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A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

For Those Seeking Fresh Air

I was intrigued by the title because I am having difficulty feeling comfortable with organized religion. I have had these feelings for a short while and feared sharing them with my Christian friends because to even say that I no longer choose to celebrate Christmas and...
I was intrigued by the title because I am having difficulty feeling comfortable with organized religion. I have had these feelings for a short while and feared sharing them with my Christian friends because to even say that I no longer choose to celebrate Christmas and Easter in the manner that we do sparks criticism. This book has helped to answer some questions about the limitations today's church has placed on God, His Word, the way we relate to Him and the way we view His word. If you are someone who is seeking God and not religion or organized worship services, this book may help spark something inside you and motivate you to go for more - think outside the church box. The writing can be hard at times, but the heart of the story is clear. I would not recommend this book to new beginners or to the critics. Be open and like with many of the sermons/teaching/preaching out there, just learn how to sift through the nonsense and hear the heart of God speaking to you.

posted by Anonymous on March 28, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Great Observations...Questionable Conclusions

Brian McClaren has written a new and fascinating book entitled A New Kind of Christian. I have a deep affinity with what Brian has both attempted and accomplished here. Brian has stood upon the ramparts, seen the battle around him and is pointing to a new way of being...
Brian McClaren has written a new and fascinating book entitled A New Kind of Christian. I have a deep affinity with what Brian has both attempted and accomplished here. Brian has stood upon the ramparts, seen the battle around him and is pointing to a new way of being Christian in the 21st century. He is motivated by nothing but love for Christ and his kingdom. He understands that the old wineskins have burst, and that the long-suffering Spirit of God is now pointing out a new way forward. Yet, for all of that ¿ Brian¿s work is not all of one piece. It is both a thoughtful investigation of evangelicalism¿s failure to recognize the transition from Modernism to Post-modernism, and also an unsatisfying solution to the problems posed by that shift. From the very beginning of the book, Brian¿s observations are unassailable. Post-modernism is a new era ¿ one that has dawned with force in Western culture. Christians aboard the cultural ship of state today watch wide-eyed as the moral machinery of their worldview is getting heaved overboard - piece by piece. They find themselves on a cruise they never imagined. Brian argues effectively that the comprehensiveness of this change is frightening. And yet, like any new era, although the transition is filled with painful changes, it is also filled with unimagined opportunities. To best make his point, Brian casts his views in the form of a fictional narrative (the lingua franca of Post-modernism!). The protagonist of the narrative is a wizened person of color, appropriately named Neo. Neo is a ¿new kind of Christian¿, stuffed full of fresh insights in how to navigate the waters of Post-modernism. In the seminal central chapters of the book, Brian has Neo lay out his central argument to a hypothetical campus Christian audience. It is an argument from history. The sum of the argument is this: just as the transition from medieval Catholicism to the Reformation created a new kind of Christian, so now in the shift from Modernism to Post Modernism we need A New Kind of Christian. So far so good. But if we tease apart the analogy, how far can it go? It is the aptness of Brian¿s analogy that is at issue here. The very real question we must ask ourselves is whether Brian is flushing out the doctrinal baby with the cultural bathwater. Underlying Brian¿s argument is an unspoken assumption, namely, that every new major epoch in history is not merely evolutionary - it is revolutionary. Each new era creates by necessity a new paradigm, and that paradigm sweeps away the preceding era. Hence, he argues that just as the Reformation and scientific Modernism swept away medievalism in the 1500¿s , now Post-modernism is sweeping away Modernism ¿ along with its quaint tools of analysis and logic. After all, nothing is quite as dated as yesterday¿s insights. Right? But wait a second. Is it really true that ALL the constructs that Modernism affirms must be superceded? When Jesus said, ¿I am the way the truth and the life¿, we can be confident that his statement was both timeless and transcultural. It was not intended to be shelved when the next intellectual purge rolled through history. Jesus¿ truth claims, both relational and logical, made it past the shift from Pre-modernism to Modernism, at least among orthodox Modernists in the church. Likewise, when Jesus said, ¿I tell you that not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.¿ - He meant it. The truth of this statement is not diminished because once upon a time Christian Modernists believed it. For Brian, then, there seems to be a curious inconsistency of indebtedness to the prior era. If the content of a former era speaks to spiritual formation, it seems, Brian adopts it. If it uses analysis and logic, he drops it. Even an Hegelian view of history grants to any new era (the synthesis) more indebtedness to its prior era (thesis) than Brian does. We are left with an unsa

posted by Anonymous on October 13, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2004

    Great Observations...Questionable Conclusions

    Brian McClaren has written a new and fascinating book entitled A New Kind of Christian. I have a deep affinity with what Brian has both attempted and accomplished here. Brian has stood upon the ramparts, seen the battle around him and is pointing to a new way of being Christian in the 21st century. He is motivated by nothing but love for Christ and his kingdom. He understands that the old wineskins have burst, and that the long-suffering Spirit of God is now pointing out a new way forward. Yet, for all of that ¿ Brian¿s work is not all of one piece. It is both a thoughtful investigation of evangelicalism¿s failure to recognize the transition from Modernism to Post-modernism, and also an unsatisfying solution to the problems posed by that shift. From the very beginning of the book, Brian¿s observations are unassailable. Post-modernism is a new era ¿ one that has dawned with force in Western culture. Christians aboard the cultural ship of state today watch wide-eyed as the moral machinery of their worldview is getting heaved overboard - piece by piece. They find themselves on a cruise they never imagined. Brian argues effectively that the comprehensiveness of this change is frightening. And yet, like any new era, although the transition is filled with painful changes, it is also filled with unimagined opportunities. To best make his point, Brian casts his views in the form of a fictional narrative (the lingua franca of Post-modernism!). The protagonist of the narrative is a wizened person of color, appropriately named Neo. Neo is a ¿new kind of Christian¿, stuffed full of fresh insights in how to navigate the waters of Post-modernism. In the seminal central chapters of the book, Brian has Neo lay out his central argument to a hypothetical campus Christian audience. It is an argument from history. The sum of the argument is this: just as the transition from medieval Catholicism to the Reformation created a new kind of Christian, so now in the shift from Modernism to Post Modernism we need A New Kind of Christian. So far so good. But if we tease apart the analogy, how far can it go? It is the aptness of Brian¿s analogy that is at issue here. The very real question we must ask ourselves is whether Brian is flushing out the doctrinal baby with the cultural bathwater. Underlying Brian¿s argument is an unspoken assumption, namely, that every new major epoch in history is not merely evolutionary - it is revolutionary. Each new era creates by necessity a new paradigm, and that paradigm sweeps away the preceding era. Hence, he argues that just as the Reformation and scientific Modernism swept away medievalism in the 1500¿s , now Post-modernism is sweeping away Modernism ¿ along with its quaint tools of analysis and logic. After all, nothing is quite as dated as yesterday¿s insights. Right? But wait a second. Is it really true that ALL the constructs that Modernism affirms must be superceded? When Jesus said, ¿I am the way the truth and the life¿, we can be confident that his statement was both timeless and transcultural. It was not intended to be shelved when the next intellectual purge rolled through history. Jesus¿ truth claims, both relational and logical, made it past the shift from Pre-modernism to Modernism, at least among orthodox Modernists in the church. Likewise, when Jesus said, ¿I tell you that not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.¿ - He meant it. The truth of this statement is not diminished because once upon a time Christian Modernists believed it. For Brian, then, there seems to be a curious inconsistency of indebtedness to the prior era. If the content of a former era speaks to spiritual formation, it seems, Brian adopts it. If it uses analysis and logic, he drops it. Even an Hegelian view of history grants to any new era (the synthesis) more indebtedness to its prior era (thesis) than Brian does. We are left with an unsa

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2004

    A Frightening Read

    The absence of one of the most primary aspects of the basis of Christianity -- the inerrancy of the Bible, God's Word -- makes this a truly frightening piece that can take the gullible, the unwitting, or the unknowledgeable Christian down a path best left untraveled. I don't recommend it to anyone except those well-grounded in their faith -- and then only as research material relating to how 'it' should NOT be done. Humanism and Christianity are NOT synonyms.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2005

    read it for yourself

    this book made me want to love god. ya it made me want to point a fingers and raise some pulses, but most of all it made me want to love god and be comfortable with not fitting in with most of my brothers and sisters in christ. in a time when most churches (and some churchgoers)seem so certain of their own righteousness, to not share their certainty of doctrine and meaning is to be without a home. this book doesn't claim inerrency nor does it challenge inerrency of the bible (but it does challenge how we interpret it). it challenges us. as followers of christ, do we let god get out of the church and stretch his legs a bit to get engaged with the very poeple he sent his son after, or do we keep him inside for ourselves and granting access to those willing to adopt our doctrines? if you're still asking questions, this book asks right along with you. that's really what it's doing the whole time is asking questions. it doesn't waste space by answering them because your journey is your own. mclaren doesn't seek assurance from his audience and i don't think he really tries to offer it. i think he just wants others out there who are asking questions and finding no sufficient answers in our modern version of christianity to feel that they aren't alone. if you find as much spiritual truth in a u2 song or a shakespeare sonnet as you do in your pastor's last latest sermons, this book may be your cup o' tea.... or glass of beer... whichever you prefer in your version of christianity. (that statement will make a lot more sense if you read the book). p.s. i recommend discussing these ideas in the book with someone you trust or even reading with a group. my wife read it before so she was a big help. i don't recommend discussing this book with my pastor.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2005

    For Those Seeking Fresh Air

    I was intrigued by the title because I am having difficulty feeling comfortable with organized religion. I have had these feelings for a short while and feared sharing them with my Christian friends because to even say that I no longer choose to celebrate Christmas and Easter in the manner that we do sparks criticism. This book has helped to answer some questions about the limitations today's church has placed on God, His Word, the way we relate to Him and the way we view His word. If you are someone who is seeking God and not religion or organized worship services, this book may help spark something inside you and motivate you to go for more - think outside the church box. The writing can be hard at times, but the heart of the story is clear. I would not recommend this book to new beginners or to the critics. Be open and like with many of the sermons/teaching/preaching out there, just learn how to sift through the nonsense and hear the heart of God speaking to you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2003

    A great Christian book

    A great book that makes you think about the way the church has missed the point and left people out. It is not all doctrinally bulletproof, but at least it gets people to delve into theology who may have never been interested in it and it places more importance on relationship with Jesus than our religious structure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2003

    This book redirected my life!

    This was an absoulutely fabulous book that changed my perspective on Christian living and general perspective on life. It helped verbalize many frustrations with the Church that I was unable to vocalize until I read this book. It was my introduction to important terms such as postmodernism that I had never examined before. The fictional setting of the book made it easy to read. I could hardly put it down as I read it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2007

    A Must read for Christians and Agnostics

    Sometimes a book comes along that is faith changing. This is one of those books. Profoundly more important than 'The Purpose Driven Life' it will most likely not reach such magnitude of circulation, because it does not meet our preconcieved paradigms.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2004

    Terribly written, but definitely recommended

    I read this book over the course of a weekend. I thought it was one of the worst pieces of prose I've ever encountered, but I still couldn't put it down--because the ideas were so gripping. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the consequences of our move from modernism to postmodernism and the effects that that move has on the Church.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2003

    you dare?

    this great book is like (james the brother of jesus ) BY Robert eisenman /almost no other books like them

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2003

    A world-changing book!

    I was unable to put the book down. Simply put, there is no other book like it. It's opened my eyes to the 'Revolution' that is beginning to happen. I finally feel like I'm moving along in the spiritual realm. It's exciting, scary, and dangerous. Martin Luther must of felt the exact same way as one does after reading this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2002

    Can't put it down...

    Told in an easy-to-understand story of two truth-seekers, McLaren's book is a fascinating -- yet down-to-earth -- challenge to status-quo Christianity. It will be hard for some traditionalists to read objectively. I know. I was born and breed in the ultraconservative wing of the evangelical church, always plagued by huge issues never addressed... like intolerance of all outsiders vs. God's love; church's claim on authority of scripture vs. obvious disregard for some parts of Christ's teachings; trend of building megachurches vs. personal and individualized requirement of true spirituality; church rhetoric all about theology, systems and ages instead of love for neighbor and personal growth; faith that's dressed-up on Sundays but MIA the rest of the week; and, worst of all, most conservatives' lock-box approach to truth despite inability to see how human (fallible)interpretation and Christian subculture can add a misaligned framework to that truth. The challenge to traditionalists is that God can sometimes be in the "mind-blowing business," too. And that maybe the institutionalized church can be out-of-sync occasionally, despite our best desire to the contrary. Thanks to McLaren, I'm more comfortable at seeking an authentic spiritual life, regardless of the "trappings" of Western Christianity. I would wish this on all my fellow believers. Maybe it's time to take the church and even this thing called Christianity off the pedestal and put in their places what we "talk" about really deserving to be up there: Jesus Christ.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2002

    Dangerously deceptive book

    McClaren creates an idealized Christian character, Neo, who proposes a postmodern Christian worldview. None of his ideas are unique to or the result of postmodernism (in fact they've all appeared in other books), but you get the solid endorsement of relinquishing absolute truth. Needless to say, all of the philosophy is based upon a misunderstanding of the history of philosophy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2002

    New or Old Kind of Christian?

    This book was an affirmation for me of my own inner life and struggle. This is the first time I have read anything by a pastor which articulates the way I have believed since childhood. It is not about religion, but about being a follower of Christ. So much of what is out there focuses on doctrine and seems to forget the simple, but hard, example set by Christ's life. This book brings me back to the basics of why I am a follower of Christ. Written as a dialogue between 2 men sharing their spiritual struggles, all I can say is thanks Brian for letting me tag along. As I read this book, I was also reading Erwin McManus's An Unstoppable Force. These 2 books dovetail nicely. Brian's book focuses on our journey as individuals, Erwin's on our journey as a community of believers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2010

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