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Jesus Was a Liberal

In this bold call to reclaim ownership of their religion, Rev. Scotty McLennan advocates a Christianity based on the humanity behind Christ's teachings. McLennan explains that, in fact, Jesus was a liberal, that he championed rationality, tolerance, and freedom from religious authority. Today, the press too often characterizes the national debate about religion as a fight between the religious right and the secular left. In the middle - forgotten, maligned - are millions of liberal Christians. Not only does this book seek to give them a voice, but more importantly, it builds solid bridges to all sides of the cultural divide.
Product Details

Table of Contents

PART I: HOW A LIBERAL CHRISTIAN LOOKS AT RELIGION Some Liberal Perspectives: Jesus, Science, Abortion, and Same-Sex Marriage The Essence of Liberal Christianity God Jesus and the Church Understanding the Bible Faith Talking to Atheists and Christian Conservatives PART II: A LIBERAL CHRISTIAN QUESTIONS SOCIETY The Great Social Issues: Poverty, Bigotry, War, and Environmental Destruction Church and State PART III: LIVING THE LIBERAL CHRISTIAN LIFE Christian Doctrine: The Trinity, Communion, Being Born Again, the Apocalypse, and the Sabbath The Church Year: Advent, Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter Epilogue: Reclaiming Liberal Christianity

About the Author

REV. SCOTTY MCLENNAN Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University, USA. He was the University Chaplain at Tufts University from 1984 to 2000, and Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School for ten of those years. In 1975, he was also ordained to the ministry (Unitarian Universalist) and admitted to the Massachusetts bar as an attorney. He is the inspiration for Doonesbury's Rev. Scott Sloan. He lives in Stanford, California, USA.


At a time when political and religious liberals are taking refuge in the word "progressive," McLennan (Finding Your Religion) presents an unapologetic case for liberal Christianity. Reporting that about 20% of Americans are liberal Christians, he states, "Too many of them choose silence, afraid to use the word 'liberal' to describe where they stand." He immediately tackles hot-button topics-abortion, science and same-sex marriage-then moves on to liberal perspectives on God, Jesus, the Trinity, the church and the Bible as well as feminist theology and living faithfully as a liberal Christian. Personal anecdotes from McLennan's own faith journey and advice for practitioners vary in effectiveness, but few liberal concerns about traditional Christianity go unaddressed. Dean for religious life at Stanford University, an inspiration for Doonesbury's Rev. Scott Sloan of comic strip fame and a Unitarian Universalist minister, McLennan and his theology may not always draw agreement from other Christians who consider themselves liberals, nor does the book engage postmodern "emergent" theology. But McLennan's presentation is remarkably thoughtful, respectful and balanced as he argues that liberal Christianity is a vital expression of faith. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Praise for Jesus Was a Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All: 'McLennan's writing is that of a thoughtful scholar...This book will reward any reader with an open mind and a curiosity about the breadth of the Christian faith.' - Library Journal 'McLennan's presentation is remarkably thoughtful, respectful, and balanced as he argues that liberal Christianity is a vital expression of faith.' - Publishers Weekly 'His book is a manifesto of sorts for those who are both unapologetically Christian and liberal. He takes readers through the major concerns of liberal Christianity, both theological and social, and draws conclusions that are sure to both enrage and amuse those who don't share them.' - Chicago Sun-Times 'Rev. Scotty McLennan is reasonable and humane... he makes religion sound like a valuable tool for humanity, the kind of social movement that could bring us peace, understanding, tolerance and love.' - The National Post (Canada) 'An immensely readable book that reclaims the honorable word 'liberal' for a vision of Christianity that is persuasive, compelling, and faithful.' - Marcus J. Borg, author of The Heart of Christianity and Jesus: The Life, Teaching and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary 'A wonderfully readable and very timely book. It makes Jesus available again, as he has been at many times in history, to a much wider spectrum of people, and not just 'liberals.' Will be appreciated by those who want to 'conserve' what he stood for, taught and died for.' - Harvey Cox, author of When Jesus Came to Harvard and The Future of Faith 'A clear-eyed, hopeful manifesto of belief, written with style and integrity. At last - the progressive case for faith, powerfully made.' - James Carroll, author of Practicing Catholic Praise for Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up with Has Lost Its Meaning: 'This is an entertaining, gentle and affirming book.' - Publishers Weekly 'McLennan offers wise commentary and anecdotes that gently guide the individual seeker toward finding a religious home.' - Cleveland Plain Dealer 'If blind belief has driven you to blind disbelief, or if you feel your life is in spiritual disarray, or if you simply want to read something thoughtful and sensitive, try this book. Scotty McLennan is an experienced guide on a variety of paths leading to what we all need - a greater spiritual awareness.' - Reverend William Sloane Coffin, author of A Passion for the Possible

McLennan (dean for religious life, Stanford Univ.; Finding Your Religion), ordained in the Unitarian Universalist faith, examines liberal Christianity, its definitions of relevant terms like God and faith, and its stand on issues as diverse as abortion, same-sex marriage, poverty, and war. He takes time to distinguish liberal Christianity from conservative Christianity on the one hand and atheism on the other, but this is not a combative book. Rather, McLennan focuses on the Christian call to a love of all humankind and the necessity of tolerance that this entails. McLennan's writing is that of a thoughtful scholar, not inaccessible but rigorously considered. He draws from the Bible and from a plethora of recent and classic authors. This book will reward any reader with an open mind and a curiosity about the breadth of the Christian faith.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Lib., Wisconsin Rapids, WI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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