My blog has moved!

You will be automatically redirected to the new address. If that does not occur, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Retravsion, Strathfields and bad service.

Went down to Retravision today because in todays West they had a MP3 player advertised. It is not the best one, but was inexpensive.
Of course, despite the ad being in todays West, they did not have any stock. I rang a few other Retravisions, and of course, they did not have stock either.

Do they just put some super specials in the advertisement to get you in the door when they may have only 2 or 3 in the store of the stock? Its hard not to be cynical.

Strathfields are no better though. I went to get a battery for a relatives phone which was broken. I was in a rush to get to the store before they closed at 5.30pm. I jumped out of the car, heard the announcer say 5.25pm. No prob as I was literally three steps from the door. Unfortunately the door was shut, locked and no one would open it up for me. If your going to advertise you are open to 5.30, that is when you should be opened till.

No problem. Down to Officeworks who are open to six, and got the battery on the returns counter for half price.

Look, my life is great, and I have nothing to whinge about. But I will say this. If it were not for our laxodocial Aussie attitude, half the business' in Perth would not survive.

What Docker Slide?

This is an interesting article from the Australian,

"Swans and Dockers find comfort in figures
Greg Denham June 29, 2006
FOR all the recent criticism of Fremantle and Sydney, neither team has lost any ground this season, compared to where they were at the corresponding time last season.
After 12 rounds, the Swans have won seven games, the same number as this time last year. The Dockers, with six wins, are a game ahead of 12 months ago.
For all the witch-hunting within Sydney after consecutive home-ground losses, and all the negativity surrounding Chris Connolly's tenure at Fremantle after two straight losses, there has been no downward slide.
Perhaps supporters are uneasy because pre-season expectations in both camps put them higher on the ladder than their present standings.
The fact is there is an upside for both clubs. The Swans may have only one senior player unavailable for the game against Fremantle on Saturday night and the Dockers could have as many as four players returning from injury, including captain Peter Bell.
In addition, after this weekend Fremantle plays six of its last nine games at Subiaco Oval, where it has won four of six this season.

I will be in Sydney next week. Cant see us winning at the SCG, but it sure would be nice!
I will be away for the home game against Essendon. Should win that one! If we dont, well I think Chris will be goooone.


"Everybody needs a dream for life. It is a psychological necessity. If you're not dreaming, if you don't have a goal for life, if you don't have a dream, if you don't have a vision, you're dying."

Rick Warren

If ever there was justification for the death penalty

Then this story is proof.
As a father of two beautiful children, I found it hard to even read about this story. My brother in law, who has three beautiful girls, would not even turn on his radio, because he was so distressed about hearing it.
My prayers and thoughts are with this poor poor family.

Its a real warning to us all, do not let your kids out of sight. Dont leave them in the car, even when ducking into the shops. Dont let them out of your sight.


Another Poop Post

Spotted on the back of a Ute from Collie, this bumper sticker

Rick Warren and Social Justice Part Two

This is a great story

Rick Warren is listed among some other Americans as people who give back.
Since 2002 when Rick had something of an epiphany he really has been instrumental in seeing thousands of people helped.
He cops more than his fair share of criticism, but what are we doing about injustice and the poor in the world?

Bono said once that governments were scared of churches because if they ever realised their combined clout, they could do and change anything. Rick is mobilising churches worldwide in incredible ways.
"Mobilizing Christians worldwide to heal the sick and feed the hungry It starts as an ordinary success story"

"Now things get exciting. Another pastor might be content to diversify into "PDL" DVDs and gift books, but Warren is more ambitious. If "2.3 billion people in the world claim to be followers of Jesus," then why not take the next step and mobilize those people to do important things, like stop poverty, improve literacy, feed the hungry, heal the sick? Conventional relief organizations are fine, but why not tap what Warren calls "the faith sector," the armies of motivated religious volunteers who are sick and tired of polarizing rhetoric and professional crusaders?


We were robbed, but valiant

Well done Socceroos. Shattering all preconceptions we went further than anyone thought we would. If it had not been a clearly wrong decision by Spanish Ref Luis Medina Cantalejo, we were in with a chance.
We clearly had the most of the play.

Thats life.
Our MUD events were great, culminating tonight with a bunch of guys, great fun.
Roll on 2010 I say!

Sunday Midnight Hillsong Conference

This time next week I will be getting off the plane and waiting eagerly to hear Rick Warren speak at the 2006 Hillsong Conference.

These conferences have been valuable times for me as I make a yearly pilgrimage to Sydney. Its a time of challenge, blessings of worship times, and hearing some of the best speakers the Christian Church has to offer.
I understand Hillsong Church, and indeed the style of this conference, is not to everyones liking, but standing with 30, 000 other Christians praising God is always a refreshing time for me.
At Bedford we have no intention or desitre to be like Hillsong Church. But its not about that for me. Its about having a time of spiritual impartation. I preach about 45 times a year, maybe more. I prepare Bible studies, devotions, prayers and do a fair bit of counselling as well. Counselling really saps your energy.

Going to this conference allows me to be filled up and refreshed. Having time to reflect and be focused is valuable and needed by a full time pastor, in my view.
Stay tuned next week as I will post every day on how the conference goes.
Either that or tune out, whatever you like! :)

Wednesday Midnight

Thats the time my beautiful wife heads of to Melbourne with her sister in the self dubbed "Thelma & Louise" tour. I have it on good authority that Brad is off with some other beautiful woman, so I think I'm safe :)

She is off on a very well deserved break, no husband, no kids, no Uni studies, no work.
And before you all think the Credit Card is going to get a hammering, she has saved up for the trip and done extra relief work to get over there. I am so glad she is going, she really deserves and needs the break. But it wont be easy not having her around for three or so days, especially since I leave for Sydney the day after she gets back! we have not spent a lot of time apart since we were married, and its never easy when we are apart.

One guess why I have included this image on this post!

Bring on the Italians!

What a great great....draw.
Funny how we got so excited about a draw!!
When a draw happens in the AFL, it is a hollow feeling.
I wouldn't really know, Freo have never had a draw in their history, but back to the Soccer.

That was an incredible emotional game. A veritable rollercoaster .
It was so engaging, from despair to ecstasy.
I know its only a soccer game, but I am hard pressed to think of a more significant sporting moment in Australia's history. There are probably ones that equal it, but the world cup is a truly global event.

Bring on the Italians. No one is giving us much hope, but they walk onto the park with 11 players, and so do we.

We went out for coffee at Fast Eddy's. The service was almost deplorable. I have never been there when they have NOT had something on the menu that could not give you. After about 6 strong coffees, I was after a hot chocolate. Sorry sir, we have run out of hot chocolate. Excuse me??? Overpriced, bad service. The only reason they get any business is because they are 24 hours, and a bunch of hungry men needed a feed after willing Australia to victory.

I'm Excited!

Go you mighty Socceroos,
need to go have a nap, and get the lungs ready for kickoff, just after 2.30 am.

If you dont watch the game, where is your national pride???
And what will you talk about round the water cooler tommorow???

Chris strikes back

Robert Walls has had a rather large go at Chris on the back of the West Australian.
So what.
Robert's claim to fame as a coach was getting his players to stand in a ring and punch each other senseless.
He is a dreadful commentator, boring, and the master of the obvious statement.
Chris Connolly had this to say at his press conference today,
“His comments are irrelevant. Once you have a bad loss, it’s a bad loss. There is no point in me reading comments by people who don’t know our environment. What does that do?” he said.

Chris' statement is correct. As a leader, involved in the organisation, he knows far more than Walls. Walls cant even get facts right.
Farmer stages for frees : Farmer never gets free
Mc Manus needs to retire : Mc Manus is having his best year ever, and has been BOG for about 3-5 games this year.
McPharlin got injured in a marking collision with Brad Ottens - McPharlin was actually injured in a contest with Nathan Ablett

You have to admire Chris, he fronted up to the circling sharks, and even managed to point out the absurdity of the situation, saying, "The Prime Minister would not get this much press to his conference".
That is probably true and shows where sport lies in an Australian's priorities.
He went on and faced up to the facts as well.

“It was a disgraceful performance by Fremantle football club to whom I coach. Our aim is to make the finals and to win a final. I wouldn’t right off Fremantle just yet. We go into the second half of the season with confidence,” Connolly said.

Mud and Croatia

This is it! I did not think I would be so pumped about a Soccer Game. But this is it, Australia's chance of making history, our first ever foray into the knock out round.
If we win, its off the Fast Eddy's Morley for Breakfast and a strong coffee.
If we lose, we'll the less said the better.

TIME 2.30Am

Poop Music

Is there any more trendy item than the Ipod?
Is there anything that is more indicative of our egocentric 'self' society' than the I Pod?

Is there nowhere that we can get away from it?
The answer is no. There is nowhere you can get away from your I Pod.

Now, introducing the IPod toilet roll holder.
There are so many lines here.
Would you listen to 'poop' music on it?
Or maybe some 'rock' or 'roll'.
Think about it.....


Bono and how Jesus doesn't let you off the hook

In an interview style book, Bono has some pretty frank statements to make about his faith, life and relationship with Jesus Christ. (Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas)

I have been reading this book on and off for sometime.
Here is one really interesting and challenging quote.

Assayas: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?
Bono: No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched …

Bono later says it all comes down to how we regard Jesus:

Bono: … [I]f only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. …When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s--- and everybody else's. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that's the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.


No family is immune from suicide

In Australia one of the greatest killers of young Australian males is suicide.
We have beautiful natural wonders to enjoy, surfing, swimming, climbing.
A young Aussie male can grab a cheap car, drive around our nation and survive and thrive. We truly are a nation of opportunity.
Unemployment is at an all time low, prosperity is everywhere you look. Yet still, you hear stories, new stories, of behaviour birthed in hopelessness leading to despair.
And it does not matter if you are a Christian, and in a great Christian family either. This story about James Dungy is sobering.
From a succesful wealthy, sporting strong Christian home. Yet he took his own life. As a father I look at this story and wonder what went wrong, if anything. Or if indeed there are any answers.
Coach Dungy said this, "God has placed me in this position not for him and his family to suffer but so they can be an example to others, a testimony.".
"The Lord has a plan. We always think the plans are A, B, C and D, and everything is going to be perfect for us and it may not be that way, but it's still his plan." (Tony Dungy)
He's learned that it's all too common among young men who seem to "have it all." Dungy says he has had correspondence with at least a dozen families who are dealing with losing a child to suicide who was not considered "at risk."
"It's not the kids who are struggling or that had issues that we would think were issues," Dungy says. Perhaps Dungy's only real regret as a father is that he hasn't been there for his children as much as his late parents were for theirs.

MUD what is it all about?

Someone asked me about MUD during the week. For those who came in late....

M Men
U Under
D Duress

There are times when men need to hang around with other men. Something happens when you get married, and then when you have kids the problem is even more exsaperated. You stop having that important 'mate' time. In church environments it can be even worse.
Men need time with other men to do men things, like watch sport, drink, eat, make fart jokes and talk about the intricacies of the offside rule, and argue about Holdens and Fords.

MUD is for that purpose. Sorry ladies! I think its important for there to be times for women to mixwith women, men and women to mix and for men to mix with men. In our busy culture there are not many times when men, especially family men can do that. So MUD is to help in that regard.
MUD MUD MUD oi! oi! oi!

Worst Performance of the year

Geelong came to play, Freo did not.

There were not many Freo players playing with much intensity in this important game.
Hedland, Josh Carr and even the perennial misser, Medhurst, played with some vigour.

It could have been far different if those easy misses were converted in the third quarter, but they were not. Something to do with football being played in the mind I think.
Someone asked me what I thought of Connolly as a coach the other day. I have continued to defend him. Problem is, that it is his job to get the team ready and willing to play, and play for each other. Some serious man management work needs to be done in the next couple of weeks if we are to even make the finals, let alone have a significant impact in them.

Grover out, the "Driller" in

Bad sad news down Freo way with our most improved player, Antoni Grover, out for 6 weeks with a shoulder injury. A rather innocuous bump and one of our key defenders is out.
Robbie Haddril is back in the side. With Johnson in All Australian Form, we should be okay.

We need to win this week, playing Geelong at home. Not because I dont think we will win, I think we will, comfortably. Problem is that there are a number of Geelong supporters at church. If we lose on Saturday, I am going to cop it on Sunday.

Moving an oil tanker and transitioning a church

When you are reading through blogs, they are often people who are planting churches or starting new type of works. To be involved in transitioning a church is a much harder calling, in my opinion. It is harder because it involves a lot more emotional and relational pain. Planting a church or doing a new work involved other types of pain, I imagine. Like financial pain and having to be bivocational. However I am no expert on planting churches, so I would be interested to hear what sort of pain growing a new church involves.
As to transitioning a church, Rick Warren nails it in this article.

He says,
"For a church to turn around it may take many, many minute degrees of change and a long time to make a complete turn around. I personally believe you have to be called to a church like that.
People ask, "Is it easier to start new churches, or is it easier to take existing churches and turn them around?" My answer is this: "It's always easier to have babies than to raise the dead." However, God is in the business of raising the dead! He's a pro at resurrections, but it just might take some time. "

He states that it takes as long to turn a church around, as it has been plateud for. GREAT! That means I am here for about 38 years.
We have seen Bedford turn around in about 11 years, not completely, but we are a whole lot more healthy now than when I first came here, and it has come with a lot of pain.

MUD and the World Cup vs Brazil

After the first event being so well appreciated, its on again!
Cant believe I am going out at 11.30pm to watch Soccer!
Great place to have it, in a church, because we will need a few miracles!!


I am speaking on Jonah for the next two weeks at Church.
Here are some of the words that I think of when I think about Jonah
and more grace

What a win!!!

Great win by the Socceroos!!!

Enjoyed it with a large group of blokes at our MUD event.

The Church was rocking as in the last ten minutes or so the "Guss' inspired substitutions paid off in a big way.

Three to one win means great things for us as we continue on in the tournament.

Beautiful Transformation

These are beautiful examples of God's creativity.

Link Monarch Watch

I was right, unfortunately

The brave Freo side went down. As Connolly has already said, we needed to put more scoreboard pressure on the Dogs. At least it was not a flogging, but a brave effort.

The umpires were carp, and continue the unbelievable run we seem to have. Freo has not had a positive amount of umpire decisions all year. The closest we have had has been the two times we drew even. Those decisions against Josh and Grover cost us, and were both clearly wrong, as the West pointed out this morning.

A word on Medhurst. Despite the bad press some posters are giving him, I thought his effort yesterday was commendable. Okay, he missed 4 or five shots he should have nailed, no doubt. But you cannot fault his endevour, willingess to tackle, or everything else he has been criticised for in the past. With all things being considered, he gave a good effort yesterday. He will kick a bag soon.

And the weagles........what can you say? I was all set to ring my brother in law and they go and do that. Well done for not giving up. But....... I do believe it shows something not good when the top team in the country allow Carlton to get 45 points up, after the week before allowing Geelong to do something similar. They will not want to do that against other sides.

Guest Speaker Pookey

Had a guest speaker at church, Luke Roscoe.
Not really a guest speaker, a friend who comes to our church.

Gave a great message on how the Israelites whinged about the manna, basically the big idea being to appreciate what God has given to us. It is far too easy to find yourself whinging about this that and the other, and forgetting how God really does look after us. A call for balance in this whinging post modern world (my words).

Luke made an interesting point. Because they where whinging, the Israelites started getting bitten by snakes. Luke said that God was not the God Gary Larson portrays, as being in heaven and making the snakes, which he then tipped on the Israelies from a heavenly bucket. No, the snakes were already there. God merely removed His protection from them withdrew His presence because He was sick of their wining.
Interesting point and application to us.

Enjoy today, appreciate it, revel in it, enjoy the pleasures and happiness it brings, most of all live a life of thankfulness and gratefulness.

White ants or 'with friends like this'

The rot has set in down at Bomberland.
After 9 losses or 161 days without a victory, a group of 12 members from the Essendon Football Club have decided enough is enough. They want the head coach sacked.

I wonder if Lloyd and Hird were both not out at the moment, they would still be feeling the same way? Is Sheedy a wily old fox, or an old has-been as these supporters suggest? Either way I dont think this public display of disunity will do the club any good at all.

Its going to be a blue dog weekend

Not looking forward particularly to this Sunday arvo.
The Bulldogs might just give us a touch up at the dome, despite the absence of Robert Murphy, who is out for the season. Perhaps more importantly, Steve Butler, from the West, and renowned Freo basher, has tipped us to win. Thats a sure sign things are not going to go well for us.

The TAB have West Toast installed at $1.03 to beat the Carlton Blues. That is the lowest price in modern AFL history. So sure are the West Coast fans of winning that my West Coast loving brother in law tried to get tickets. He wont even watch the game until he knows the West Toast have won!!

Could be a sad sad trip to the deli for the paper Monday morning.
Pavlich will be captain this week in Bell's absence. On the small Telstra Dome lets hope he kicks a bag and drags us over the line.

MUD and the World Cup

Churches in Germany are opening up their building and getting in big screens for Soccer (oops) football fans to watch the teams play the World Cup. Sounds great!

We are doing the same thing.

Rick Warren and Social Justice

There has been a real growth in the focus of Rick Warren's ministry in the past 12 months or so.
He has publicly expressed regret at his inaction over the situation in Africa and other places, particularly in regard to Aids devastation.
This article is great, and merely reinforces my belief that Rick Warren is on the right track. He does not apologise for his conservative beliefs, but does put his faith and love into action. I love what he says here, "The New Testament says the church is the body of Christ, but for the last 100 years, the hands and feet have been amputated, and the church has just been a mouth. And mostly, it's been known for what it's against. ... I'm so tired of Christians being known for what they're against."

Aint that the truth.
It reminds me of this line from U2, which I suspect is directed at churches,
"You speak of signs and wonders, But I need something otherI would believe if I was able,
But I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table"

Here is the bible reference. Matthew 15:21-27: Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

As a church grows and becomes strong, it can and should do more in this area. This is what secular people applaud when they see a church doing, and what Jesus called us to do when He said, "as you have done for the least of these, you have done for me"

Rick Warren Interview

Rob Bell, the next Billy?

Here is some grabs from an interview with Rob Bell, the author of "The Velvet Elvis" and producer of the NOOMA videos. That reminds me, there is a new one out, I must grab it!

"He's fond of punk music, he surfs and has a trampoline in his yard, but he also knows Hebrew and Greek and can preach the gospel astutely, and, apparently, with great appeal.
So much so that Mars Hill, the congregation Bell co-founded with a small group of friends seven years ago, is one of the fastest growing churches in U.S. history, drawing more than 10,000 worshippers each week (plus another 30,000 or so who download MP3s of the weekly services from the church Web site.) "

"The Emergent (or Emerging) church is a largely youth-oriented movement within evangelical Christianity that has appeared over the past 20 years and is characterized by its attempts to deconstruct -- and then reconstruct -- what it means to be a Christian today. Bell bristles at the Emergent label, insisting it's one he's never applied to himself or Mars Hill"

I love Rob Bell's stuff. He is seriously the best preacher I have ever heard, for this generation. His message of grace, true spiritual freedom is awesome. Rob Bell inspires me to plunge deep into the stories of the Bible every time I hear him speak.


They deserved to win, after coming back from 50 points down. As much as I cant stand them, it was an extraordinary effort, Juddless.
Where too for Geelong? After winning the Pre Season Cup they were a premiership fancy. Now they have shown us how fragile they are.

See the Bombers crash, crash, crash

After the boring as game we were forced to watch on Channel Nine's Friday Night Football last night, there is only more bad news for Footy Fans. Essendon have five more Friday Night Games.
The Bombers were not just beaten last night, but thrashed by 138 points by Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

Thank goodness there is one Friday Night that will be worth watching.
Roll on Round 14 Fri 7 July Fremantle v Essendon Subiaco Oval
I wont be there, unfortunately, I will be in Sydney. Have to find a sports bar somewhere that night.


Richmond, should be easy peasy

Saturday Night Football tommorow. But no Saturday night Clive
We are coming up against a team which has won a few games in the last few weeks, including a nail biter against premiership favourites Adelaide.
Yet I am feeling pretty confident about this one.
Richmond just smell like a very brittle team, one that could implode at any time. With no Richardson, who truly is a good player, and no Nathan Brown, where are their goals going to come from?
Interesting to see Schoefield being dropped. I watched the tape from two weeks ago, and I counted once, just once, that he hit a target. Unfortunately every time he has possession of the ball, I can feel the whole crowd groaning.
However even old leather face wont be able to coach them to a win this week.

You know what else? I have a feeling that Geelong might get up this weekend as well. What a great Monday paper that would be! GO YOU MIGHTY CATS!

Kangaroo fan suffering

In a follow up to my previous post about Laidley and a leaders responsibility.
This from The Australian
"The family's "son and brother" was a "very passionate, long-time Kangaroos' member and supporter. They stressed his death was not related to the "verbal exchange with Dean Laidley".
"Andrew had been receiving support and counselling for depression. We hold no grievance against Dean Laidley or North Melbourne Football Club."

I dont think Laidley did anything wrong at all. Sometimes as a leader you need to be frank, speak the truth and share your own feelings.
In this case Laidley did not know the whole story. He did not know this guy was suffering from depression, and probably went to the Footy as a release from reality, and felt even more depressed when his team lost. (As a Dockers Member I can relate!)
Neither do I as a leader know the whole story when I am speaking to someone. Even if I ask for it, I dont always get told what is really going on. It's not easy, all you can be is honest to yourself and honest to God, because if you choose to be a leader, or even have leadership thrust upon you, you will be misunderstood.

Having said all that, the title of the post is "Kangaroo Fan suffering". No matter what sort of group of people you are leading, you must be sensitive to what is going on for them, if you are to truly be a great leader. Not fake sincerity, not use them for your own gain, not help them for your own ego. Loving and caring for and leading people does bring you joy, joy that is far better than seeing them used under your leadership for your own purposes.

McLaren compares Da Vinci with Left Behind series

Brian McLaren on The Da Vinci Code An interview by Lisa Ann Cockrel
With The Da Vinci Code poised to go from bestseller list to the big screen on May 19, pastor and writer (and Sojourners board member) Brian McLaren talks about why he thinks there's truth in the controversial book's fiction.
What do you think the popularity of The Da Vinci Code reveals about pop culture attitudes toward Christianity and the church?
Brian McLaren: I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion. We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church. Why would so many people be disappointed to find that Brown's version of Jesus has been largely discredited as fanciful and inaccurate, leaving only the church's conventional version? Is it possible that, even though Brown's fictional version misleads in many ways, it at least serves to open up the possibility that the church's conventional version of Jesus may not do him justice?
So you think The Da Vinci Code taps into dissatisfaction with Jesus as we know him? McLaren: For all the flaws of Brown's book, I think what he's doing is suggesting that the dominant religious institutions have created their own caricature of Jesus. And I think people have a sense that that's true. It's my honest feeling that anyone trying to share their faith in America today has to realize that the Religious Right has polluted the air. The name "Jesus" and the word "Christianity" are associated with something judgmental, hostile, hypocritical, angry, negative, defensive, anti-homosexual, etc. Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that's distorted and false. I also think that the whole issue of male domination is huge and that Brown's suggestion that the real Jesus was not as misogynist or anti-woman as the Christian religion often has been is very attractive. Brown's book is about exposing hypocrisy and cover-up in organized religion, and it is exposing organized religion's grasping for power. Again, there's something in that that people resonate with in the age of pedophilia scandals, televangelists, and religious political alliances. As a follower of Jesus I resonate with their concerns as well.
Do you think the book contains any significantly detrimental distortions of the Christian faith? McLaren: The book is fiction and it's filled with a lot of fiction about a lot of things that a lot of people have already debunked. But frankly, I don't think it has more harmful ideas in it than the Left Behind novels. And in a certain way, what the Left Behind novels do, the way they twist scripture toward a certain theological and political end, I think Brown is twisting scripture, just to other political ends. But at the end of the day, the difference is I don't think Brown really cares that much about theology. He just wanted to write a page-turner and he was very successful at that.

Here is a reply to him
"The problem with what McLaren says here is that he cannot (or will not) distinguish what is malignant from what is benign. No one goes to hell merely for believing dispensational premillenialism, a theology of the end times that is portrayed in the "Left Behind" novels. Yet anyone who denies the deity of Jesus most certainly will, and this is precisely what is argued in "The Da Vinci Code."

Left Behind People's response

I find myself in the unusual position of siding more with McLaren than his detractors on this one because a lot of what McLaren is saying is true. People who don't know church history have lots of false presuppositions. Yet I have an issue with anyone who won't really explain clearly (propositionally) what he believes yet is telling me or others that what we articulate propositionally is false. (Mc Laren) Mc Laren ducks and weaves more than Josh Carr coming out of a crowded pack.