Have you ever asked yourself this question? I have. I am guessing many of you have as well. Perhaps, because of personal doubt. And doubt is good, by the way. Or perhaps, because you have seen and heard things done in the name of Christianity that are deeply disturbing and not at all in line with your faith ethics as a Christian. Or perhaps, you have encountered the shadow side of Christian history in the crusades, the Inquisition and in the way European colonialism treated indigenous people and in the silencing of women voices. Or perhaps, you grew up in a tradition of Christianity that was rigid in its dogma, in its social and scientific views, a tradition that did not tolerate questions of its particular Christian tenets. All of the above experiences can prompt one to ponder, “I love the ways of Jesus….but not all the ways of his followers! Should I stay Christian?”
Do I Stay Christian? A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned is the provocative title of Brian McLaren’s newest book. Discussion of this book will be the center piece of Plymouth’s Adult Formation Study Groups this fall. Here is an excerpt from the book jacket to tease your interest:
“Do I Stay Christian? Publicly addresses the powerful question that surprising numbers of people – including pastors, priests, and other religious leaders – are asking in private. Brian McLaren does not urge Christians to dig in their heels, nor does he warn them to run for the exit. Instead, he combines his own experience with that of thousands of people who have confided in him over the years to help readers make a responsible, honest, ethical decision about their religious identity. According to McLaren, there is a way to say both yes and no to the question of staying Christian by shifting the focus from whether we stay Christian to how we stay human.”
My hope is to have at least two discussion groups each week – one on Sunday mornings and one on a midweek evening, in person or on Zoom. Groups will run nine weeks from the second week in September to the second week in November. I am looking for a set of volunteers to lead these groups. Each group can have 2-3 leaders. The schedule will be to read 3-4 chapters each week….they are short chapters! McLaren has an excellent short appendix that will help us read and co-lead book discussions. Very doable! Please let me know if you are willing to help as a discussion leader! Download tips for reading and Weekly Chapter Schedule. Sign-ups for each discussion group will be coming soon.
AND as a member of one of these discussion groups, you are invited
to an hour-long Zoom session with the author, Brian McLaren
at 3:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, September 25, 2022!
I have found this book to be challenging, enlightening, and oddly comforting in my own questioning. I hope you will join me in reading it and participate in one of our book discussions this fall. I think the discovery, discussions and discernment coming out of this book study will be a welcome catalyst as Plymouth creates its future as Beloved Community committed to the activity of God in northern Colorado.
With you on the journey!
P.S. You can get Do I Stay Christian? from the Center for Contemplation and Action, Amazon, or from Brian McLaren's website.