Thursday, November 16, 2006

Brian McLaren at Soliton Zoo (Ventura, CA) #1

First, thanks to my wonderful husband Bran for loaning me his laptop.

There are gracious souls active in the world. Some of them are in the bodies of pastors and theologians. One of them is in Brian McLaren.

McLaren speaks from and to an evangelical background and perspective -- his critique and hope rest upon those foundations of faith. He hasn't said this, but I suspect that his great driving desires (and we all have driving desires) are Christlikeness and wholeness. So his work -- his books, his speech, his operative questions -- center on the meaning and being of Christ, and integration (of being, meaning, activity, theology, etc.). That means that he seems uninterested in plotting a position and sweating to fill in the gaps and cracks, as if unassailability and permanence were the goal. (Which may be why his critics are so strident, as they stand spattered with mortar and spackle.)

So you probably want details.
  • The church has always had an emerging edge -- we have never been rendered for all time in stone -- so there has never been a single "biblical" or "christian" world view (for example).
  • A "good" theology must earn its acceptance, not impose it upon the world through conquer or coercion. It will be coherent, contextual, conversational, and comprehensive (meaning -- will speak to and with the other theologies around it, not comprehensive meaning permanent or impenetrable).
  • Our world is not pluralistic, but fragmented. Fragmentation becomes relativistic becomes narcissistic.
  • The best news can only come with vulnerability (and yes there's part of my xmas message!).
  • The gospel is not any particular atonement theory: it's not "Jesus came to die for your sins." or "God sent his son to pay your debt." or "Jesus shows the falseness of empirical human power". The gospel (I love this): the kingdom of God is at hand. Reconcile.
Which of course is what Jesus himself said. (Matthew 4:17)

Selfishly, I am getting what I came for: refreshment, oxygen, spaciousness. That's graciousness, and Grace, at work.

(Plus there's nothing like being in a room of youngish people with light bulbs going off over their heads and sparks in their hearts. Whew.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Girlfriend, your last sentence sums up why I teach!