Sunday, February 28, 2010

Let Brian McLaren's voice be heard again!

This is the second part of trying to uncover what Brian McLaren has done in his book, A New Kind of Christianity. This post goes into depth the last 5 questions that his book covers. Before that, please

Question 6: What do we do about the church? – My classmate Min Ho did an awesome job about writing on this question from the book, which you can read here. For those who would call themselves Mainline Protestant, I suggest you read some of the comments on that post. Min Ho’s blog just puts it bluntly: how do we turn our presently broken churches into a house of Christ-like love?

Question 7: Can we find a way to Address Human Sexuality? Simple, have classmate Bob Rhodes blog about it here. I won’t lie, the first page or two of these chapters will catch you offguard, but how can you not like this: “Fundasexuality is rooted not in faith, but in an orientation of fear” (175). Why not put the two most personal things together in dialogue within the church: God and Sex.

Question 8: Can We Find a Better Way of Viewing the Future? I hope so. In simple terms, I can’t see Jesus and the rapture being the “way to go” in 2012. Rather, can we understand that God and the universe are in relationship with us. Mclaren, have you ever heard of process theology and John Cobb Jr.? You get hints of it from the first chapters, but there is this line that I think you hit the nail on the head: “God is like a parent guiding a child with a will of her own.” (196)… “The future is open, because the compassion and care of God are unconstricted, open wide for us to turn and find a better life than we’re now experiencing by taking a better path than we’re now walking.” (203)

Question 9: I think my classmate Jan Thomas can give the best perspective, because she is an advocate for inter-religion and unity. There’s a book written by Paul F. Knitter who describes how Christians have/will relate to other religions. I suggest you read it so that you can at least identify where you are. But like McLaren, interacting with other religions has more than just religious importance (208). I personally have came to my own conclusions through my own family: although I may not fully understand or agree with those who are not Christian or a derivation of it, I know that they are family (both personal and under the umbrella of “human family”) and will love them indefinitely.

Question 10: How Can We Translate Our Quest Into Action? Classmate Angelina Duells’s blog posts describe the how Brian McLaren writes about the different quests of Christianity. Please take a look at her rainbow diagram, which by the way, is awesome J. What I liked most is what she quoted: “When the head, heart and hand come together...then faith, reason and tradition will come together too, and personal and social holiness will be for us two expressions of one great love.” (227)

Angelina made one last blog post about this book, commenting that this book doesn’t really bring a new Christianity. To some extent, I agree: we still use the same tools of Christianity we were given before. However, I would like to add that Brian is redefining a new relationship: something that is in the process and will never finish unless we (as people, religious leaders, and Christian shepherds/pastors/leaders) actually engage in it. Maybe McLaren is not posing something new about Christianity, but something new in relationship to Christianity: redefining our relationship with God, Jesus, the Bible, with Christians and other religions, with ourselves, with our worship, with life. He started the book saying that we are Christians living in a “comfortable captivity” (31). I think its time for all Christians to start engaging in dialogue: not one-sided or gender/racially/socially-biased, but to bring to light what the rest of the world has been feeling for years. The kingdom of God is near: let us all bring a new relationship of Christ into full light. Amen.


jinjanblog said...

I agree with your summation on Question 8. God is there and has been all along. I think what McClaren is doing is reminding us that Chrisitanity is not a spectator's sport, but requires us to enter into relationship with the divine. God does not shove or pull us into relationship, we have to respond to the invitation.

Rev. Jan Chase said...

Thanks for your work summarizing the many views. Lots of food for thought. By the way, my last name is Jan Chase (not Thomas).
Blessings. Jan Chase