In 2001, American Evangelical Author, Brian McLaren wrote a book called, A New Kind of Christian. I think I read it in 2004 or 2005. The book brought to light many of the questions I had about the contradictions in the Evangelical faith and tradition that I had been suppressing for many years and offered a new, exciting perspective on the Christian faith and practice. Over the years, I dared not permit myself to consider these contradictions that were irritating me below the surface of my consciousness because I was afraid of ending up on a slippery slope. After reading McLaren’s insights, many which I never heard or entertained before, I realized that I now had an escape route to freedom right in front of me, but, unfortunately, I had an addiction that kept me locked up, and even a new and healthier way of looking at the Christian faith didn’t bring me the freedom I desired.
Through AA’s 12 Step Program, I was given that new freedom, and I found myself becoming the new kind of Christian McLaren talked about. The problem with that was many of the ‘Old Kind of Christians’ had no use for the new kind. But, I have met enough of these ‘New Kind of Christians’ to know of the true freedom we share, and the desire to make the world, not just our little comfortable tribe a better a place by being prophetically imaginative concerning our call to bear witness to Christ’s reign on earth.
In the work we do at DOVE, we have two major focal points: 1) helping to foster a change in attitude, relationships, behaviour and perspective in emerging Christian leaders. 2) And, to assist in the same effect in emerging not-yet-believing leaders in the immediate community. At DOVE, these two groups are intentionally cross-pollinized. They have a positive effect on each other.
DOVE wants to help foster a movement among young adults that puts them on a journey to become a “New Kind of Christian. Both believing and not-believing emerging leaders are beginning this journey. The new kind of Christian we want to emerge is one that says ‘NO’ to cozying up to empire for power, and ‘YES’ to siding with the marginalized. We want to foster the emergence of the kind of new Christian that says, ‘YES’ to including all, and ‘NO’ to excluding groups that are labelled ‘sinful’ or not in a certain kind of Christian Tribe; the kind that says ‘NO’ to staying inside the box where it safe and comfortable, and ‘YES’ to the risk of being marginalized for prophetic action; the kind that says ‘YES’ to dealing with and healing from emotional pain so they can grow up emotionally, and ‘NO’ to living through the pride of the EGO; A new kind of Christian who seeks authentic, safe community, where all are given a voice and ‘NO’ too rigid Christian institutionalism abounding in Bible experts who control. A new kind of Christian who says ‘YES’ to experiencing God in nature, art, reflection, meditation and in deep dialogue, and a new kind of Christian who says ‘YES’ to active concern about climate change, the environment, poverty and racial reconciliation.
DOVE is a new kind of Christian NGO and one that wants to be prophetic and flow with God’s intention for the world, though in this culture, being different and a new kind of anything is like the nail that sticks up higher than the rest. It is the first one to receive a blow from the hammer. But, let the blows come as they may, as there is always a price to pay when operating outside the norm.
It has been a great privilege to a part of this ministry.