I’m reading The Secret Message of Jesus by Brian McLaren and enjoying it, even though I’ve not bought in to his every point. I’ve wanted to read one of McLaren’s books for a while now, and my brother-in-law Brad gave me this one as a gift, so I figured I would start with it since it is his latest.
My first impressions started with the title. Upon seeing it I was immediately unsettled. The cover of the book shouted, “Can I have your attention everybody! Brian McLaren is going to tell us the secret message of Jesus. You think you know what Jesus was saying, but Brian is now going to explain what he really meant. And we would still be in the dark if it weren’t for BRIAN!”
I know that takes it a little far, and every author tries to give us a fresh perspective when they write (that’s the point of reading a book, right?). However, his title and first chapter seem pretentious.
The idea behind the title is that the deepest message of Jesus is hidden, only to be discovered by those who “look hard, think deeply, and search long in order to find it.” I hope it is possible to still understand the deepest meanings of Jesus’ message if I don’t agree with McLaren’s every point!
Our relationship didn’t start off very well, but I’m giving the book a chance because I share something important with McLaren. I also have a frustration with the way the message of Jesus has been distorted by extremes in some corners of Christendom. Well-known spokespeople on the left and the right sides of the spectrum have said things supposedly from a Christian perspective that make me cringe. Like McLaren, I think it is important to be sure that more than one voice is heard in the discussion of what the message of Jesus looks like when it is lived out in the present day.
I’ll post more praises or peeves as I go along in the book.
(My next question: Does McLaren want us to believe that Jesus is a Democrat? We shall see…)