Patheos Featured Writers

Brian McLaren
Columnist

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is an ecumenical global networker among innovative Christian leaders.

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 1980s, 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 books have been translated into many languages, including Korean, Chinese, French, Swedish, Norwegian, German, 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 Larry King Live, Nightline, 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, 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), Mars Hill Graduate School (mhgs.edu), International Teams (iteams.org), and Off The Map (off-the-map.org), and he is a founding member of Red Letter Christians (redletterchristians.org).

Brian is married to Grace, and they have four adult children. His personal interests include wildlife, ecology, fishing, hiking, music, art, and literature.

Works by Brian McLaren
When Patriarchy Is the Problem (Not the Solution)
Brian McLaren | November 29, 2017
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The Last Reformation … and the Next Reformation
Brian McLaren | November 01, 2017
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The 'Alt-Right' Has Created Alt-Christianity
Brian McLaren | September 18, 2017
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In Praise of Political Correctness (A Poem)
Brian McLaren | June 27, 2016
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Q&R: Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner?
Brian McLaren | June 24, 2016
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A Post-Easter Meditation
Brian McLaren | March 29, 2016
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Faith Can Change the Climate: The Rev. Jim Wallis
Brian McLaren | March 03, 2016
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The Afraid People
Brian McLaren | January 15, 2016
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David Gushee gets it right on Wheaton College
Brian McLaren | January 07, 2016
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A Sabbatical...
Brian McLaren | November 11, 2015
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Gradye Parsons to Donald Trump
Brian McLaren | October 29, 2015
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The Pope in America: Three Steps Forward!
Brian McLaren | September 11, 2015
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A Sermon from a 9 Year Old
Brian McLaren | August 25, 2015
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In light of the history of belief-system Christianity we have good reason, if not a......
Q&R: Church Futures?
Brian McLaren | May 22, 2015
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The Uprising Begins: An Easter Sunday Reflection
Brian McLaren | April 05, 2015
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In Honor of Marcus Borg
Brian McLaren | January 23, 2015
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Peter Enns on the Bible, Part 3
Brian McLaren | October 07, 2014
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Peter Enns on the Bible, Part 2
Brian McLaren | September 29, 2014
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Peter Enns on The Bible , Part I
Brian McLaren | September 17, 2014
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Dear Charisma Media...
Brian McLaren | September 09, 2014
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Israel, Gaza, Sanity, and Insanity (Part 2)
Brian McLaren | August 04, 2014
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Israel, Gaza, Insanity and Sanity (Part 1)
Brian McLaren | July 28, 2014
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Q&R: Repenting of Our Will to Power?
Brian McLaren | July 09, 2014
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What I Said at the White House
Brian McLaren | July 01, 2014
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The Problem Isn't the Bible
Brian McLaren | June 18, 2014
The Bible is too good and too important to be left to those who won't think critically......
We Can Refuse To Be Enemies
Brian McLaren | June 09, 2014
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We Make the Road By Walking (Video)
Brian McLaren | May 08, 2014
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Good Friday Meditation
Brian McLaren | April 18, 2014
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Contraception, Hobby Lobby, and Abortion
Brian McLaren | April 11, 2014
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Q&R: Emerging? Progressive?
Brian McLaren | March 21, 2014
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A Letter to Publix Owners and Management
Brian McLaren | March 10, 2014
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Children and Youth Ministry People...
Brian McLaren | February 04, 2014
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Q&R: Which Denomination?
Brian McLaren | January 16, 2014
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Q&R: Multiple Religious Identities?
Brian McLaren | December 05, 2013
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Q&R: Calling Myself a Christian
Brian McLaren | November 19, 2013
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Experiences in Thailand
Brian McLaren | November 04, 2013
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"How Was Worship Yesterday?"
Brian McLaren | October 15, 2013
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Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Peace (Part 1)
Brian McLaren | October 07, 2013
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Spirituality and Labels
Brian McLaren | September 18, 2013
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Praying for Peace on Saturday
Brian McLaren | September 06, 2013
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Q&R: How Do you Find a Community of Open-Minded...
Brian McLaren | August 19, 2013
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Home from Wild Goose...
Brian McLaren | August 13, 2013
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About Egypt
Brian McLaren | August 02, 2013
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Q&R: Responding Charitably
Brian McLaren | July 18, 2013
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Trayvon and George: A Tale of Two Americas
Brian McLaren | July 16, 2013
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Q&R: The Word "Marriage"
Brian McLaren | July 08, 2013
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An Open Letter to Worship Songwriters
Brian McLaren | June 03, 2013
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Q&R: Christ and His Death
Brian McLaren | May 21, 2013
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Q&R: Bible Study Materials for a 7-Year-Old?
Brian McLaren | May 01, 2013
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Q&R: Law is Love?
Brian McLaren | April 10, 2013
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Joining the Resurrection
Brian McLaren | March 31, 2013
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Drones and Good Friday
Brian McLaren | March 28, 2013
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Why I Support Rob Bell's Stance on Gay Marriage
Brian McLaren | March 19, 2013
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Q & R: Trinity - A stumbling block for unity?
Brian McLaren | March 18, 2013
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Lent: Maybe It's About Adding, Not Subtracting
Brian McLaren | March 06, 2013
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Q&R: Faith in Public Life
Brian McLaren | March 05, 2013
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Q&R: Church Buildings, Yes or No?
Brian McLaren | February 26, 2013
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Q&R: Help on Biblical Violence
Brian McLaren | February 06, 2013
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Hell. Yes?
Brian McLaren | February 02, 2013
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Reading the Bible in 2013: A Special Opportunity
Brian McLaren | January 28, 2013
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Thoughts on the Obama Presidency
Brian McLaren | January 23, 2013
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A Benediction for the Inauguration
Brian McLaren | January 17, 2013
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Courageous Words from Steve Chalke
Brian McLaren | January 16, 2013
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What I Appreciate about Republicans, Democrats,...
Brian McLaren | November 06, 2012
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Why We're Leaving Church: A Report from the Nones
Brian McLaren | October 17, 2012
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Responding to the Patheos Roundtable
Brian McLaren | October 02, 2012
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Joining the Resurrection
Brian McLaren | April 08, 2012
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Joining the Resurrection
Brian McLaren | April 08, 2012
It is good and right to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning, but even......
Lent: Maybe It's About Adding, Not Subtracting
Brian McLaren | February 21, 2012
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The President's "Phony" Theology
Brian McLaren | February 12, 2012
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The Beloved Community Vs. The Beloved Economy
Brian McLaren | February 01, 2012
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The Beloved Community vs. the Beloved Economy
Brian McLaren | February 01, 2012
A year-end accounting mistake led me to give away too much money -- but to realize how......
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If the God we worship is a projection of who we are now, our worship will form in us a......
What would Jesus do if he were here right now?
Brian McLaren | December 23, 2011
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I'd recommend we abandon "take it back" language altogether -- not simply as a verbal......
OWS and the Holy Spirit
Brian McLaren | November 22, 2011
There is a spiritual dimension to the Occupy movement that too few people understand. A......
The Church and the Solution
Brian McLaren | November 11, 2011
My name is Brian McLaren, and I approved this title....
The Church and the Solution
Brian McLaren | November 02, 2011
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Seminary Is Not the Problem - the Church Is
Brian McLaren | November 01, 2011
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Seminary Is Not the Problem -- the Church Is
Brian McLaren | November 01, 2011
What if seminaries became more like entrepreneurial boot camps than shop management......
Why I'm Joining the Occupation
Brian McLaren | October 19, 2011
I'm in, and would encourage others to join the occupation. Not as a representative of......
Naming the solutions as well as the problems will make all the difference for this......
Fear and Danger: Responding to the SBC's Richard Land
Brian McLaren | September 28, 2011
We need the freedom to disagree, openly and even vigorously, but when we click into......
Neither Moderate Nor Extreme
Brian McLaren | September 19, 2011
We need a better choice than either compromised, conventional, inconsistent moderation......
Is God a Christian?
Brian McLaren | September 12, 2011
Being opposed to Christian exclusivity doesn't mean loving Jesus any less....
In catching our enemy's hostile spirit, we can become an even worse enemy to ourselves......
Debt-Ceiling Dreams
Brian McLaren | July 13, 2011
Who was this mysterious "Jim" addressing Congress about the debt ceiling debates?...
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