I have been reading Brian McLaren’s latest book, Everything Must Change, and participating in a blog thread at Scot McKnight’s JesusCreed.org. That thread has now run its course and Scot posted his book review today. If you are aware of Emergent Church thinking; if you are interested in understanding where a significant part of the church is headed; then I highly recommend this book. I consider it definitive even as I find myself disagreeing with significant portions of the ideas presented. Following is the summation response (edited) that I posted on that blog this morning. JJB

WOW! What a ride! Thanks Scot; thanks to all of you, for letting me into a place that felt so out of my league and yet felt so welcome. Coming from my Old Order Amish past to the fringe of emergent/postmodern thinking is quite a stretch. Thanks for letting me learn, glean and hopefully grow with each of you. Thanks, for the things that have, and hopefully will continue to change in my life.

My personal take: EMC left me, alternately gathering gold and fleeing chaff. I am unable to reconcile with where the book seems to go in the applications phase of each idea presented. In its simplest form, it feels like Brian suggests changing the kingdoms of the world by diluting them with the kingdom of God. It feels like we are using “hands” to build within the world’s kingdoms instead of being part of the ever-growing rock that smites the image at its feet. As so many of you have already expressed, it is hard to understand ‘kingdom’ from Brian’s viewpoint.

It is true; the church has changed, is changing, and always will change the world around us. However this change is peripheral to the change he creates within the community of the redeemed. We receive of ‘His fullness’ and intentionally leave hands-full of grain, lying at the edge of the field where an impoverished world may glean if it so chooses. I am a new son of the new kingdom I partake of the New Testament in His Body. I am changed by His word; leavened by new yeast; I am given (graciously,) ‘my daily bread.’ He sends his Holy Spirit to us; and yes, there are crumbs, there are seven baskets of leftovers; let the dogs have them. His word is sent to us and not to them. We are the people where everything must change. We are the church, the community, the Kingdom of God. Let his word dwell in us richly; let the changes begin.