Brian McLaren. So let me do that now. He was in Ireland to speak with about 90 of us on the issue of church in a changing paradigm/age. As we read and prepared for his visit it became apparent that a lot of what he's proposing is really applicable to the situation here in Ireland. His talk didn't dissapoint. Let me explain.
McLaren noted that throughout history the forms of church have been in constant change, like a dance with their culture but that there are certain periods in which a huge change takes place (I think he noted Constantine's proclamation of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire and the Reformation in the 1500s as two major examples of this). He used the analogy of creating an omelet - the egg is liquid, getting warmer (small changes throughout history) but all of a sudden a huge change occurs in an instant as the egg becomes solid.
McLaren's talk really resonated with the Irish leaders present, especially when Ireland's recent history was taken into consideration. Sean Mullan - president of Evangelical Alliance Ireland - noted how Ireland was very much pre-modern in the sense that truth was imparted from the Pope in a hierarchical fashion up until around 1980 (Pope John Paul II visited Ireland in 1979). The Modern period in Ireland was actually very brief and the country found itself thrust into the post-modern/emerging period very quickly (a quick liquid-turning-to-omelet change). Much of this was due to the Celtic Tiger, increasing the economic prosperity of Ireland and seeing new cultures actually immigrating into Ireland (Ireland had a long history of emigration prior to the mid 1990s - indeed, I've been told that there are more Irish passports in USA than American). So, when McLaren started to point out some of the transitory changes that the church in Ireland might find/is finding itself taking, people in the room really seemed to resonate with the ideas. We were encouraged and challenged. I hope a lot of the conversations he got going/moved on will be furthered during Andrew Jones' visit.
Brad has put up the mp3s of Brian Mclaren over at EmergentIreland.com. Brad also included the powerpoints from the session. Enjoy.