The Story We Find Ourselves In: Further Adventures of a New Kind of Christian
By Brian McLaren
198 pp.; $21.95

Brian McLaren continues to toss up ideas that surprise, inspire, convict, and alarm. My copy of his latest book is full of underlining, question marks, explanation points, and hastily scribbled notes. That's true of my reaction to postmodern evangelicals in general. They're energetic, iconoclastic, and brimming with creativity about how we can talk about the gospel in fresh ways today. Whenever leaders of this movement speak—Doug Pagitt and Chris Seay are two others—believe me, I listen, though I sometimes also wince.

In his last book, A New Kind of Christian, McLaren's hero Neo declared, "When we let go of [the Bible] as a modern answer book, we get to rediscover it for what it really is: an ancient book of incredible spiritual value for us, a kind of universal and cosmic history, a book that tells us who we are and what story we find ourselves in so that we know what to do and how to live."

That becomes the subject matter for the sequel, The Story We Find Ourselves In: "I hope that this book will help 'non-religious-but-spiritual' people discover how their lives and world might look in the context of this new-old story," McLaren writes, "while helping modern Christians reimagine our story beyond the grid of its modern telling."

Once again, McLaren embeds his theology in story. This time agnostic biologist Kerry Ellison has a series of conversations with Neo that lead to her conversion. Along the way, her cancer reemerges, and in the end she dies, a subplot that entails a few others as well.

Through Neo, McLaren lays out what I would summarize as an evolutionist/environmentalist version of the gospel, one ...

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