Jesus Was a Liberal – Rev. Scott McLennan


Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan (May 12, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0230614299
ISBN-13: 978-0230614291
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Reverend McLennan is the Dean for Religious Life at Stanford.  He is also minister of the Stanford Memorial Church.   In this book he covers how Jesus’ life mirrored the views of a lot of American Liberals.  Throughout he book he covers some rather divisive topics such as abortion, prayer in school, and gay marriage.   He combines personal stories, scripture, and view from other ministers in describing his beliefs.  For example, regarding prayer in school he recites the passage Matthew 6:6 which states:

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

He also covered the reaction many conservatives have toward the poor, war, etc.  On War he points out that Jesus taught “Turn the Other Cheek”, not “Let’s Bomb them back to the Stone Age.”. 

One thing he emphasizes is how liberals shouldn’t be afraid of admitting they’re liberal and Christian.   They should stand tall and be proud.   He also covers how one can pursue their faith as a liberal christian.   However, I’m not sure I agree with labeling Christ as one thing or the other.  I think he had many liberal ideas, but also know there were some things such as divorce, and killing, that he found appalling.   I think the truth lies somewhere in between.

I found many of his points to make a lot of sense, and overall the book helped me a lot.   I’d turned away from the ideas of religion, due to hypocrisy I saw, when I was young.  Seeing the fundamental view of things, which to me felt wrong, I felt there was no place for me in religion.  This book helped me see things differently.  While it helped me though, it wasn’t perfect.  There are some areas such as his argument supporting abortion rights, that I didn’t find strong enough.  However, overall I found the book very helpful in helping me get started and understand that my views are valid.  I’d love it if everyone would read this, but that would be naive.  I know there are those who wouldn’t touch it on a bet, however, for those who are open minded, and willing to look at new ideas, I’d defnitely recommend this book. 

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