• Brian D. McLaren "Do I Stay Christian?" | Episode Transcript

    Karen Pascal: Hello, I’m Karen Pascal. I’m the executive director of the Henri Nouwen Society. Welcome to a new episode of Henri Nouwen, Now and Then.

    Our goal at the Henri Nouwen Society is to extend the rich, spiritual legacy of Henri to audiences around the world. Each week, we endeavor to bring you an interview with someone who has much to share from their own spiritual life and work, and who has been deeply influenced by the writings of Henri Nouwen. We invite you to share the daily meditations and these podcasts with your friends and family. Through them, we can continue to introduce new audiences to the writings and teachings of Henri Nouwen, and remind each listener that they are a beloved child of God.

    Now let me introduce my guest today. Today on this podcast, I have the pleasure of talking with Brian McLaren. Brian is the author of 11 books, many of them with the coveted status of being bestsellers. He’s a speaker, former pastor, activist and public theologian. Brian McLaren’s new book has the provocative title, Do I Stay Christian: A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed and the Disillusioned. This is a question that a surprising number of pastors, priests and other religious leaders are asking in private. I think there are many other Christians who are interested in exploring these very questions, as well. Brian McLaren is fearless and wonderfully honest as he explores three different answers to the question, “Do I stay Christian?” He speaks to the “no,” the “yes,” and the “how.”

    Brian, I am so glad to welcome you again to Henri Nouwen, Now and Then.

    Brian McLaren: I’m really happy to be back with you again. Thanks.

    Karen Pascal: You have never shied away from the tough questions Christians should face. You voiced the ones we secretly ask ourselves. I just want to say how much I appreciate that. And I certainly feel it in this book. The book opens, actually, with you recounting a story in which a young man comes to you almost like a secret in the night. You know, just saying, “Listen, I have got my doubts” – and tell me, I have a feeling that gets replayed over and over again in your life. I have a feeling you have become a bit of a champion of the disillusioned.

    Brian McLaren: Well, I suppose because I’ve tried to tell the truth as I could, both when I was a pastor in my preaching, and in my books. And I’ve tried to be as honest and vulnerable as I can. I think people feel they’re just looking for someone who’s safe, who won’t jump down their throat or condemn them or scold them, if they dare to come out with their secrets and their questions. And so, it’s been one of the honors of my life.

    Of course, there are times it’s heartbreaking and painful, but as well, I’m sure this is part of what anyone who knew Henri Nouwen would’ve said about him: that he was someone you could be honest with, and he wouldn’t condemn you.

    Karen Pascal: That’s right. I do see a real parallel. As I’ve been reading your book, I’ve thought, now, you two would be friends. No doubt about it. Absolutely none.

    It’s interesting to me that there may be people that are listening and saying, “Oh, well, this isn’t for me. I’m not one of the doubters or the disillusioned.”

    But I think it’s a very important discussion to be in on today, because I think people need to understand if they have kind of blocked out that, they need to understand what some others might be thinking. Maybe their children, maybe people that are dear friends to them. It’s important to, in a sense, understand what the questions are, where the disillusionment lies. And so, I really want to encourage people to listen and also probably to pick up the book and read it, because I think it’s so valuable. You know, you write; “I was taught my religion’s historical upsides and few of its downsides, and I was taught about other religions’ historical downsides, and few of their upsides.”

    You know, that sounds a lot like me, Brian.

    Brian McLaren: Yes, and I think this happens in every religion and I think it happens in every nation. We tend to tell a sanitized version of our past, and that helps us continue to preserve our illusions and continue to feel exceptional and superior. But it also – eventually, reality kind of hits us in the face, you know. And I’ll never forget my first encounter with this. It was many years ago when I grew up during the Vietnam war. And my father and mother were wonderful, hospitable people, and they invited a man to our home for a meal. And he was from Laos, and the U.S. was bombing Cambodia and Laos as well as Vietnam. And he was talking about the devastation that was done to his part of the world by American bombs.

    And I just remember being horrified, like, “We would only bomb bad guys. We wouldn’t bomb innocent people.” And it was maybe one of the first times I had to think there might be parts of the story that have been kept from me, you know? And the sad truth is this is the case in the Christian faith, too. Without anybody ever intentionally having to tell a lie, it’s just the way, kind of, sociology works. We end up hiding our own shadows and our own things we’re ashamed of. They end up being suppressed, at least among us. And of course, correspondingly, we like to emphasize the faults of other people and minimize their strengths and virtues.

    Karen Pascal: It’s interesting, because in your book, you start out with why you wouldn’t remain a Christian, and the book’s divided into three thirds: no, yes and how. But in the “no” section, in honesty, that book is so raw and honest, and it looks at racism, sexual abuse, the doctrines of discovery, our treatment of indigenous people. And it’s like a Trojan horse that’s hiding all sorts of things. That was pretty tough, but it needs to be there. It really needs to be there.

    Brian McLaren: I think so. As painful as it is, I think so. And I think there are ways that we could start being more honest about our past, and it would help us to not put our children in a situation of having to grow up one day and say, “Why didn’t you tell me this? Why didn’t you tell me the truth?”

    And I think it also will help us, because as you know, I said this a couple of times in the book, but I sincerely worry that the worst things that the Christian faith ever does could still be in our future. And if we don’t learn from our past, I worry, you know, that we’ll repeat it.

    We’ve seen this happening even in recent weeks, where the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has, in a sense, blessed Vladimir Putin to do whatever he wants to do, and has justified it. Meanwhile, and of course, we could imagine nuclear war coming from this. And we know that if our country decided it wanted to engage in nuclear war, we would have a lot of Christians who would be telling our government leaders, this is God’s will. And so, you just realize horrible things could be ahead if we don’t really take our past seriously. By the way, it’s one of the things I love about the Bible. The Bible is so honest about the past, you know. The Jewish people tell the heroic stories about King David, but they also tell the really shabby things that David did, and they tell about Moses’s great virtues, but they also talk about Moses’s failures, and they talk about their own history of reform and renewal, and they also talk about their own history of betrayal.

    And so, that is part, I think, of not only being a healthy individual, but of being a healthy people – that we can try to look in the mirror and not deceive ourselves.

    Karen Pascal: It’s a huge undertaking that you have done. You get the bad stuff of our Christian history, and you don’t look at it with rose-colored glasses. And I really, really appreciate that. I think one of the first things that we look at in the book is you don’t step aside from the antisemitism that has come and been part of our history. And I very much valued, you know. Put a finger on that.

    Brian McLaren: You know, that chapter came back to me a couple of weeks ago. I was talking with a rabbi friend of mine, just a gifted woman rabbi, who told me that when she was a child and her parents, you know, as every Jewish child’s parents have to do at some point in her childhood, they told her about the Holocaust and they had to teach her about antisemitism. And she was visiting a friend of hers who was a Christian, and they had an attic. And she’d heard about how some people hid Jews in their attic. And she thought, “This is my friend from school. And if they ever come after me, here’s a friend whose attic I could stay in.”

    And it just broke my heart to think of, you know, an eight-year-old child having to have that sort of thought in her mind: “Here’s a Christian friend who I could trust to protect me” – knowing that it might be other Christians that would be out to pursue her. And I felt in that story, we are getting a mirror of what any religion can be, but certainly Christianity: It can be the people who are pursuing and it can be the people who are protecting. And I hope that one of the effects of the book will be that anyone who decides that anyone who’s going to stay a Christian will know they want to be on the protecting side, not the pursuing side.

    Karen Pascal: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s interesting, because one of the things that certainly is on the surface here in Canada, and should be on the surface everywhere, is the impact of the doctrine of discovery. The reality of what’s happened for our indigenous peoples, and what that looks like. And it’s funny, because the reality being we can say, “Well, that wasn’t on my watch.” But it was, it was on my watch. At the age I’m at, I have lived through this and not stood up against it as I should have. And that’s pretty challenging. And it’s interesting, because we also have to address how we’ve benefited from it, be it economically or in land that was stolen.

    And then we go on to look at racism. I mean, we can’t say that was on somebody else’s watch. We are where we are now with an awareness that we cannot silence what’s happened.

    Brian McLaren: I think that is a realization that millions of us, literally, are having to come to. It’s so tempting and so easy to say, “I didn’t perpetuate the crimes of the 19th century or the 18th century, so I’m innocent and I have no responsibility.”

    But that’s not how it works. In a sense, it brings us back to that ancient question from the earliest chapters of the Bible, where Cain says, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And of course, the implication in that story is I am my brother’s keeper. My brother is my responsibility. My brother’s wellbeing is not inconsequential to me. So, whatever affects my neighbor, my sister, my brother, it suddenly becomes, if I want to be a morally awake and responsible person, certainly if I want to claim to follow the path of Jesus, then my neighbor’s needs are my needs. My neighbor’s shame and oppression and heritage of pain are now things that touch my heart as well.

    Karen Pascal: In your book, I read this quote: “The world needs religions that teach us to value and love the planet, to see its inherent value and sacredness apart from the human economy. The world needs religions that teach us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Remember that our neighbor includes the refugee, the sick, the poor, the outsider, the outcast, the other, and even the enemy. The world needs religions that teach us to transform our swords into plowshares, our bullets into trumpets, and our nuclear submarines into artificial reefs.”

    I want that world. And I also want to know that the Christianity that I am following wants that world. And so therefore, we have to have these conversations. We can’t hide what we have been, I would say, dodging and pretending isn’t there.

    Brian McLaren: Yes. And we have all of these subtle realities that I don’t think we’re intentionally designed this way, but they just developed this way to help keep us from paying attention to these realities. Like for example, I grew up with a view of, an understanding of the Bible and something called eschatology, or an understanding about the future, that God was about to destroy the world, and we would all go to heaven and, you know, the whole thing would be wrapped up and all that God would do is take the souls out and destroy everything else. And of course, we live at a time of ecological crisis, and to hold that belief is extremely dangerous and extremely convenient, because it helps us say, “We don’t have to worry about saving the world. God’s going to destroy it. Why don’t we just return it empty? Why don’t we use it up and ruin it, since God’s going to destroy it anyway?”

    And that theology ends up having profound impacts on economics and on how we treat the earth. So, there are all kinds of ways that our theology has unintended consequences, and we’ve got to pay attention to those, especially when we look back and see the harm they’ve done in the past. And then we think about our children and grandchildren, and we think, you know, what kind of world do we want them to have? And we only get to be alive, you know, for a handful of decades. And so, it makes you realize, let’s do the good we can. And let’s try to leave – if we’re Christian – let’s try to leave the Christian faith headed in a better direction when we pass on, than what we inherited.

    Karen Pascal: I agree completely. Yes. There’s a big “yes” to that.

    And that takes me into a part of your book where you say “yes,” if you were going to stay. “No” would be being honest about all the failures, being honest about the ways in which we aligned with the wrong side. Maybe not knowingly, maybe knowingly, but the “yes” is also an interesting…  if you choose to say, how can you, if you choose to stay a Christian, how do you come to a “yes?” And I think that’s something that is a really important thing, which you address in your book. You’re seeing great blessings in the tradition, but I love this line that you have: “I must engage in a kind of truth and reconciliation process with my heritage” – which I think was really honest. I like that.

    Do you think Christianity’s days are numbered, by the way? I mean, I’m just curious as I read this. I mean, you write very daringly. Do you think that it’s numbered or do you think we’re at the beginning of something new, or what’s your thoughts?

    Brian McLaren: You know, I think I used to have clearer thoughts on that 20 years ago than I have now! I mean, in one sense, I believe, you know, the spirit of God is always going to be at work. And I think the truth and wisdom and example of Jesus is always going to be infused into human history. And I think there are always going to be people who are captivated by that. But you know, this or that religious institution, I don’t think a lot of times people like to quote the verse from the gospel where Jesus said, “Upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell not prevail against it.” But when Jesus said “my church,” I don’t think any of us can say, “Well, that means the one I belong to or the denomination I’m part of.” I think our particular institutions might be up for grabs, right?

    And their future depends on how people like us live. Every generation leaves its fingerprints on whatever faith it inherits, for better or for worse. And one of our great problems now, and I think we’re seeing it play out just in the headlines in recent days, you look at, for example the Russian Orthodox Church, and how the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church gave a phenomenally blanket endorsement to Vladimir Putin and all that he’s doing in Ukraine. And you think, what will that do to the Russian Orthodox Church when the truth comes out? What will that do to people who are supposed to believe that this man is a man of God and is in fact, you know, in some way guided by the Spirit to do something like this?

    So, I think that we will continue to see a lot of people just say, “This religion is not going to get its act together in my lifetime, so I don’t think I’m going to invest in it.” But I think we’ll have other people really working to say, “This is who I am, this is where I’m called, and I’m going to do to do what I can.”

    But as you know, that’s why in the third part of the book, I basically raise a different question and I say, “Look, whether or not you’re going to continue identifying as a Christian, you still have the question, ‘How am I going to live? What kind of person do I want to become? And how am I going to live, as Mary Oliver says, “my one wild and precious life.” And when we get down to that question, I think it takes us to a deeper level that I hope readers will be willing to go to.

    Karen Pascal: It’s interesting, because in what you’re saying, to stay Christian, we need a right concept of God. We need a right knowing of God. And I think you’re pushing and pulling us into that. And sometimes you need to let go of some of the trappings that you have decorated God with. And they came from your childhood and they made great sense. But I think that that pressing to have a right knowing of God is so important.

    I think about Henri, and it was interesting with Henri. I’ve often described him as this: He had this pendulum in him, which, you know, basically the pendulum was Jesus. If you talked to him and if you read his books, Jesus is very central to his books. And he could swing back and forth. He could swing back and forth, but if it found that center place in him, the alignment in him was Jesus. And I find that really what probably draws people from so many different backgrounds to reading Henri, because they find that there. And then they find something else. They find honesty there. He’s so honest about himself. And I found that you came to such an interesting conclusion, too, about reality. I love this quote. I think I’ve got it here. It says, “As I see it, you need to be loyal to God. To be loyal to reality is to be loyal to God.” And you go on to say, “With a humble, teachable loyalty to reality, we can survive and even thrive inside Christian religion or out.”

    And it’s interesting that that plumb line, we maybe need to say, “God, give me a plumb line of truth.”

    Brian McLaren: Yes.

    Karen Pascal: “And don’t let me go, but let me go deeper and let me let go of the things that are false and are hurting the world around me.”

    Brian McLaren: I love that. I love that spirit of prayer, when you say that to realize that no human being can claim that through good intentions and hard work alone, that they can stay on that plumb line of truth. We all have to admit that we’re frail and we could so easily get off track. And so, we need that spirit of prayer to say, “Please keep me on your path. Please guide me, please teach me.”

    And I also really resonate – in fact, it’s so interesting that we’re having this conversation. It was just maybe two or three weeks ago, I attend a little Episcopal church near where I live here in Florida, and the scripture reading was the story of the prodigal son. And of course, I couldn’t help but think of Henri’s beautiful work on the prodigal son, and as I heard that story read during the service, I just, again, connected how brilliant Jesus was.

    I know that people won’t say it that way often, but it’s my honest feeling like this story is so perfectly constructed to help us see ourselves and help us see our neighbor and help us see God, all three, in a new light. Oh, my goodness. And that for me is one of the things that keeps me Christian, because I feel very much like the disciples in the gospel story when Jesus said, “Aren’t you going to leave, too?” And they said, “Well, where else would we go?” Nobody is offering us what you’re offering us.

    And that’s very much how I feel. And Henri, when he would write about, when he would take the words of Jesus so seriously, for example, in the story of the prodigal son, and let each detail of the story speak, he was, I think, just helping us all appreciate how brilliant and right Jesus was.

    Karen Pascal: I love the fact he was living through the story. He could see himself as the one that needed to come back and had failed, and all those things that, in a sense, you see in that one who’s bent at the knees of the father. And then the brother, who is totally ticked off at the fact that there’s a party being had for this guy who ran away and took all of, at least half the inheritance. And then, the lovely thing was being called into being the father. And in some ways, to me, I feel like that is a call within this book. We’re called into being the father, the forgiving father that welcomes home with absolute excitement: “I am so glad you’re here. I am so glad you’re here.”

    And I think that is an amazing part of this journey.

    Something you mentioned in the book that caught me, was that sometimes we reach a point in our spiritual life that matches, probably, our physical life. It’s kind of stages of maturity, and the old coat you were wearing, the faith that fit you well as a child or as a teenager, even as a father with young children or whatever, isn’t fitting comfortably anymore. You’re asking maybe different questions. Maybe talk just a little bit about that, because that’s one of the things that I really appreciated, was you saw the possibility of different movements that are happening, that have influenced you, that you are encouraged by. But you also said maybe it also parallels our human growth, our human aging.

    Brian McLaren: Yes. Well, it’s, as you’re saying that, I can’t help but think of those famous words from the apostle Paul in that chapter that’s so often read at weddings, but really is a chapter for all of life, in First Corinthians, where Paul says, after celebrating the power and supremacy of love, he says, “When I was a child, I felt like a child. I spoke like a child. I reasoned like a child. And when I became mature, I put away childish things” – as if to say, “Look, there are things that are appropriate when you are at a certain stage, but when they do their work, you don’t need them anymore. And you move on to something else. And it’s not that they were bad. It’s just that that’s exactly what you needed.”

    So, when I was in elementary school, I really needed all those books that would teach me how to count and add and subtract and multiply and divide. They taught me so well, I’ve never had to go back to them. They’re part of me now. And then I’m ready for new challenges, like algebra and trigonometry. And I didn’t make it too much farther than that, but other people made it to calculus and differential equations. But, when you think in terms of our moral lives, here’s the way I like to say it in the book: I talk about four stages of simplicity, complexity, perplexity, and harmony. But in the Bible, you start with innocent people in a garden who don’t have a religion. They don’t have a scripture. They don’t have a temple. They don’t have a priesthood. They just live in a very simple, childlike relationship with God, who they walk with in the garden.

    And then comes the period of the patriarchs and the period of law, when they’re given specific commandments by their leaders that they must obey or face very serious consequences. And then the prophets come along and the prophets say, “Hey, look, you can obey all those laws, but if you’re not caring for the widow and the orphan, and you’re not treating the poor correctly, what good is it?” And then Jesus comes along, in the tradition of the prophets, and says, “Yeah, what really, really matters is that you love God and love your neighbors as yourself. And that’s what everything depends upon.”

    And so, if you take those stages, we all begin innocent as children. And then we enter a stage where we have to learn the rules and the laws. That’s what I call simplicity.

    And those laws can become very, very complicated as you venture out into the world. And so, now you’re having to learn all kinds of skills to go along with it. That’s what I call complexity.

    And then you challenge, you realize that those early stages, you can follow all those rules and laws, but if you’re not good to the widow and the orphan and the refugee and the stranger, you have to critique that even your laws and rules don’t take you everywhere you need to go.

    And then you reach that point that I call harmony, which is where you see, you know, love is really the thing that matters most. And that seems to be a pattern that a lot of us follow. And it’s not that the early stages are bad; it’s just that if they do their work, then we’re ready for the next stage.

    Karen Pascal: Wow. That’s well described. And we’re solid, in a sense, but we’re also able or ready, if they’ve done their work, to critique what we may have taken in that wasn’t right; what shouldn’t be there. I think that’s important.

    One of the things that I found throughout this book, and I recall it from other books of yours, is I see that nature speaks into your life. That you need to be in a boat, or you need to be casting a fishing reel. There’s some part of you that is met in that. And there was a lovely little piece within this that I want you to tell me a little bit about. And it is about, you say that in the future, those of us who stay Christians will need to “make peace with our wild bodies. To listen to them, and to learn to love them again, to discern God’s beloved wildness in them.”

    I just thought that was so interesting. I mean, that’s a part of it that I didn’t expect to find there. But tell me a bit about that. What do you mean?

    Brian McLaren: Well, it’s one of the things that’s fascinating to me, everywhere I go, is that people, many, many people, whatever their religious background, are exploring things like yoga or breathing practices. And you know what, in many ways, the kind of religion …  I grew up Protestant, and Catholics, I think, are way ahead of Protestants in this. But for us, our bodies were disconnected. You know, everything was just sitting still and listening or singing or praying or whatever. At least Catholics had people kneel and make the sign of the cross, and take our bodies somewhat seriously.

    But everywhere I go, I see this desire among people to reconnect with their bodies. Even more so, I think, in a world where our eyes are glued to screens and we’re dealing with artificial reality and everything is through media. In other words, there’s something between us and reality.

    And I think one of our great challenges now is to try to get back to the actual reality of trees and wind and rain and soil, and these elements that make up our bodies. And because we spend so much of our time in air-conditioned, enclosed, artificial, manmade spaces, in some ways the only thing of the wild that we carry with us is our bodies. And so, this, to me, it’s almost as if we get in an echo chamber of human language and human architecture and human symbolism. And I think part of our reconnecting with God means we’ve got to get back to the primal reality and the primal earthiness of God’s creation. Does that make sense, Karen? That’s what I’m trying to get at there.

    Karen Pascal: Yeah, it does. I think about, you know, “All of creation speaks of God.” And the other thing that I kind of grasped in what you had written, was “We need to re-situate ourselves in the wordless language of creation, in all its wildness and wholeness.” And for me, I think that’s what the indigenous people have done and are crying to have back and to say, they can bring that, and they can teach us how to meet God there, in far deeper ways, as they look at traditions that have enriched their lives, but were silenced for a time by people that didn’t understand it. But you know, I would agree with you. I think we need the language of creation in all its wildness and wholeness. We need to open up again to that. It makes sense to me.

    Brian McLaren: And in Catholic tradition, of course, St. Francis is such a stellar example of this. And it’s sort of sad that people just try to make it cute and sentimental. I take it very, very seriously, that St. Francis actually felt, that bird is my brother, that wolf is my sister, that hawk is my cousin. You know, the sun and the moon, I’m related to them. I think that is a reality that our indigenous brothers and sisters are raised to feel, that the rest of us need to rediscover.

    I think that for theological reasons; I also believe that for very practical reasons. If we don’t learn to reverence and rediscover our connection to the earth, we’ll continue destroying it at this heartbreaking, agonizing, catastrophic pace. And that has to turn around as you know, and we don’t have a lot of time. So, this is important on, on many, many different levels.

    Karen Pascal: We’re living through a horrible time. Well, there’s no kind words for it, seeing what’s happening in Ukraine. In a sense, we’re seeing moral leadership where we didn’t expect to see it. We didn’t expect a country that was the underdog would stand up and demonstrate what it is to be a moral leader. I think it challenges all of us. I think we see something unfolding before us that is tragic, and amazes us, and calls us to a new kind of faith and a new kind of commitment.

    Brian McLaren: Well said, well said. We are not living in a boring time, are we?

    Karen Pascal: No, we’re not. And as you said, you know, in terms of seeing how that patriarch of the Russian church is letting things unfold as if they’re dictated from God, that’s the saddest thing. So, at this time, I mean, we are called to compassion and to action, and to take this on, too, as part of our broken world.

    Brian, is there anything else that you’d like to share? I love getting to talk with you, because you know a lot, friend, and you challenge us to think deeply and to think freshly, and I really appreciate that.

    Brian McLaren: Well, maybe the only thing I would say in closing, Karen, is just to go back to something you said a few moments ago, about this just being a difficult, painful time. Just earlier today, I just was eating a sandwich for lunch, and I turned on the news on our television and I saw something I don’t remember maybe ever seeing in my life. And that was the newscaster on CNN. She was reading this teleprompter in front of her and she started to cry, and she had to stop a couple of times. And you just realize: Here’s somebody who reads the news every day, but the stories of the suffering of children and women in Ukraine, she just couldn’t read it as if it’s just information.

    And that experience of compassion, you know, I return to what you were saying about, in Henri Nouwen’s book on the prodigal son. I remember when I read that, Karen, the thing that stirred me so deeply, the Protestant tradition I grew up in, we would never be allowed to identify with the father in the story. We would identify with the sinful son. But I remember when I read that book, when it first came out, I remember thinking, “I’m being invited to join God in God’s love for these two sons, both of whom God loves, and one of whom doesn’t love the other.” And I just remember feeling he was giving me a gift that I don’t think anyone had really given me before.

    And in a sense, I think that’s what was happening to that newscaster today. She wasn’t just reading the news as objective information, but in a sense, she was joining God and God’s compassion, in divine compassion for people who suffer. And something tells me with all the horrible things that are going on in the world, that more and more of us are experiencing what that newscaster experienced. And if we let the spirit of God work on us through this time, this could be part of what plants the seeds for better days ahead. At least that’s my prayer and my hope.

    Karen Pascal: I join you with that prayer and that hope. Thank you so much for being with us, Brian. I really value your honesty and I value the immediacy of what we’re sharing right now with a world that’s breaking before our eyes. I pray we may be part of the answer in a good way.

    Brian, thank you so much. It really is a treat to talk with you.

    Brian McLaren: I feel the same way, Karen. Keep up the great work. Thank you.

    Karen Pascal: Thank you for listening to today’s podcast. What an honor for me to spend time with Brian McLaren. He’s given us a very important book in this new one that’s titled, Do I Stay Christian? If our discussions today, or the very title speaks to you, I encourage you to get Brian’s book and let his wisdom, courage and honesty challenge and inspire you.

    For more resources related to today’s conversation, click on the links on the podcast page of our website. You’ll find links to anything mentioned today, as well as book suggestions, even links to The Return of the Prodigal Son.

    If you enjoyed today’s podcast, we would be so grateful if you would take time to give us a review or thumbs-up or pass it on to your friends and your family. Thanks for listening. Until next time.

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