A Gentle Force: Brian McLaren's Case for the Book
I've just started reading Brian McLaren's new book Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road, graciously sent me by his editor/publisher, Wendy Grisham. It's good so far--big shocker, as McLaren is a very good writer and has a real command of how a book flows and moves. I was converted almost immediately from my initial skepticism about what I thought was a pretty weird title to enthusiasm for it--simply by how McLaren riffed on and ultimately subverted the contemporary suspicion that religion is a joke. I love that sort of thing.
Identity formation--and reformation--takes time and can't be forced or pushed. It involves many dangers, toils, and snares--threats and setbacks, wrong turns and recoveries. Even under the best of conditions, there are limits to the speed by which a religious identity can come of age and face the challenges before it. Perhaps that's why a book like this can be important: it can provide privacy, time, and space for people to consider the unsettling and dangerous proposal of an identity change. . . . [A] book makes no demands. It remains easy to put down and easy to ignore. That very gentleness can be its greatest power. It is hard to defend against something that is not aggressive.Nice, huh? I may share it with some authors or should-be authors I know. Lest we overemphasize the unique value of a book, however, let me also draw your attention to the potential power of a tweet, as demonstrated in the same passage:
It is hard to defend against something that is not aggressive.