|If either Daniel
Poole, Dr. "Neo" Oliver, or for that matter Brian McLaren
pastored a church near me, I think I would love to be a member.
In a New Kind of Christian, burnt-out traditional church
pastor Poole is revived and invigorated by his dialogue with
post-traditionalist, former pastor, "Neo" Oliver.
Click here for other reviews or to buy the book.
The dialogue begins at a junior high rock concert
as the depressed pastor seeks information concerning a possible
career change to high school teaching, the trade that "Neo" has
practiced for several years in the aftermath of his years as a
pastor. This fictional setting serves as the framework for McLaren’s
unpacking of the problems, emotional, philosophical and theological,
faced by Christians in the transitional phase between the "modern"
and the "postmodern" era.
In conversation and eventually by e-mail, these
two become friends helping each other along on their spiritual
journey. The burnt-out pastor moves from depression to
revitalization in his work and life. The high-school professor moves
toward a return to the pastoral ministry he had left years before.
McLaren’s "neo-Christian", Neo serves as the guide to
postmodernism’s ins and outs.
McLaren’s device, a fictional dialogue, turns what
could be dry essayism into something alive and, for me, well worth
reading. I’m sort of a simple guy. I must confess, I haven’t read a
book by a single postmodern philosopher, I only know about
relativism and deconstructionism because I have heard others, more
well read, speak and write about these subjects and their
implications for the Christian church.
Of course, this makes a kind of poetic sense,
don’t you think? That the publisher of a widely-read web magazine
that deals almost exclusively with the problems facing the church
because of the cultural and worldview shift that has occurred in the
most recent past, has not had an original thought on the subject?
I identified with pastor Dan Poole, and with Neo.
I am a former pastor and continue to be pretty burnt-out on "normal"
church. I just wish that either one of them were pastoring a church
near my home, I think I would feel right at home struggling with
them on the spiritual journey. In the meantime, I enjoyed meeting
them in the pages of A New Kind of Christian, and would
highly recommend it to those interested in exploring the new
paradigm and the new theology that will flow from it.
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Charles R. (Charlie) Wear,
is the Editor, Publisher and Webmaster of Next-Wave Web
Magazine. At 51 years of age, Charlie is a lawyer living with
his wife Loretta, in Bakersfield, California. Raised in the
Seventh-day Adventist denomination, he has served on the staff
of a denominational church. He was the Senior Pastor of the
Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Moreno Valley from 1995-1998.
From 1996-98 he served as an Area Pastoral Coordinator and
Church Planting Coordinator in the
Association of Vineyard
Churches. From 1998-to the present he has worked with a team
reaching out to teens to twenty-somethings and their parents
through the extreme sport of skateboarding (see
If you build
it, they will come.) You can e-mail him at