Item description for The Last Word and the Word after That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity (J-B Leadership Network Series) by Brian D. McLaren...
Overview In this final installment in the trilogy that begins with his award-winning "A New Kind Of Christian," McLaren tells an intriguing fictional tale that raises urgent questions about hell and what it means for the Christian view of God.
Publishers Description For all those seeking more authentic ways to hold and practice Christian faith, Brian McLaren has been an inspiring, compassionate--and provocative--voice. Starting with the award-winning "A New Kind of Christian, " McLaren offered a lively, wide-ranging fictional conversation between Pastor Dan Poole and his friend Neil Oliver as they reflected about faith, doubt, reason, mission, leadership, and spiritual practice in the emerging postmodern world. That conversation widened to include several intriguing new characters in the sequel, "The Story We Find Ourselves In, " as Dan and friends continued to explore faith-stretching themes from evolution to evangelism, from death to the meaning of life. Now, in this third installment of their adventures, Dan and his widening circle of friends grapple with conventional Christian teachings about hell and judgment and what they mean for our relationship with God and each other. Is there an alternative to the usual polar views of a just God short on mercy or a merciful God short on justice? Could our conflicted views of hell be symptoms of a deeper set of problems - misunderstandings about what God's justice and mercy are about, misconceptions about God's purpose in creating the world, deep misgivings about what kind of character God is and what the Christian gospel is for?
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.27" Width: 5.99" Height: 0.88" Weight: 0.72 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2008
Series Leadership Network Publication
Series Number 3
ISBN 0470248424 ISBN13 9780470248423
Availability 0 units.
More About Brian D. McLaren
Brian D. McLaren is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Washington-Baltimore area. He is the author of four previous books on contemporary Christianity, including The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix (2000) and A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey (Jossey-Bass, 2001), which won a Christianity Today Award of Merit for Best Christian Living title, 2002.
About Leadership Network The mission of Leadership Network is to accelerate the effectiveness of the church by identifying and connecting strategic leaders and providing them with resources in the form of new ideas, people, and tools. Churches and church leaders served by Leadership Network represent a wide variety of primarily Protestant faith traditions that range from mainline to evangelical to independent. All are characterized by innovation, entrepreneurial leadership, and a desire to be on the leading edge of ministry.
Brian D. McLaren currently resides in the state of Maryland. Brian D. McLaren was born in 1956.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Last Word and the Word after That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity (J-B Leadership Network Series)?
How to follow Jesus and not worry about Hell Jul 23, 2007
In my opinion, not quite as interestingly written as his second book in the series, this final book in the trilogy by McLaren does try to answer some of the most serious questions plaguing Christians in the post-modern age. The biggest question, "how can a good God let people burn forever in Hell", is parried and for me convincingly dealt with. McLaren thinks that preoccupation with a formula to keep ourselves and friends out of Hell (and to Hell with the heathen) detracts us from loving God and loving our neighbor, and from trying to make the world better, and therefore basically ignores the teachings of Jesus (the last word by the way is LOVE). McLaren falls back on C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce to speculate on what "Hell" might really be like - and that is good enough for me. The story of a Church crisis and recovery with reconciliations is timely and heart warming, as is the happy double wedding ending - however, it left me with still a lot of unanswered questions - I suppose as intended.
Turn from burn Jun 9, 2007
Talking about a discovery! I was already going up into the first two books of the trilogy, but this one strikes all! 2000 years of Christianity influences by one of the hottest subject of religion, Hell. Suddenly you're walking along with pastor Dan and Neo to discover the revealing truth about the Gates of Hell. You might wanna leave this book for what it is if you're all too sure about what you believe, but this book gives you something to think about. If this doesn't grab you... The gospel is getting better and better.
Easy read, on a touchy, complicated subject. Apr 3, 2007
If you have always wondered, "is hell real or not?", or are just curious to what different ways there are of looking at the concept of Hell, Brian McLaren does an excellent job of taking the facts and inserting them into a novel. A novel that is enjoyable and also easy to read.
You may not come away with all the answers, but you will come away with all the questions, lots of answers, and direction on where you can find more answers.
Whatever you do, don't only read the book half-way through just because your feeling your ego hurt and think the author is a heretic. Give the book a chance. Read it in the spirit it is being presented to you. And if you still have unanswered questions when done, then do some homework as the characters in the book did.
Definitely a book I am going to share with anyone struggling with the concept of Hell.
Well Written & Wrong Jan 5, 2007
If you are already convinced that Orthodox Christianity has been fundamentally flawed in its conception of God's justice, in the existence of Hell, in the manner in which Scripture is to be read and interpreted, and the purposes of God in Creation, then this book will affirm your convictions and make you feel warm and fuzzy all over.
If you are grappling with the issues of life and wonder how this notion of God fits in a world which seems to explain everything without regard to a vital spirituality. Then in this book you will find all the right questions being asked and done so in a highly readible, winsome manner. Be Aware! The right questions are asked but the wrong answers provided. (Yep, I believe in certainty & that certainty of doctrine is a good thing!)
If you are seeking insights into how Conservative Evangelical Christians handle these questions and how they have discovered the Scriptural warrant for their answers, then all you will find in this book is a straw man caricature that reduces the highly nuanced, warmly compassionate views of Reformed Theology down to a power monging, insecure soul who just cannot rise to the challenge of critical thinking.
There is no doubt of McLaren's courage nor his willingness to address tough questions. The essential problem is his post-modern convictions about truth. To McLaren, anything that is repugnant to his own sensibilities must be wrong. He, at heart, must be the final judge of what is true (for himself, I am sure he would say, even if not for anyone else). Therefore, if the Scriptures proclaim something which he finds repugnant to his own sensibilities, i.e. God inflicting an eternity of conscious torment on people that McLaren considers "good", then the Scriptures must be interpreted in some way that is more in line with his own thinking. "God is much better than we have ever thought" is his version of the Gospel and on the bare face of it, that idea has much to commend it. But the idea that God is "much better", or "too good" to countenance the idea of Hell comes down to recasting God in McLaren's image, something which I would think God finds highly offensive.
McLaren seeks to elevate our thinking about God. That is good. What is not good is that he is more than willing to read back into Scripture every post-modern literary technique which he has adopted and to presume that Jesus dealt with issues the way that he, McLaren, would deal with them.
If you are asking the questions that McLaren asks, then "you go, girl!" Keep at it. Do not allow yourself to stop with the answers he provides. There are answers "after that."
Hopefully Not McLaren's Last Word! Nov 10, 2006
Absolutely loved this book! It is possibly my favorite of McLaren's books from the New Kind of Christian series. He tackles the subject of the hereafter with amazing finesse. I thought the book was thoughtful,kind and challenging while looking into the subject of hell. His chapter regarding the Holocaust Museum was incredibly moving and personal. The characters vary some from book to book, but the main ones are recognizable, and new ones keep the focus fresh. It is possible to jump right in on this third book without previously reading his first two. However, I found it helpful to have some background from reading them in order. McLaren always leaves me hungry for more.