Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?
Thanks to everyone who attended this event on Friday, Sept 14, 2012.
Click here to see upcoming stops on Brian McLaren's book tour.
You will be redirected to Brian's partner, Life in the Trinity Ministry.
Click here to ask a question
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A generative friendship is developing among a growing number of people nationally and in the Boston-metro area who are interested in creating spaces and opportunities for conversations about creativity, compassion, and community.
Following Brian's presentation, a space will be available to start or continue these conversations which will include chairs, tables, refreshments, and an opportunity to meet Brian.
If you would like to contribute to this event in any way, please send an email to: info[at]fbcnewton[dot]org.
To learn more about this event's co-host, Andover Newton Theological School, please visit the school's website: www.ants.edu.
When four religious leaders walk across the road, it’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s the start of one of the most important conversations in today’s world.
Since 9/11 the question has become more and more urgent: How should Christians - members of the world’s largest religion - treat members of other religions? If we maintain an “Us vs. Them” attitude or make conversion the price of love and fellowship, we fuel mutual misunderstanding and hostility. But if we buy tolerance for other faiths at the cost of commitment to our own, we undermine our own faith.
In his best book yet, widely acclaimed author and speaker Brian McLaren proposes a third alternative to these unsatisfactory options, one built on “benevolence and solidarity rather than rivalry and hostility.” This way of being Christian is strong but it doesn’t strong-arm anyone. It goes far beyond mere tolerance to vigorous hospitality toward, interest in, and collaboration with the other. It is more necessary than ever before.
Simple yet profound, this groundbreaking book shows readers step-by-step how to reclaim this strong-benevolent faith, revealing:
Praise for Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?:
Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World
"[Brian McLaren] actually believes that Jesus and his followers can change the world. This book is no exception—he starts with a joke but quickly you realize just how serious he is about doing what Jesus teaches us to do. Helpful, timely, and really, really inspiring."
--Rob Bell, author of Love Wins
“This is a major work in every sense of the word—so major, in fact, that it would be impossible to exaggerate either its importance or its worth to the current conversation about religion and religions. Mapping the space between Christian exclusivity and inert universalism, McLaren brilliantly reclaims as well the ancient Christian imperative to abandon the accommodations of static religion and pursue instead the principles of Kingdom-living.”
--Phyllis Tickle, Lecturer on Religion in America and Author of Emergence Christianity: What it Is, Where it is Going, and Why it Matters
"Surely there is no problem more important—and more vexing—to people of various faiths than how we can all get along in this pluralistic, postmodern world. In Brian McLaren's capable and gentle hands, these questions are answered, and a new way forward is offered. This is a book for Christians (and others) who want to maintain their religious distinctiveness but develop loving compassion for their neighbors of other religions."
--Tony Jones, Ph.D., (tonyj.net) author of The New Christians and The Church Is Flat and theologian-in-residence at Solomon's Porch
“Brian has resisted the temptation to create an all-you-can-eat buffet of religions, where you can pick and choose what you want. Instead, he curiously explores what it looks like to be unashamedly Christian and still be nice to people who aren’t. As one who wants the world to know the love of Jesus, I am deeply troubled that one of the major obstacles to Christ is Christians…and I am deeply grateful for thinkers like Brian who are helping us discover a Christianity that looks like Jesus again.”
--Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and lover of Jesus
“With his characteristic wit and passion, Brian McLaren charts a way through the twenty-first century's most difficult issue: How can people of different religions maintain their own faiths and yet respect the dignity of all? Join Brian as he takes you on a journey to discover a benevolent Christian faith based on hospitality instead of hostility. It will change your life. And it might just change the world.”
--Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening.
“An extraordinary book: A thought-provoking introduction to one of the biggest challenges confronting the church in our globalised world; a profoundly biblical and brave beginning to a Christ-centred cultural revolution.”
--Steve Chalke, MBE, Founder, Oasis Global & Stop The Traffik United Nations GIFT Special Advisor on Community Action Against Human Trafficking
“Brian McLaren is a genius in provoking—in a constructive way. You won’t see relations among religions in the same way after you read this book.”
--Miroslav Volf, professor of theology at Yale University, and author of Allah: A Christian Response (HarperOne) and A Public Faith (Brazos)
“With wisdom and wit, Brian McLaren courageously explores the contours of his Christian faith in light of his experiences with people from other religious communities. His questions and insights are important contributions to the unfolding interfaith discussion in the United States and beyond.”
--Rabbi Or N. Rose, Director, The Center for Global Judaism, Hebrew College
“Genuine dialogue with difference has often been avoided by the Christian community because of a fear that it will undermine, weaken or erode the faith. Here McLaren shows us that far from being something that is acidic to Christian identity such engagement is part of its deepest expression.”
--Peter Rollins, Author of Insurrection: To Believe is Human; To Doubt, Divine
“It’s not just that Brian will turn the deepest inner struggles and yearnings of your faith into smiles, tears, and belly laughs. It’s that he really gets what it means to be a follower of Jesus without judging and dismissing others. I have not felt so much optimism about a constructive Christian life in years!”
--Philip Clayton, Provost of Claremont Lincoln University; author of Transforming Christian Theology
“This is a book not only for liberal and conservative Christians but for people of all religious backgrounds who struggle with how to have a strong religious identity in a multi-faith world. This wonderful book fleshes out what it really means to be neighborly with the ‘other.’”
--Jeff Burns, peacemaker/activist and East Coast regional director for Peace Catalyst International.
"I think Brian McLaren is a spiritual genius! Not only does he have the courage to say what must and can be said, but he says it with a deep knowledge of both Scriptures and Tradition, and then says it very well besides—in ways that both the ordinary layperson and the scholar can respect and understand. You can't get any better than that.”
— [Fr.] Richard Rohr, O.F.M, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
“Brian wants us to have an identity crisis—to ask ourselves what it is about our group identities and the beliefs we profess that causes the addiction to chosenness, to uniqueness, to projecting our fears and insecurities on to the other. The chapter on Christology alone is worth the cover price.”
--Mark Braverman, human rights activist and author, Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the search for peace in the Holy Land
“Brian McLaren is the most creative Christian theologian and spiritual teacher writing and preaching today in the U.S., yet his universal message is as relevant to people of all faiths and none. As a Jewish theologian, I welcome this important contribution to showing the path through which all religions can become an emancipatory force for human liberation.”
--Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun, chair of the Interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives, Author of Jewish Renewal, Spirit Matters, The Politics of Meaning, and The Left Hand of God
“Brian McLaren is a master of pointing us to the right question, and he has done it again by asking Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?. This is a dangerous question. Dangerous in that it will not leave you alone once you invite it in… Brian reminds us that this question is not new, but that it is ours.”
--Doug Pagitt, pastor, author, radio host, www.DougPagitt.com
“I recommend this new guidebook leading us to better multi-faith understanding 1) because the content is creative, and engaging and 2) because the author has shown the character in his life that qualifies him to direct us in this effort. There are few other books in this genre you will enjoy more than Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World.”
--Randy S. Woodley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Faith and Culture, George Fox Seminary, Portland Oregon; Author, Living in Color: Embracing God’s Passion for Ethnic Diversity
“Brian doesn’t shy away from the challenging issues regarding interfaith cooperation. This is a book to cherish, to read over and over, a book that sheds light and warmth on one of the most difficult questions of our era.”
--Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core, Author of Acts of Faith and Sacred Ground
“I continue to be stretched and challenged by Brian McLaren's books and his latest is no exception…This could be among Brian's most important books to date, and its message must be thoughtfully considered. In the end, whether or not one agrees with all of Brian's conclusions, it is sure that in a shrinking, pluralistic world we can't afford to ignore his important admonition.”
--Raborn Johnson, Co-host, BeyondtheBoxPodcast.com
“I remember the time when I gave my life to Jesus: the tears, the joy, my whole being trembling with possibilities. Only to be told over the years that being a Christian means staying enclosed in what and whom we know. No more. And no fear. To live an open life does not mean playing loose with Christian identity. Quite to the contrary, it turns out that moving outwards and rooting deeper is the very same process! With this book Brian McLaren blows the lid off, and after reading it, I tremble again.”
--Samir Selmanovic, author of It’s Really All About God: How Islam, Atheism, and Judaism Made Me a Better Christian
“Walk with Brian with a readiness to be comforted at one turn, and disturbed at another. This is no mere academic exercise, but deeply personal, pastoral and ultimately missional.”
--Sivin Kit, PhD student in Religion, Ethics and Society at the University of Agder, Norway and Lutheran Pastor in Malaysia.
“This book is a tremendous and timely contribution both to the Christian faith and to the global community.”
--Dr. Sailesh Rao, founder of Climate Healers and author of Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies
“In its relationship to those who believe differently, Christian formation all too often takes shape with hostile reaction, or collapses into some washed out common denominator. Brian helps us recover, and explore a vital and exciting alternative: how learning from ‘others’ of all persuasions, is possible and intrinsic to vibrant Christian identity.”
– Jason Clark, Deep Church
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is an ecumenical global networker among innovative Christian leaders.
Born in 1956, he graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in English (BA, summa cum laude, 1978, and MA, in 1981). His academic interests included Medieval drama, Romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr. Walker Percy. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and in 2010, he received a second honorary doctorate, this one from Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal).
From 1978 to 1986, McLaren taught college English, and in 1982, he helped form Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region (crcc.org). He left higher education in 1986 to serve as the church's founding pastor and served in that capacity until 2006. During that time, Cedar Ridge earned a reputation as a leader among emerging missional congregations.
Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors since the mid 1980's, and has assisted in the development of several new churches. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings - across the US and Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. His public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, evangelism, leadership, global mission, spiritual formation, worship, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, ecology, and social justice.
He is primarily known, however, as a thinker and writer. His first book, The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix, (Zondervan, 1998, rev. ed. 2000) has been recognized as a primary portal into the current conversation about postmodern ministry. His second book, Finding Faith (Zondervan, 1999), is a contemporary apologetic, written for thoughtful seekers and skeptics. (It was later re-released as two short books, A Search for What Makes Sense and A Search for What is Real). More Ready Than You Realiz" (Zondervan, 2002) presents a refreshing approach to spiritual friendship. Adventures in Missing the Poin" (coauthored with Dr. Anthony Campolo, Zondervan, 2003) explores theological reform in a postmodern context. A Generous Orthodoxy (Zondervan, 2004), is a personal confession and has been called a "manifesto of the emerging church conversation."
His first work of teaching fiction (or creative-nonfiction), A New Kind of Christian (Jossey-Bass, 2001), won Christianity Today's "Award of Merit" in 2002, and has become one of the pivotal texts for what is increasingly called "Emergence Christianity." It was followed by The Story We Find Ourselves In (Jossey-Bass, 2003), which seeks to tell the Biblical story in a fresh way. Brian concluded this trilogy with The Last Word and the Word After That (Jossey-Bass, 2005), a book that reopened the question of hell and final judgment.
His 2006 release, The Secret Message of Jesus (Thomas Nelson), explores the theme of the kingdom of God in the teachings of Jesus. Everything Must Change (Thomas Nelson, 2007) traces critical ways in which Jesus' message of the kingdom of God confronts contemporary global crises. In Finding Our Way Again (Thomas Nelson, 2008), Brian draws resources from ancient traditions and practices to enrich spiritual formation today.
In A New Kind of Christianity (HarperOne, 2010), Brian articulated ten questions that are central to the emergence of a postmodern, post-colonial Christian faith. His 2011 HarperOne release, Naked Spirituality, offers "simple, doable, and durable" practices to help people deepen their life with God.
Brian's books have been translated into many languages, including Korean, Chinese, French, Swedish, Norwegian, German, and Spanish. He has written for or contributed interviews to many periodicals, including Leadership, Sojourners, Tikkun, Worship Leader, and Conversations. He is an active and popular blogger, a musician, and a songwriter, offering a variety of resources through his website, www.brianmclaren.net.
A frequent guest on television, radio, and news media programs, he has appeared on Larry King Live, Nightline, and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. His work has also been covered in Time (where he was listed as one of American's 25 most influential evangelicals), Christianity Today, Christian Century, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and many other print media.
He has taught or lectured at many seminaries and has served on a number of boards, including Emergent Village (emergentvillage.com), Sojourners (sojo.net), International Teams (iteams.org), and Off The Map (off-the-map.org), and he is a founding member of Red Letter Christians (redletterchristians.org).
Brian is married to Grace, and they have four adult children. His personal interests include wildlife, ecology, fishing, hiking, music, art, and literature.