Thoughts from a 32year old II: How Bob and Brian changed my thinking


I more of an acoustic guitar player. But, this is a rare shot of me playing electric guitar. (please forgive me for self-indulging in some personal photos – I’m enjoying it anyway – it is my birthday *grin*)

Brian Mclaren is one name that can’t help cropping up in this blog. We’ve never met face to face. I’m not sure whether he remembers me. But I did send him an email once (before he’s famus now in some quarters) and will never forget his reply … My Question: “How do you balance preaching to seekers or believers in your worship service? (something like that … I was reading the Purpose Driven Church in year 2000). His reply in short “I preach to humans” (not sure whether it’s the exact words but that’s the gist of the gem sent back to me). So, if you want to ask, I have read ALL his books (and enjoyed them all), there are parts I’m not too sure to whether to agree or am puzzled with but I’m glad to have someone articulate it well so I could have something concrete to engage with (which means I resonate with a lot that he’s saying but more so with his approach in finding the answers).

Before Brian I must mention another very important unsung hero (hardly anyone knows him at least here in Malaysia) – He’s Bob Brow (also one I haven’t met face to face yet!). As I was reading A Generous Orthodoxy during the traffic jam this morning (oh yes! reading while driving has been a dangerous sport I’ve been engaging in – of course, I only read at the red light – imagine people hitting the horn when I’m so into the reading! – sorry i digress as usual), I recall that it was Bob who created “space” for me to explore another way of “thinking” or doing theology … what he calls MODEL THEOLOGY. The first time I saw his name was when I got the book UNBOUNDED LOVE and after an internet search, found his website – we corresponded for quite a while through email. Bob also was the first who introduced me to a post-modern approach to religion in GOD OF MANY NAMES and his RELIGION: ORIGINS AND IDEAS gave me some handles to understand my own “religion” as well as others. I still think his book GO MAKE LEARNERShave many relevant things to say to our situation. I’ve read almost all his books as well and found them simple and very helpful (I know of others who severely criticize his approach – I’ve merely been generous as he’s been so generous with me). Did I mention our email exchanges? Oh yes … these were even more precious than the books … Bob became my mentor and pastor when I was in my “valley of the shadow of death” and my extended “desert period”. When you know someone personally, it does make a difference how you read their stuff.

Thanks Bob and Brian …

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