“Toward the Other” – Brian McLaren brings it on religious identity and pluralism!

Brian McLaren breaks down some central elements of his latest book, ‘Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross The Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-faith World,’ with this video, ‘Toward the Other,’ recorded with ‘The Work of the People‘ (which is a straight up awesome video channel!).

I think the truth is, we are very, very different. Our biggest problem though, isn’t our differences; our biggest problem is that we build identity by enforcing hostility toward the other. In other words, I learn who I am by learning who I am against. I learn who I am by learning who is against me. And so when your identity is oppositional; when your identity is based in fear of the other, then it doesn’t matter whether you put a label of “Christian,” “Muslim,” “Buddhist,” on that. You have an inherently hostile identity.

My question is: can we find a way of holding Christian identity that sends us toward the other with love and hospitality, rather than with fear and hostility?

Brian nails so much that needs to be said about how (any) religious beliefs are held and articulated in the public square – especially as many are beginning to feel the questions of religious pluralism more acutely and desire to move past the violence, hostility and mistrust that has so often defined their interaction.

He breaks what he is saying down through Historical, Doctrinal, Liturgical and Missional challenges. Exploring in each how we move past hostility and the need to convert whoever we meet, so that we can encounter one another, in all of our differences, as human beings who can participate together in bettering our world.

There is a lot of wisdom and grace here. In short, “this stuff preaches!”