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Refreshing, as always, to see McLaren’s take on things. This book, he claims, was aimed toward “a broad, nonscholarly, and in many cases nonreligious audience”, and he did a very good job of writing something that can easily be understood and appreciated by Christians and non-Christians alike, something that people at any level of theological interest can reflect upon.
Written in a way that is easy to read and digest, this book shows us another way of looking at the message of Jesus - one that’s not as wrapped up in the more traditional way of understanding, one that shows us more than what we find in the traditional explanation. He goes into the political issues of the time, the different responses to the Roman occupation, showing us how Jesus’ response compares and differs from the other Jewish responses at the time. He also goes into the idea of “the kingdom” being attainable and achievable here and now, if only we would strive to see it be in our lives and in the world. Most of the Christians we hear try to tell us, or at least leave the impression, that the point is gaining our ticket to some sort of exclusive club after this life is over, and it’s nice to see someone saying that such thinking misses at least some of the point of Jesus and his message, which is meant to be applied to *this* life. Not that he seems to be denying an afterlife – but that seems to be beside the point of his main focus, which is to show us how the message of Jesus is meant to be understood and applied in our lives and our faiths in each and every moment, instead of seeing faith as merely a looking forward to a future moment or time.
Whether one is a Christian or not, this side of Jesus and his message is something I would recommend everyone take the time to consider. McLaren is an author I highly recommend to Christians and non-Christians alike. He offers a fresh perspective, and I’m constantly pleased in my exploration of his books. :)