On June 26th, an Associated Press article was released titled “Faithful in pews might not be voters in November.” The article prompted a response by emerging church author/lecturer Brian McLaren. The article stated that Obama had “sent Brian McLaren, one of the country’s most influential pastors, to meet with fellow evangelicals.” McLaren corrected the article by stating on his website:
In case anyone caught Philip Elliot’s AP story that mentioned me … it was a good article, but not quite accurate …Of course, we all know that I’m not one of the country’s most influential pastors. Nor was I sent to meet with fellow evangelicals on Obama’s behalf, although I’d be happy to share with anyone of any faith persuasion my hopes, concerns, and commitments regarding the presidential election.
McLaren concluded his comments by stating: “To say I was sent by Senator Obama wasn’t accurate. To say I hope he will be our next president rather than Senator McCain is accurate.”
McLaren stated that the Associate Press article erroneously called him one of the country’s most influential pastors. But the AP article wasn’t exactly wrong in one respect. While it is true that McLaren is not in a pastor’s role presently, according to Time magazine, in 2005 he was named one of the top 25 most influential evangelicals – not a status easy to attain to. McLaren is certainly influential, thanks partly to Leadership Network and Jossey Bass publishers, who in 1996 agreed to put their efforts (and their money) behind some young emerging leaders, and McLaren was one of them. 1 To give the impression that he does not carry a lot of influence is inaccurate. Recently, McLaren spoke at a Willow Creek youth conference, giving him a stamp of approval by one of the nation’s larger evangelical associations.
McLaren pointed out in his comments that as a pastor of a church he felt limited in expressing his political views.
Now as an author, I will continue to try to promote respectful dialog and responsible engagement. But I also feel more freedom – and responsibility – to speak more personally about my political commitments.
As pastor of a 501(c)3 (non-profit) church, McLaren (as is the case with all 501 (c)3 organizations) was not legally allowed to endorse or campaign for political candidates. With his new found freedom as an “author,” he has made it clear, in more ways than one, that he wants to see Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.
Note: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, LLC, and Lighthouse Trails Research Project are NOT 501(c)3 organizations and are not restricted from reporting the news or giving controversial commentary.
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