Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"The Secret Meaning of Jesus" Contest Update

For those who missed it on this week's "Ten Things I Think I Think", I am conducting a contest to give away two copies of Brian McClaren's newest book, "The Secret Meaning of Jesus". Have had two people who have already emailed looking to win (which is probably two more than I expected). For your chance to win, all you need to do is email me at , and briefly tell me why I should give you this book, offer at least one suggestion for a future blog post, and an address where I can send you your copy if you win (postage is on me). The winner will announced on May 8th.

For those of you who have never read McClaren's work, I think you'd find it thought-provoking and interesting. McClaren is attempting to wrestle with Christian faith in a post-modern world.

What does "wrestle with the Christian faith in the post-modern world" mean?

Well, when I was a kid growing up in the 70's, the church's position on things like how inerrant the Bible is, who Jesus was, and the nature of how the world was created was defined largely by pastors and theologians, and while under attack by a few doubters, was pretty much accepted as "truth" by the rank and file in this country. But a few things have happened since those simple days. First and foremost, as fewer people here and Western Europe went to church (attendance has steadily declined since the 60's in the US, and since WWII in Europe), fewer people were around to hear what the local pastor was saying, and began to look in different quarters for ideas on religious faith. At the same time, scientific theories (like evolution) and discoveries (like dinosaurs) began to challenge the church's worldview about how the world was created, it's age, and how it works.

By the end of the 20th Century, the church no longer was the definitive voice on morality, issues of faith, culture, and education. With the advent of the internet and other means of diffusing information in volumes and speeds we've never encountered before, now people could decide for themselves what they wanted to believe about all things, including God.

Forced into a position where now it was simply "A" voice, not "THE" voice, on spirituality, the church in this post-modern (or as some would term it, post-Christian) age is being forced to deal with ongoing scientific discoveries (cloning, DNA manipulation, etc..), new discoveries made about the Bible by archaeologists and scholars that challenge some long held (and possibly erroneous) assumptions about basic tenets of the faith, and a world where fewer and fewer people know much about Jesus Christ. Fortunately, because science has failed to correct all of society's ills, a new sense of openness, particularly among younger people, is giving Christian apologists a chance to present its message and meaning in a new, fresh way.

Brian McClaren, who founded Cedar Creek Community Church in suburban D.C., through his lectures and writings, has become a leader among those who are attempting to renew trust and faith in people who felt like the church failed them, while at the same time telling the story of Jesus from a new perspective. This book will, for most of you, challenge your basic understanding of who Jesus is, but I guarantee you it will be worth the read and the struggle.

Hope to hear from you. More updates will given as the contest progresses.

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