A Feature Review of
The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian
Reviewed by Leslie Klingensmith
For several years, I was a Brian McLaren skeptic. It wasn’t personal. I’ve never met him, and have not seen him speak in person (although I would like that to change). My skepticism was based on what felt like a universal wave of adulation for him that, in my opinion, was easily turned into dismissal of everything about the church and our history. While I agree that much about the church needs to (indeed MUST) change, I bristle at the suggestion that the church by which I was nurtured and to whom I have dedicated my vocational life is as hopelessly misguided and selfish as many McLaren devotees say it is. After all, there are millions of people across denominations who are doing such wonderful work in the world and who make me hopeful for the future of God’s people. If the church produced them, can it be all bad? Skeptics in the McLaren universe don’t get very far – if you raise questions about the “Everything Must Change” mind set, you are dismissed as defensive and too invested in the old order of things. If you point out ways that the current church is already moving in many of the directions McLaren advocates, especially missional communities and emphasis on serving the wider world instead of maintaining institutions, you are in denial about how bad things really are in the mainline church. Brian McLaren’s cult-like status got on my nerves.