Local Opinion Editorials


by Brian D. McLaren
Penguin Random House, PB, 266 pages
An insightful work, The Great Spiritual Migration is an observation of Christianity’s present condition. Brian D. McLaren studied his subject matter well and he directed his material into the history and current aspects of Christianity. He informs readers of mankind’s fallen state and violent past, but, unfortunately, he seems to divert the blame onto Christianity’s shoulders. Therein lies the main problem with this book. Regardless of how it may have been intended, McLaren’s words give the impression of innocence on the behalf of humans in general. He seems to place all blame on Christianity itself and not on those who, in history, have claimed to follow Christ but simply lived by alternate standards and ethics.

The author does express his ideas articulately, incorporating personal anecdotes either to give meaning to his points or to prove his assertions. At the end of each chapter, a page full of discussion questions is provided, making this book a good choice for group studies.

McLaren, for a few brief pages, brings up the subject of the LGBT community. In particular, he argues that Christians are alienating a whole group of people whom believers should be eager to show love to. Unfortunately, this issue is portrayed as Christianity’s fault as well. It’s a short subsection, but it does generate some interesting self-deliberation.

The main theme covered throughout the book is the need for a spiritual resurrection in Christians. There is some validity in that. In contrast, however, the way it is worded makes the whole diatribe come across as attacking Christianity itself, not its ambassadors. That is a genuine weakness in this text. Overall, the book is intellectually stimulating but spiritually misguided.

The author delves heavily into modern Christian culture and depicts it in a negative light, some of which may be warranted. However, it becomes problematic when he begins blaming Christianity itself and not the people who are meant to uphold it. This book could be considered a hazardous read for non-believers and the spiritually immature. It is only recommended for those who have a firm foundation and know what they believe.

Reviewed by Carson Jacobs, a Professional Writing major at Taylor University, Upland, IN.