From Christianity Today:
It now takes real discipline to recall how bright that moment felt 10 years ago.
In 2003, the book Blue Like Jazz, by little-known author Donald Miller, appeared in the sky like a blazing comet. Hundreds of thousands of evangelicals shared a moment: Finally, someone’s saying what I’ve been thinking, giving voice to my frustrations and longings about faith, God, and the church. No wonder Paste magazine named Blue Like Jazz one of the “20 Best Books of the Decade.”
Shortly after reading Jazz, I attended a pastors’ conference, where a breakout session with Brian McLaren had to be moved to the largest room available, and still people leaned against the walls, sat on the floor, and sardined outside the door, hoping to catch a few words from the voice behind A New Kind of Christian and More Ready Than You Realize. McLaren was quickly crowned “One of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” by Time.
And from where I live outside Chicago, vans were regularly packing in people to drive to Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, to hear the young phenom Rob Bell, whose Nooma videos had gone viral. Before long, Bell was named one of “The 50 Most Influential Christians in America.”
You could feel hope lifting, see the horizon lighting with a rosy dawn for the evangelical movement. And it was being led by a triumvirate of fresh artists: Brian, Rob, and Don.
That was so 2003.
Now, a single decade later, a pattern emerges.