Beliefnet News

By Kristina Riggle
Religion News Service

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) Brian McLaren, a leader in the “emergent church” movement, says the three Abrahamic religions — Christianity, Judaism and Islam — are very dangerous.
“Christians, Muslims and Jews are, in some ways, the most dangerous people on the planet, and probably Christians being the most dangerous because their fingers are closer to the most nuclear weapons,” he told an audience here at Baker Book House.
But a new series of books on ancient religious traditions — including an introductory tome by McLaren — seeks to find unity in the ancient practices these religions share.
“If (Muslims, Christians and Jews) can find points of contact, maybe it will help us avoid pressing these buttons,” he said.
McLaren, a pastor, speaker and activist, spoke last week about some of his books, including his latest, “Finding Our Way Again,” which explores a return to ancient practices held in common by these three religions, such as fixed hours for prayer and observance of the Sabbath.
“What did we know in church history that we’ve forgotten?” he said.
His book is the first in a series that will feature seven books by other authors, each focusing on practices that were first Jewish, then adopted by Christians and Muslims.
McLaren is a proponent of the emerging church movement, though he prefers to call it an “emerging conversation” in a changing world.
“The church as it’s existed, as it’s developed in modernity, is going to have to do some rethinking and retooling to remain faithful during these changes,” he said.
Conservatives have criticized McLaren, and that likely will continue since he promoted Democratic presidential candidate Sen.Barack Obama in a commercial.
McLaren said he never before involved himself in a political campaign, but he feels strongly that Obama is the best candidate to lead the U.S. The ad touched on families to reach out to evangelical viewers of the forum.
As to whether religious voters will be shocked to hear an evangelical supporting a Democrat, McLaren replied, in part: “The Gospel can never be contained by one party.”
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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