Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?

Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World
By Brian D. McLaren (Hardcover Book, 2012)
When four religious leaders walk across the road, it's not the beginning of a joke. It's the start of one of the most important conversations in today's world.

Can you be a committed Christian without having to condemn or convert people of other faiths? Is it possible to affirm other religious traditions without watering down your own?

In his most important book yet, widely acclaimed author and speaker Brian McLaren proposes a new faith alternative, one built on "benevolence and solidarity rather than rivalry and hostility." This way of being Christian is strong but doesn't strong-arm anyone, going beyond mere tolerance to vigorous hospitality toward, interest in, and collaboration with the other.

Blending history, narrative, and brilliant insight, McLaren shows readers step-by-step how to reclaim this strong-benevolent faith, challenging us to stop creating barriers in the name of God and learn how affirming other religions can strengthen our commitment to our own. And in doing so, he invites Christians to become more Christ-like than ever before.

When four religious leaders walk across the road, it's not the beginning of a joke. It's the start of one of the most important conversations in today's world.

Can you be a committed Christian without having to condemn or convert people of other faiths? Is it possible to affirm other religious traditions without watering down your own?

In his most important book yet, widely acclaimed author and speaker Brian McLaren proposes a new faith alternative, one built on "benevolence and solidarity rather than rivalry and hostility." This way of being Christian is strong but doesn't strong-arm anyone, going beyond mere tolerance to vigorous hospitality toward, interest in, and collaboration with the other.

Blending history, narrative, and brilliant insight, McLaren shows readers step-by-step how to reclaim this strong-benevolent faith, challenging us to stop creating barriers in the name of God and learn how affirming other religions can strengthen our commitment to our own. And in doing so, he invites Christians to become more Christ-like than ever before.

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian was a church planter, pastor, and networker in the Baltimore-Washington DC area 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, and is Theologian-in-Residence at Life in the Trinity Ministry.

Brian's writing spans over a dozen books, including his acclaimed A New Kind of Christian trilogy, A Generous Orthodoxy, and his most recent titles, Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words (2011) and the eBook prequel to this title, The Girl with the Dove Tattoo (June 2012). 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.
  • "...An essential life lesson about loving our neighbors and tolerating their differences...For Christians on the fence about whether to accept others and their faiths or to insist that only Christianity can adequately serve, this book provides important insights."

  • "...Worth reading, lively and passionate at translating progressive theology into a popular idiom."

  • "...Important and extraordinarily timely...a soothing balm for the searing pain of our times..."

  • "Provocative...Even those who don't agree will be bettered by engaging its ideas."

  • "This engaging and compelling guidebook, written by one of America's most influential religious thinkers and spiritual teachers, is groundbreaking, redefining religious pluralism for the 21st century. It is a 'must read' for Christians and followers of other faiths or no faith."

  • "I think Brian McLaren is a spiritual genius!  Not only does he have the courage to say what must and can be said, but he says it with a deep knowledge of both Scriptures and Tradition, and then says it very well besides--in ways that both the ordinary layperson and the scholar can respect and understand. You can't get any better than that, which is why I call him a genius!"

  • "If you struggle with the 'conflicted religious identity syndrome,' this is the perfect book for you. It's not just that Brian will turn the deepest inner struggles and yearnings of your faith into smiles, tears, and belly laughs. It's that he really gets what it means to be a follower of Jesus without judging and dismissing others. I have not felt so much optimism about a constructive Christian life in years!"

  • "Brian McLaren is the most creative Christian theologian and spiritual teacher writing and preaching today in the U.S., yet his universal message is as relevant to people of all faiths and none. A champion of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness-and rooting these in the Biblical texts-McLaren helps heal CRIS-Conflicted Religious Identity Syndrome. As a Jewish theologian, I welcome this important contribution to showing the path through which all religions can become an emancipatory force for human liberation."

  • "This is a major work in every sense of the word--so major, in fact, that it would be impossible to exaggerate either its importance or its worth to the current conversation about religion and religions."

  • "Helpful, timely, and really, really inspiring."

  • "This is a book to cherish, to read over and over, a book that sheds light and warmth on one of the most difficult questions of our era."

  • "As a professor of interreligious education, I am delighted that Brian McLaren has provided us with a new book that demonstrates how one can maintain a strong sense of fidelity to their own tradition while constructively engaging with people of other faith traditions. There is a need for people who utilize religion and faith to heal the great wounds in our world and I am hopeful that Mr. McLaren's work will help us to forge deeper bonds across communities and solve the most dire problems of our time." 

  • "This book is a tremendous and timely contribution both to the Christian faith and to the global community."

  • "McLaren offers a renewed and renewing vision of Christianity that will challenge every reader to go deeper into its core Truth and find radical urgency to befriend all God's children. If you are not afraid of having your viewpoint, identity, and complacency challenged - read this, for Love itself is to be found here!"

  • "Surely there is no problem more important-and more vexing-to people of various faiths than how we can all get along in this pluralistic, postmodern world. Can we, for instance, love our Muslim neighbor without fearing him? Can we work alongside our Jewish colleague without trying to convert her? Can we pray with a Hindu? Worship with a Buddhist? In Brian McLaren's capable and gentle hands, these questions are answered, and a new way forward is offered. This is a book for Christians (and others) who want to maintain their religious distinctiveness but develop loving compassion for their neighbors of other religions."

  • "The best book I have read on this subject in ten years. Anyone seeking a fresh look at how to be the church in the twenty first century could do no better than this easy to read 274 page challenge to the old 'us vs. them' trap in which so many Christians feel caught."

  • "Brian has resisted the temptation to create an all-you-can-eat buffet of religions, where you can pick and choose what you want. Instead, he curiously explores what it looks like to be unashamedly Christian and still be nice to people who aren't. As one who wants the world to know the love of Jesus, I am deeply troubled that one of the major obstacles to Christ is Christians...and I am deeply grateful for thinkers like Brian who are helping us discover a Christianity that looks like Jesus again."

  • "With wisdom and wit, Brian McLaren courageously explores the contours of his Christian faith in light of his experiences with people from other religious communities.  His questions and insights are important contributions to the unfolding interfaith discussion in the United States and beyond."

  • "[Brian McLaren] is a one man army for decency, compassion and common sense...McLaren takes our yearnings for peace and turns them optimism about a new Christian path through which all religions can become a force for human liberation."

  • "Penetrating...timely...fundamental...essential."

  • "With his characteristic wit and passion, Brian McLaren charts a way through the twenty-first century's most difficult issue: How can people of different religions maintain their own faiths and yet respect the dignity of all? Join Brian as he takes you on a journey to discover a benevolent Christian faith based on hospitality instead of hostility.  It will change your life. And it might just change the world."

  • "An extraordinary book: A thought-provoking introduction to one of the biggest challenges confronting the church in our globalised world; a profoundly biblical and brave beginning to a Christ-centred cultural revolution."

  • "Brian McLaren is a genius in provoking-in a constructive way. You won't see relations among religions in the same way after you read this book."

  • "Genuine dialogue with difference has often been avoided by the Christian community because of a fear that it will undermine, weaken or erode the faith. Here McLaren shows us that far from being something that is acidic to Christian identity such engagement is part of its deepest expression."

  • "Brian McLaren is at his best in this book-pastoral, practical, challenging and thoughtful. As always, he speaks the right words at the right moment, meeting us where we are, but helping us see just around the bend. For those who want to engage in productive interfaith dialog while maintaining a strong Christian identity, WHY DID JESUS, MOSES, THE BUDDHA, AND MOHAMMED CROSS THE ROAD? is an invaluable resource. It will make you think, yes. But better yet, it will make you a better Christian and a better neighbor."

  • "I remember the time when I gave my life to Jesus: the tears, the joy, my whole being trembling with possibilities. Only to be told over the years that being a Christian means staying enclosed in what and whom we know. No more. And no fear. To live an open life does not mean playing loose with Christian identity. Quite to the contrary, it turns out that moving outwards and rooting deeper is the very same process! With this book Brian McLaren blows the lid off, and after reading it, I tremble again."

  • "Walk with Brian with a readiness to be comforted at one turn, and disturbed at another. As with Brian's previous writings he models fresh ways of looking at old questions in search of better answers for our troubled times. Even when we struggle with how questions might be reframed, we still need to seriously consider how we have formulated our answers. This is no mere academic exercise, but deeply personal, pastoral and ultimately missional."

  • "This is a book not only for liberal and conservative Christians but for people of all religious backgrounds who struggle with how to have a strong religious identity in a multi-faith world.  Brian's book challenges all Christians by admonishing them to have a strong Christian identity with great love for your non-Christian neighbors. This wonderful book fleshes out what it really means to be neighborly with the 'other.'"

  • "Brian McLaren is a master of pointing us to the right question, and he has done it again by asking Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?..This is a dangerous question. Dangerous in that it will not leave you alone once you invite it in... Brian reminds us that this question is not new, but that it is ours. I, for one, am grateful to Brian for the introduction to this immensely important book and question."

  • "Brian wants us to have an identity crisis-to ask ourselves what it is about our group identities and the beliefs we profess that causes the addiction to chosenness, to uniqueness, to projecting our fears and insecurities on to the other. The chapter on Christology alone is worth the cover price."

  • "In its relationship to those who believe differently, Christian formation all too often takes shape with hostile reaction, or collapses into some washed out common denominator. Brian helps us recover, and explore a vital and exciting alternative: how learning from 'others' of all persuasions, is possible and intrinsic to vibrant Christian identity."

  • "In matters of religion, hatred always seems to have the best tunes. But here Brian McLaren rehearses a melody that is much richer and more subtle, a joyful Christianity which is not over and against others, one whose apparently weak presence is a much stronger witness to the power of its Founder. This is a wonderful exploration of some hints of the great paradigm shift that is coming upon the Christian faith at this time."

  • "A Call to every person of faith to truly examine and explore not only the TEXT but the CONTEXT...A Call to love, compassion, social justice, friendships and the celebration of the universal spirit that connects us all. A must read to enable us to stop contributing to the creation of a senseless environment of separation."

  • "Brian thoroughly engages us in relevant dialogue concerning our attitudes and possible points of contact with those from different faith communities. I recommend this new guidebook leading us to better multi-faith understanding 1) because the content is creative, and engaging and 2) because the author has shown the character in his life that qualifies him to direct us in this effort. There are few other books in this genre you will enjoy more than Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World."

  • "I continue to be stretched and challenged by Brian McLaren's books and his latest is no exception...This could be among Brian's most important books to date, and its message must be thoughtfully considered. In the end, whether or not one agrees with all of Brian's conclusions, it is sure that in a shrinking, pluralistic world we can't afford to ignore his important admonition."

  • "Brian McLaren's new book is not only smart, it is also genuinely loving. That combination is not only rare, but crucial, in today's world, especially in matters of faith."

  • "Brian's book reads like he's inviting us all over for dinner. I applaud him for inviting each of us to the table so that we can come to better understand one another. This is vital, important work."

  • "...Profound, thought-provoking and unexpectedly creative...A highly stimulating, thoughtful and multifaceted book that I recommend to Christian and non-Christian alike."

  • "...Riveting, beautiful, and thought provoking."

  • "Brian McLaren's Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road: Christian Identity in a Multi-faith World is the best book I have read on this subject in ten years. Anyone seeking a fresh look at how to be the church in the twenty first century could do no better than this easy to read 274 page challenge to the old 'us vs. them' trap in which so many Christians feel caught."

  • "If you long for a better, more peaceful, less hostile world...buy this book."

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Product Details

Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?
  • Publisher: FaithWords
  • Price: $24.99 US/$27.99 CAN
  • Pages: 288
  • Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9"
  • ISBN-13: 9781455513963
  • On Sale Date: 09/11/2012
Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?