When I first met Ken Whitt, I was struck by how much we have in common.
First and foremost, we are people centered in faith that expresses itself in just love. Each of us, having served for many years as a pastor, has had time to sift out a lot of religious chaff—and shift our focus to the essential spiritual grain. We’ve reached the same conclusion that Paul reached in Galatians (5:6): The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.
Second, we are both proud grandfathers. There’s something that happened to me when my kids had kids: I found myself less interested in my own success and more interested in theirs. My horizon widened, so that I thought not just in terms of my own lifespan, but theirs. I sensed this same shift in Ken. As dads, we raised our kids for eighteen years or so, but at every step they have been raising us too, and we have received far more from our kids and grandkids than we have been able to give.
Third, we love both the outdoors and the Bible, and we see them as two complementary channels of revelation and inspiration. Our many years of interpreting each in light of the other has led us to a more contemplative approach to faith and life, centered in values like the ones Ken celebrates in this book: love, wonderment, and diversity.
And finally, we both love to write. I remember one of my literature professors who regularly quoted the Latin poet Horace on the purpose of poetry: to instruct and to delight. If we delight without instruction, we only amuse. If we instruct without delight, we bore. But if we can put the two together, we help people develop a taste for joy and wisdom.
As you read this wise and joyful book, I know you will feel both instructed and delighted, and you will agree that your life has been enriched by adopting Ken Whitt as a literary pastor, mentor and friend.
BRIAN 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” that is just, generous and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is the author of more than 20 books.