Jan 22, 2016 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
Steve Allison
Nov 02, 2016 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.
May 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked most of what he said, but it I did not like it as a fictional story. It really dragged as a novel. In fact, I did not feel it really was a novel. It was more a slow revealing of a new way of looking at Christianity. The low rating is not for what it says, but for how it is presented.
Ian DesJardins
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A simple yet important book for those seeking what the state of the current church could look like, or even Christianity as a whole. I like Brian's approach and how he told this story, as it is probably many others story's as well. A fun read.
Michael Goldstein
May 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Two word review: Straw Man.
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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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Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
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“Our interpretations reveal less about God or the Bible than they do about ourselves. They reveal what we want to defend, what we want to attack, what we want to ignore, what we’re unwilling to question.” 2 likes
“[In the story of the Good Samaritan,] everybody knows the robber is bad--but doesn't Jesus also imply an indictment on the priest and Levite? . . . The priest and Levite are over here. They are 'righteous' in a superficial way. They don't rob anybody. They're not like that lousy criminal who is over here, on the bad end of the line. Do you see it? That's the line we modern Christians try to live on the right end of it . . . The Samaritan traveler lives on a higher level, altogether. The issue isn't who is wrong or righteous; that's obvious. The issue is who is truly good.” 1 likes
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