Brian McLaren in Glasgow

Brian McLaren

Last night I went to hear author and pastor Brian McLaren speak at Vertigo in Strathclyde Uni’s Student Union.  These are my notes and some attempt to make some sense of them.

Jesus didn’t come to start a religion.  He came to start something else which he called the ‘Kingdom of God’.  But would Jesus use that term now given that the world is not organised in what we would know and understand as kingdoms?

If Jesus wouldn’t use ‘kingdom of God’, what would he use?

The Dream of God?

What is God’s dream for the world?  What does God hope for his creation?  How can we help to achieve that?  By working at what we think is important or by finding out what God is doing and joining in?

The Peace Revolution of God

Violence met with violence legitimises violence.  Peacemakers are blessed.  How can we actively make peace?  Not just abstain from violence but work for peace and reconciliation?

The Mission of God

What is God up to?  Is there a difference between the ‘evacuation gospel’ which says that this world is doomed so salvation is a ticket to somewhere better and the gospel that says God sent Jesus to redeem the world, so we should join in that work and make the world a better place now.

The Party of God

Like it sounds.  Jesus seemed to hang out and have a good time.  Is life for living and enjoying?

Or what would the political party of God look like?  Instead of pointing out why the ‘opposition’ is wrong might it highlight good ideas, areas of co-operation and opportunities for reconciliation?

Network of God

Like an online network.  A coalition of radicals joined in a common cause

Dance of God

Some of the early church fathers described the Trinity as a never ending dance where the Father is poured into the Spirit who is poured into the Son who is poured into the Father…

Ecosystem of God

Or the never ending dance of creation (it got a bit Circle of Life here)

God’s New Planet

A redeemed and restored world.  I had an interesting conversation today about whether the second coming would be at the end of the 6th age on the day of Restoration, the Sabbath.  A time of healing and renewal.

Beloved Community

Not just the people we live near but a world where we truly love our neighbours.  All of them.

God’s Economy

Can we imagine a world where economic growth is not measured in consumption but in how much we give back?

Or how about the Unterror Network of God?  Little cells of people meeting in secret, intent on doing good.  Planning guerrilla acts of kindness.

This reimagining of terminology may seem a little flippant or pointless but it points to some wider thinking about what the ‘kingdom of God’ is.  If the terms above describe the Kingdom then the question which follows is ‘How do we live in the Kingdom?’

4 thoughts on “Brian McLaren in Glasgow”

  1. I’ve caught some flack at times for trying to reimagine terminology related to the church and the Kingdom of God. Granted it was nothing that serious – but made me laugh either way.I like the idea of an Insurgency of God. Or an Insurgency of Peace and Love.I think primarily because its so counter to what we’re hearing elsewhere (specifically related to the Insurgency against Terror).Love it – great stuff!

  2. McLaren talked a bit about that last night.  The thought that there could be little groups of believers planning good.  Striking swiftly and taking no credit.  It’s a great image but he gave a couple of real examples where people in churches gather together teams of health care professionals, musicians and clowns and cooks and whatever and go help some people.  They roll up unannounced in a poor neighbourhood and start a party and get people some medical help and clothes and food and fun.  Then they leave.  Sounds amazing!

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