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The New Kind of a Christian by Brian McLaren is a book which is written as a philosophical dialogue, with a true story behind a Story. It is a narration of McLaren’s, crisis which he went through when he was 38. This was such a time that he was already feed up; a condition he describes as ‘burn out’ of serving as an evangelical pastor. Actually, McLaren he was sick of being a Christian because he felt that what he would have expected from Christianity is no longer to be gained (McLaren 2001). In his heart, he thought of two possible solutions:
1) Carry on with a Christianity version without bothering himself about how effective or ineffective the faith is.
2) Denounce the faith and leave the ministry he served in the church , altogether
Lucky for him, he found a different way to deal with this issue; this third alternative was for him to learn to be a Christian in a different way. This came with a realization that Christianity was closely intertwined with modernism as it was to the Bible.
In this book, McLaren’s controlling argument is that modernity has had such a far reaching influence on both the liberals and evangelicals that they have to depart from modernity, and to adopt a postmodern lifestyle. McLaren asserts that Christianity itself is failing, untrue or flawed, or our contemporary, commercialized, industrial-strength westernized version of itself requires a serious revision and a fresh look, Hence one has to shed the systems and theologies developed in modernity if sentimental postmodern ministry is to take place (McLaren 2001).
Even though the book is written as a narrative, McLaren engages the reader by challenging him/her not to consider it as any other novel but as a philosophical dialogue, between an African-American high school science teacher called Neo, who happens to be a ex- pastor himself and an evangelical pastor called Dan who struggles with thoughts of whether or not to keep on in the pastorate (McLaren 2001). Neo mentors Dan and acts as his tour guide through what Mc Larren considers the passage from a modern to a postmodern outlook of Christian ministry and faith.
Although the book is outstanding, some aspects of it may be difficult for a number of readers to agree with. For instance, at some point, Neo argues that at the end of it all, the world is more affluent having the other religions than have no religion at all, or just having one faith, even if it was Christianity (McLaren 2001). The writer argues his point well and to some extent; it makes a lot of sense. The writer does not imply that other religions are correct, but that they have their role in leading us to Christ; a point which many will never agree with. He points out that just as the law was out to guide us to Christ, as by Paul explains in Galatians, these other religions may serve the same purpose (McLaren 2001).
This presentation is an innovative format to convey a number of faith changing ideas. It challenges the audience and invites the person who reads to take a new look at their present view of their faith and how this faith influences or is influenced by their world around them. Having realized that we are in a changing postmodern era, a move from our scientific, industrial, consumer, to a yet to be established new dispensation will establish a holistic and relevant view of our religion and what the real meaning of being a Christian. McLaren provides a critical and a provocative evaluation of the present Christianity, and especially evangelicals and how they approach post-modernism.