GCR 3.2 Brian McLaren and Phil Shepherd: Navigating Shifts in the Church

What do we do with dying churches? Is the emerging church male-dominated? Why? Which is more likely to reform, denominations or evangelicalism? Does Brian McLaren still claim the title “evangelical”?

And perhaps the most burning gender/power question: Should Landon Whitsitt be taken seriously if he calls himself “eye candy”?

These are some questions we asked Brian McLaren (okay… so we didn’t ask him about Landon…). Brian is an author, speaker, and activist. Most recently, he wrote the book A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that Are Transforming the Faith. Join us!

On this episode:
The Eucatastrophe
Whiskey Preacher
Music by John Austin
A New Kind of Christianity
Montreat Conference Center
Emerging Church Wikipedia Site
Reframing Hope

And if you want to hear more from Brian McLaren, check out the Presbyterian Outlook’s  Upcoming Webinar.

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13 Responses to “GCR 3.2 Brian McLaren and Phil Shepherd: Navigating Shifts in the Church”
  1. ron cole says:

    Hi from up here off the west coast of Canada. Accidentally came across your program surfing i-tunes a couple of months ago. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy the program and content. I really appreciated the conversation around future church…especially around leadership and structure. I really think leadership will have to change for church to be sustainable in the future. Paid professionalism is coming to an end, it will be more shared leadership from the center of community rather than top down. Communities will be smaller, fluid and more mobile. And evangelism will will flow from Kingdom acts, in which we attach the profound mystery of the parables…this will be where faith in works and action become one. Sermons won't be delivered from the pulpit, the will flow from conversations in a community living out faith. Anyway, you've got me thinking…thanks.

  2. Mark BakerWright says:

    As a quasi-still-evangelical (who, like McClaren, wonders increasingly whether I want to retain that label), I think this may have been the best episode of GCR yet. I especially enjoyed two aspects: 1) The list of good things McClaren claims to have gotten out of his evangelical heritage, despite his (and my) differences with much of that tradition today, and 2) the discussion between CHM and LW at the end.

    One (very minor, although it won't sound like it here!) quibble. It's perfectly fine not to like the song "Awesome God," but did you have to call awful so resoundingly? More to the point, I would have appreciated some discussion as to why you don't like it. Is it just that it was played SO MUCH back in the day? Is it because of the way in which God is depicted (and, if so, I'd like examples)? I'd probably be more than a little sympathetic to such reasons (and indeed share many of them), but would like to have been able to hear the discussion engaged. For better or worse, songs like "Awesome God" were formative for me, and I still have some happy memories around that song despite some pretty deep issues with it today. And, even with those deep issues with the song, I couldn't help but feel that the good parts of my past were being ridiculed along with the bad.

    • Carol says:

      Sorry Mark. I didn’t mean to mock something important to you. We did talk about why we didn’t like it a bit more, but we ran out of time, so I had to cut it.

      It was because of the verses:

      When He rolls up His sleeves
      He ain’t just putting on the ritz
      (Our God is an awesome God)
      There’s thunder in His footsteps
      And lightning in His fists
      (Our God is an awesome God)
      And the Lord wasn’t joking
      When He kicked ‘em out of Eden
      It wasn’t for no reason
      That He shed His blood
      His return is very close
      And so you better be believing that
      Our God is an awesome God

      And when the sky was starless
      In the void of the night
      (Our God is an awesome God)
      He spoke into the darkness
      And created the light
      (Our God is an awesome God)
      Judgment and wrath He poured out on Sodom
      Mercy and grace He gave us at the cross
      I hope that we have not
      Too quickly forgotten that
      Our God is an awesome God

      • (Sorry this took me so long to come back and check) I suspected something like that. And, indeed, I'm sympathetic to the impulse to cringe at those more judgmental verses. This is something that would be worth discussing in another forum. What do we do with the stories these verses (perhaps too simplistically) refer to? They are, indeed, part of our Bible, and show us something about God (if, I hasten to add, perhaps not what some people have assumed they show us about God).

  3. Ron, Thank you so much for listening, and for letting us in on your insights.

  4. Danny Iselin says:

    Beware of anything remotely related to historic Protestant Christianity coming of late from the presses of Harper and Row. It's pure sensationalism–whether McClaren or Spong– and it's all about sales, sales, and sales. If the public libraries are so hoodwinked, we Christians should not be. Let's stick to the curriculum that is not a novelty.
    Don't waste your money.

  5. Hi Carol – just checking in to see what you’re all about. Looks great! I will have to come back and peruse more.

    Jonathan from Spritzophrenia :)

  6. Ken says:

    Wow, I'm serving as an Interim Pastor in a church that is examining it's future, and how to reinvent itself–if it can. Hard questions are being asked, but also a new kind of energy has been discovered in the process–so this conversation with Brian McLaren timely. Thanks


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