About the Author: Brian McLaren

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for "a new kind of Christianity" - just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is an Auburn Senior Fellow, a contributor to We Stand With Love, and a leader in the Convergence Network, through which he is developing an innovative training/mentoring program for pastors and church planters. 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 Realize" (Zondervan, 2002) presents a refreshing approach to spiritual friendship. "Adventures in Missing the Point" (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 "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? (Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World)" was the premier release of Jericho Books (September 2012). It explores the intersection of religious identity, inter-religious hostility, and human solidarity. His 2014 release, We Make the Road by Walking, marks a turn toward constructive and practical theology. And his 2016 release, The Great Spiritual Migration, has been hailed as his most important work to date. Brian's books have been translated into many languages, including Korean, Chinese, French, Swedish, Norwegian, German, Portuguese, 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 All Things Considered, Larry King Live, Nightline, On Being, 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, CNN.com, 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 the Seattle School, and he is a founding member of Red Letter Christians (redletterchristians.org) and the Convergence Network. Brian is married to Grace, and they have four adult children and five grandchildren. His personal interests include wildlife and ecology, fly fishing and kayaking, music and songwriting, art, history, and literature.
  • A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned

    By Published On: August 9, 2022

    Do I Stay Christian? addresses in public the powerful question that surprising numbers of people—including pastors, priests, and other religious leaders—are asking in private.

  • Q&A With Brian McLaren

    By Published On: July 6, 2022

    How can I get through to my friends and relatives who have been activated by Fox News and other extremist media to be afraid of Critical Race Theory? They don’t even know what CRT is, but they sure are afraid of it.

  • By Published On: April 28, 2022

    If Jesus was right when he said, in his inaugural address (as found in Luke 4), that the Spirit of God’s agenda is to help the oppressed, the weak, the broken-hearted, those with (in Thurman’s words) their backs against the wall, then no wonder many people are struggling with their religious identity.

  • Q&A with Brian McLaren

    By Published On: March 16, 2022

    How do I not perceive my loving husband as ignorant? He’s so intelligent otherwise that I don’t understand how he can believe in the Bible as a literal history.

  • By Published On: September 15, 2021

    Do you think that the Church has adequately explored and explained the spiritual aspects of evolution? What does it mean spiritually that we evolved from apes?

  • Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It

    By Published On: May 4, 2021

    Sixty-five million adults in the U.S. have dropped out of active church attendance and about 2.7 million more are leaving every year. "Faith After Doubt" is for the millions of people around the world who feel that their faith is falling apart.

  • By Published On: April 28, 2021

    I have a question about the relationship of Progressive Christianity and Jesus.

  • By Published On: December 28, 2020

    I was really inspired by Rep. Alexia Ocasio-Cortez’s response to the insults of Rep. Ted Yoho, but I was equally disappointed by Yoho’s pseudo-apology. What makes a good apology?

  • By Published On: September 9, 2020

    For centuries now, standing for literalistic readings of the Bible and standing against science have been baked into the recipe of what it means to be a conservative Protestant, and since the 1980’s, it’s gotten worse, as hard-core Fundamentalists have staged a near-complete takeover of the Evangelical movement.

  • By Published On: April 5, 2020

    Would you comment from your Christian perspective on the Buddhist assertion that we have no separate self or separate existence because we cannot understand who we are without understanding who we aren't, and our separate existence is known only because of everything we are? Is the sense of self an illusion?

  • By Published On: March 17, 2020

    In this controversial and thought-provoking book, McLaren explores the questions that will determine the shape of Christianity for the next 500 years.

  • By Published On: September 2, 2019

    Why are some Christian Churches growing in numbers and outreach? Is there any room to find agreement and move on with the work of Jesus Christ ? 

  • By Published On: August 15, 2019

    I grew up as one but like to ask questions and realize you are all on the right track. I along with my wife attend an Evangelical church nearly every Sunday and wonder the best ways to talk about science, global warming, the age of the earth, evolution, biblical errors and so on, of which Evangelicals seem so terrified.

  • By Brian D. McLaren

    By Published On: August 8, 2019

    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.

  • Daily Reflections on a New Way to Experience and Practice the Christian Faith

    By Published On: June 18, 2019

    Based on his book We Make The Road By Walking, Brian D. McLaren presents a 52-week devotional to inspire and activate you in your spiritual journey. If you're a seeker exploring Christianity, if you're a long-term believer feeling downtrodden, if your faith seems to be a lot of talk without much practice, here you'll find a reorientation from a fresh and healthy perspective.

  • By Published On: February 13, 2019

    The Christian story, from Genesis until now, is fundamentally about people on the move—outgrowing old, broken religious systems and embracing new, more redemptive ways of life. It’s time to move again.

  • By Published On: February 13, 2019

    The story we tell about the world shapes how we live. Along Cory's journey, readers will discover six familiar stories that have repeated through history, teaching us all how to dominate, fear, or withdraw from the world and the beautiful people in it. The good news is that there is another story, a path of openheartedness toward others. Cory's discovery of the Seventh Story will inspire children and adults alike.

  • By Published On: January 26, 2017

    In the same way he revitalized our faith in A New Kind of Christianity, church leader Brian McLaren reinvigorates our approach to spiritual fulfillment in Naked Spirituality—by tearing down the old dogmatic practices that hamper our spiritual growth, and leading us toward the meaningful spiritual practices that can help transform our lives.

  • By Published On: May 26, 2015

    Learn why we believe “Common Cause Communities” are the future of church planting. Hear why Brian McClaren, Peter Rollins, and Alexie Torres-Fleming (among others) are joining our guest faculty.

  • By Published On: March 19, 2012

      When I was a young Evangelical Christian coming of age back in the early 1970s, I remember feeling that there were two