CBF Podcast: A Conversation with Brian McLaren

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By Andy Hale 

Everyone has an opinion. No, seriously. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E has to add their two cents to ______ (fill in the blank).

You could change America’s slogan of E pluribus unum to E pluribus unum est praeter plura oratoribus…okay, maybe my Latin is a little off.

We not only have talking heads on just about every TV channel, but you can turn to social media for the more local flavor on the same topics. And the problem is not our multiplicity of perspectives, it’s that we aren’t listening to each other due to the partisan and entrenched fingers in our ears.

Ministers are no different. There is almost this unwritten rule that you truly do not care about matters of the world unless you’ve given your opinion about them in a really long post on Facebook or multi-tier tweet.

It was the great Karl Barth who wrote, “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.”

However, like many generations of pastors before, today’s ministers find themselves speaking from the pulpit and social media on matters that can often fall on partisan ears. What might be spoken out of Gospel-centric convictions is too often received with merciless negative feedback, withholding of tithes or membership departures.

We sat down with Brian McLaren to discuss how today’s minister can strive to be prophetic and pastoral, as well as what to do when the response calls, emails and online comments come flooding in.

“The challenges ministers face is the urgency not to respond to criticism with domestication,” McLaren said. “What’s striking to me is how terrifying it is for so many of our pastors to have to challenge people to just do stuff that’s really, really obvious from the teachings of Jesus.”

Brian McLaren is the best-selling author of A New Kind of Christian, The Secret Message of Jesus, A Generous Orthodoxy, Naked Spirituality, and The Great Spiritual Migration.

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CBF’s podcast shares stories from across the Fellowship and innovative practices of those working to renew God’s world. The vision is to share ideas, stories, and innovations from ministers, authors, and practitioners.

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This podcast episode is brought to you by Fuller Seminary and The Center for Congregational Health.

Andy Hale created and hosts the podcast of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy

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