Do I Stay a Christian?

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COURSE OVERVIEW
This course is designed as a video guide to Brian McLaren’s book “Do I Stay Christian?” In addition to three pre-recorded videos featuring Brian and Tripp, there are five livestreams answering questions and featuring guests including Chandrika D. Phea and Thomas Jay Oord.

A NOTE FROM BRIAN
I remember the first time I considered the possibility that I might not stay Christian. I was somewhere around twelve years old, and I realized that my church (which I had been taught was the best, most “biblical” version of Christianity on earth) did not accept the theory of evolution. Since evolution made obvious sense to me — especially after reading several literal six-day creation books that my parents gave me — I thought, “OK. A few more years and I’ll turn 18 and I’ll be done with this religion for good.”

Two things got in the way of my exit from church. First, a fellow a few years older than me invited me to a Bible study group where I met young Christians who thought that Christians could believe in evolution, read philosophy, and second, I had a powerful spiritual experience that made it harder for me to leave.

But even so, my spiritual life has been restless. I have struggled with Christian identity constantly. Perhaps people could sense this, which would explain why so many people have “come out” to me over the years as thinking about leaving Christian identity. Significant numbers of them have been clergy; when they work “behind the curtain,” they see things that make it harder and harder to stay.

In 2021, my book “Faith After Doubt” came out. I synthesized the work of a number of researchers and theorists to present a four-stage model of spiritual growth: Simplicity (dualistic, oriented around authority figures), Complexity (pragmatic, oriented around accumulating knowledge and skills), Perplexity (skeptical, relativistic, oriented around critical thinking regarding one’s own in-group), and Harmony (integrating previous stages in a compassionate understanding of human development). As I developed that four-stage model, I realized that most of the people who were leaving Christianity were entering Stage Three and Stage Four (Perplexity and Harmony). I hoped I could help them by addressing their situation in Do I Stay Christian?

SUGGESTED RESOURCE
Do I Stay Christian? by Brian McLaren

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS
Dr. Tripp Fuller is the founder and host of the #1 theology podcast, Homebrewed Christianity. As an author, speaker, podcaster, and professional theologian he is committed to bringing the best resources from the academy to the church so we can brew a more robust faith today.

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is a core faculty member and Dean of Faculty for the Center for Action and Contemplation. and a podcaster with Learning How to See. He is also an Auburn Senior Fellow and is a co-host of Southern Lights. His newest books are Faith After Doubt (January 2021), and Do I Stay Christian? (May 2022). His next release, Life After Doom: Wisdom and Courage for a World Falling Apart, is available for pre-order now and will release in May 2024. Born in 1956, he graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in English (BA, 1978, and MA, 1981). His academic interests included Medieval drama, Romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr. Walker Percy. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and in 2010, he received a second honorary doctorate from Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal).

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Do I Stay a Christian?

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COURSE OVERVIEW
This course is designed as a video guide to Brian McLaren’s book “Do I Stay Christian?” In addition to three pre-recorded videos featuring Brian and Tripp, there are five livestreams answering questions and featuring guests including Chandrika D. Phea and Thomas Jay Oord.

A NOTE FROM BRIAN
I remember the first time I considered the possibility that I might not stay Christian. I was somewhere around twelve years old, and I realized that my church (which I had been taught was the best, most “biblical” version of Christianity on earth) did not accept the theory of evolution. Since evolution made obvious sense to me — especially after reading several literal six-day creation books that my parents gave me — I thought, “OK. A few more years and I’ll turn 18 and I’ll be done with this religion for good.”

Two things got in the way of my exit from church. First, a fellow a few years older than me invited me to a Bible study group where I met young Christians who thought that Christians could believe in evolution, read philosophy, and second, I had a powerful spiritual experience that made it harder for me to leave.

But even so, my spiritual life has been restless. I have struggled with Christian identity constantly. Perhaps people could sense this, which would explain why so many people have “come out” to me over the years as thinking about leaving Christian identity. Significant numbers of them have been clergy; when they work “behind the curtain,” they see things that make it harder and harder to stay.

In 2021, my book “Faith After Doubt” came out. I synthesized the work of a number of researchers and theorists to present a four-stage model of spiritual growth: Simplicity (dualistic, oriented around authority figures), Complexity (pragmatic, oriented around accumulating knowledge and skills), Perplexity (skeptical, relativistic, oriented around critical thinking regarding one’s own in-group), and Harmony (integrating previous stages in a compassionate understanding of human development). As I developed that four-stage model, I realized that most of the people who were leaving Christianity were entering Stage Three and Stage Four (Perplexity and Harmony). I hoped I could help them by addressing their situation in Do I Stay Christian?

SUGGESTED RESOURCE
Do I Stay Christian? by Brian McLaren

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS
Dr. Tripp Fuller is the founder and host of the #1 theology podcast, Homebrewed Christianity. As an author, speaker, podcaster, and professional theologian he is committed to bringing the best resources from the academy to the church so we can brew a more robust faith today.

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is a core faculty member and Dean of Faculty for the Center for Action and Contemplation. and a podcaster with Learning How to See. He is also an Auburn Senior Fellow and is a co-host of Southern Lights. His newest books are Faith After Doubt (January 2021), and Do I Stay Christian? (May 2022). His next release, Life After Doom: Wisdom and Courage for a World Falling Apart, is available for pre-order now and will release in May 2024. Born in 1956, he graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in English (BA, 1978, and MA, 1981). His academic interests included Medieval drama, Romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr. Walker Percy. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and in 2010, he received a second honorary doctorate from Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal).