Recent feedback on my books …

From the US, on SMJ …

rian I wanted to let you know about a class I will be facilitating this fall. I work with [XXX] and also get to teach a class among some incredible “older church ladies”. they have been reading Secret Message of Jesus. The great thing is these ladies are between 60 and 92. They are determined to be kingdom agents. I wanted to know if you had an update or encouragement for them. We have walked along some incredible paths of study AND they truly love being Kingdom people. thank you so much.

Please let your group of 60-, 70-, 80-, and 90-somethings know that Moses was reportedly a 120-something who was still going strong as one of God’s agents … so this posse of church ladies shouldn’t be discouraged even though they’re still relatively young! (Think 1 Tim 4:12) Thanks so much for the encouraging note … and for the following ones as well.
From Australia, on NKOC …

I’m not sure if you will have the time to read this email. I’m sure you get heaps!! Just finished your book, “A New Kind of Christian” and I absolutely loved it. Thankyou so much for having the guts to write it. I feel like I’ve become a Christian all over again. I went to the local bookshop and bought copies for my family it really is inspiring, thought-provoking and excellent.

From New Zealand, on AGO …

I have just finished reading A Generous Orthodoxy and wanted to say in a 100 words or less… I recently heard someone describe the Spirit as the space between the branches and the leaves of a tree where you catch a glimpse of the sky …reading your book consolidates that concept for me. We have more wrong than we have right in our Orthodoxy – but Together we have it all.

From Norway, on AGO

Hi Brian,
Sorry for the informality. Just some straight from the guts feedback… I started listening to your book “A Generous Orthodoxy” as an audio book on a long walk yesterday. I almost screamed with impatience over the two chapters of “about this book” before I got to hear about the seven different Jesus aspects – which I found very enriching and thought-provoking.
To me all that stuff at the beginning was you trying make a statement to your fellow publicly active Christian leaders….kind of “Hi, I want everybody to play nice here and not say nasty things about each other and especially not about me because I am not trying to upset anybody, I just want everybody to like me and I can be very tolerant, forgiving and understanding and humble, I am so humble you can’t possibly be mean to me …. and on and on and on.
I’m sorry. I know this sounds nasty. I am writing it because I think all that meta information at the beginning is really for your peers, not for us readers. And if you mean what you said about hoping that the book could be an introduction to faith for people who are new to Christianity or on their way to believing… how many of them would wade through all that self-justifying and in-speak to get to the heart of the matter? It probably doesn’t matter with a printed book. And I can see why the convention is that an audio book contains, word for word, what the printed one does. But in the audio medium… in my opinion ….it sucks.

More, plus a reply, after the jump …

You must be a great communicator, you’ve founded several churches. So maybe I’ve got this all wrong. But why not put all the stuff positioning yourself in relation to your peers and competitors in the BACK, or even in an appendix, where the experts can wallow in it….and put your message out in front to stand on its own two feet?
In some irritation…. and looking forward to continuing to hear your book and learn from it on today’s walk. May the Lord give you patience to read this and perspective to laugh at it, All too sincerely,

That was great feedback, and you did make me laugh, because I can imagine that that Chapter Zero would be a big pain to listen to on audiobook. So please accept my apologies. There’s a long story about why that chapter was included at the time the book was originally published … but suffice it to say that now, several years later, I tend to agree with you: it does suck, and maybe I can get it deleted in future editions. Thanks for the honest – and good-natured – feedback.

Dear Mr. Mclaren,
I happened to find your book, The Secret Message of Jesus, on a sales table at our local Christian bookstore on my first visit there to get a bible. Wow! It was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right moment.
A quick (I promise) religous background. My father’s … guilt and fear periodically drives him back to church, while my mother’s … guilt and fear drives her away. We left the church as a family when I was [a teenager], to my delight of course. When I became pregnant … I felt that need to return and briefly went back to what I knew…
I hope and pray that Christianity, as a whole, goes in the direction you are taking it. My generation won’t tolerate the religion of our parents’ generation. If we want it to survive it’s our only (and logical of course) choice. I’m anxious to read more of your books. It’s lit a fire under me to study scripture which I’ve NEVER done. I’m reading The End of Religion right now which is phenomal also! Thank you so much for your persistance and dedication to a worthwhile cause!!!