I am a recovering "professional Christian." I'm seeking a community of faith (and of questioning faith) that is more inclusive, radically ecumenical and inter-faith, less bureaucratic, less doctrinal and tribal, more loving, less institutional and denominational, for worship that is more experiential and eclectic, and that seeks wisdom from a variety of wise people and world religious traditions.
Back to Blog
Brian McLaren’s semi-autobiographical book, A New Kind of Christian, tells the story of Dan, a middle-aged pastor experiencing a crisis of faith and identity as a pastor. McLaren shares his own struggles in the introduction of the book:
Sometime in1994, at the age of 38, I got sick of being a pastor. Frankly, I was almost sick of being a Christian… my ministry death wish and [my] urge for spiritual escape were telling me something I needed to attend to… At the time I could only see two alternatives: [condense his and add my own] (1) continue practicing and promoting a version of Christianity that I had deepening reservations about or (2) leave Christian ministry, and perhaps the Christian path, altogether. There was a third alternative that I hadn’t yet considered: learn to be a Christian in a new way.
Much like Brian’s experience, I’ve have been struggling with a lot of what I had been teaching and preaching, knowing in my heart and my mind that I just didn't buy some of it anymore. I‘ve been looking for a practical theology that ignited my heart and excited my mind. A theology and belief system that affirmed God's continuing self-revelation, that took into account post-Newtonian science and post-Reformation theologies. And, an approach to scripture as a window to God's eternal wisdom that goes beyond the "God said it, I believe it, that settles it" mentality.
Former mega-church pastor, writer Jim Palmer posted this on his Facebook page –
Back in the day, I was a pastor at the largest church in North America. Eventually I walked away from it all because I could no longer teach beliefs and doctrines that I myself no longer accepted. No person taught evangelical theology with the devotion and passion that I did, but one day I realized this did not produce true and lasting change in others’ lives or my own. Looking back, I can see I made at least these mistakes as a megachurch pastor:
Putting church over community
Putting orthodoxy over love.
Putting certainty over wonder.
Putting teaching over conversation.
Putting polished over real.
Putting explanations over empathy.
Putting answers over questions.
Putting membership over friendship.
Putting prayer over action.
Putting services over self-care.
Putting style over substance.
Putting appearance over authenticity.
Putting functionality over beauty.
Putting religion over spirituality.
Putting numbers over faces.
Putting holiness over humanity.
Putting accountability over acceptance.
Putting heaven over earth.
Putting meetings over relationships.
Putting reputation over risk.
Putting superiority over humility.
Putting charisma over compassion.
Putting the afterlife over the herelife.
Putting doctrine over reason.
Putting hierarchy over equality.
I would add these persistent preferences of many of the people I served: membership over discipleship, doctrine over experience and reason, finances over faithfulness, possible liability over mission, and professional ministry over the ministry of all.
 Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christian, A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey, Jossey-Bass, 2001, Introduction pp. xiii-xiv
 https://www.facebook.com/jimpalmerauthor, 8/23/20