We are continuing the exciting book conversation started by Brian McLaren on 9/13 at Buffalo Billiard's (Patio Room) on Dupont Circle. So grab a beer, order some nachos, and join us! Brian's new book is titled: “Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Muhammad Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World.” When four religious leaders walk across the road in McLaren’s book, it’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s the start of one of the most important conversations in today’s, post-9/11 world.
As a conversation starter, Alex Bowens and Tim Kennedy will show us some documentary footage of Brian talking about interfaith relationships (and maybe some footage of the actual speaking event) and the story behind their interview with Brian. The Patio Room has a big screen and video projector. Alex and Tim are members of our group who are working on a documentary on having the courage to ask questions about faith in order to make it your own. We can also get people's reactions to Brian's talk and clarifying any issues.
Then we'll continue the conversation by talking about Brian's examples of Jesus' actions in the gospels as well as our personal experiences in answering that key question Brian asks, "What does it mean to be Christian in a Multi-Faith/post-9/11 World?" Maybe we'll break up into groups if we are too large for one big group. Many in our group have personal experiences in wrestling with this question in creative, life-affirming ways! And remember that Jesus and his early followers lived in a religiously-diverse world too.
To facilitate a deep conversation, we'll also look at key quotes in Brian's book (pre-order here (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/why-did-jesus-moses-the-buddha-and-mohammed-cross-the-road-brian-d-mclaren/1108616417) or just buy a copy at Brian's 9/13 book talk in DC) as well as any recent articles that summarize the arguments in his new book. I'll also send key quotes and chapter summaries the day before the event for those who didn't have time to read the book (to be clear, you don't have to own or have read the book to participate!).
As a preview, here's four key questions from the book we'll be discussing:
Question 1: If Christians love people of other faiths and respect their religious traditions, does that mean these Christians will eventually quite believing in Christianity?
(As the book blurb puts it: "Since 9/11 the question has become more and more urgent: How should Christians - members of the world’s largest religion - treat members of other religions? If we maintain an “Us vs. Them” attitude or make conversion the price of love and fellowship, we fuel mutual misunderstanding and hostility. But if we buy tolerance for other faiths at the cost of commitment to our own, we undermine our own faith.")
Question 2: What are the key Christian doctrines in your experience that can end religious rivalry and foster new, loving relationships with people in other cultures and religions?
Question 3: What are the out-dated perspectives on Christian and colonial history that foster lingering “superior” attitudes? Likewise, what kinds of fresh perspectives on both Christian and colonial history can foster encourage empathy and humility within us as we relate to those of other faiths?
Question 4: How can we prayerfully stand in solidarity with “the other” as Jesus did in the gospels and thereby become a force against injustice and inhumanity (which will fulfill the true Christian mission like never before)?
More about the book author: Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian pastored Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington DC area. Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors for over 20 years. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings in the U.S. and internationally.
Brian’s writing spans over a dozen books, including his acclaimed A New Kind of Christian trilogy, A Generous Orthodoxy, and his most recent title, Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words (2011). A frequent guest on television, radio, and news media programs, Brian is also an active and popular blogger, a musician, and an avid outdoor enthusiast. Learn more at his website, www.brianmclaren.net. Brian is married to Grace, and they have four adult children.
Possibly Moving the Discussion: If there's too many people for the Patio Room, we might occupy the Adirondack room which is in the opposite corner of Buffalo Billiards.
About the location (Metro logistics, parking, food, beer, etc.): We will be meeting in the Patio Room at Buffalo Billiards on Dupont Circle. The Room holds about 40 people. You can order a beer and food items right in the event space. Buffalo Billiards in is the basement space in the building right across the street from the metro south exit for Dupont Circle (The Front Page bar and restaurant is in the first floor space right above Buffalo Billiards). The south metro exit for Dupont Station is closed for repairs until October, so you will have to use the metro north exit (Q Street), so please allow an extra 5 minutes. For those driving, there is a parking garage right to the south of Buffalo Billiards for $10.