University Ministries hosted Belmont’s annual “EMERGE Spiritual Emphasis Week” this week featuring keynote speaker Dr. Brian McLaren, a noted author, speaker, blogger and networker among innovative Christian leaders, thinkers and activists. EMERGE is slated as a time each fall for the University as a whole to reflect, refocus and renew at the start of a new academic year.
During his first talk Monday morning, McLaren challenged students to consider “The Faith You Inherited and the Faith You Will Practice,” noting, “Everybody inherited a faith from their parents, even atheists. And children believe what their parents tell them.” However, as children move into adolescence, that stance can change, and individuals develop faith across time, determining if the faith they inherit will be the faith they inhabit.
On Wednesday morning, McLaren tackled “Christian Faith as a Revolutionary Movement” exploring a way of seeing the essential message of Jesus as a profound challenge to the social, economic, political and religious status quo. Through research for his most current book, McLaren discovered what he called four basic global emergencies: the planet, poverty, peace and religion. “Our world religions are failing to provide a story that makes the first three crises better.”
For additional insights from McLaren’s talks, visit the “Faith on Campus” blog from University Minister Dr. Guy Chmieleski.
From 1978 to 1986, Brian McLaren taught college English, and in 1982, he helped form Cedar Ridge Community Church. He left higher education in 1986 to serve as the church’s founding pastor and served in that capacity until 2006. McLaren has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors since the mid 1980s and has assisted in the development of several new churches. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer at seminaries and denominational gatherings, nationally and internationally. His books include A Generous Orthodoxy (2004), The Secret Message of Jesus (2006), Everything Must Change (2007) and his most recent work, A New Kind of Christianity (2010).