Saturday, January 15, 2005

A Generous Orthodoxy

I've been reading Brian McLaren's last book, A Generous Orthodoxy. Over the next few weeks I'm going to include some notes from the book. So far it's been a pretty good read, though it is very controversial. It seems that McLaren continues to get a little more radical with each book. I haven't finished the book, so I'll leave opinions out until after I've finished.

Bearing in mind the old saying, “Those who win the battles write the history,” it’s easy to see the danger of describing orthodoxy by looking in the rearview mirror. Where there has been diversityh of opinion in the past, the winners label previous divergences as heretical and unorthodox and unchristian, leaving the impression for their descendants that everyone everywhere under the banner of orthodoxy has always agreed with them. In that light orthodoxy might seem to follow those who fight the hardest and perhaps the dirtiest. Not a pleasant thought (29).

When I reached my teenage years, though, I lost that Jesus as one loses a friend in a crushing, noisy, rushing crowd. The crowd included arguments about evolution (which seemed elegant, patient, logical, and actually quite wonderful to me, more wonderful even than a literal six-day creation blitz), arguments about the Vietnam War (which made no sense to me – even if communism was as bad as everyone said, were people better off bombed and napalmed to death?), arguments about ethical issues like civil rights and desegregation and a hundred other things. I wondered if women were really supposed to be submissive to men and if rock ‘n’ roll was really of the devil. Were Catholics really going to burn in hell forever unless they revised their beliefs and practices to be biblical like us (44)?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Authors like McLaren and also Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz) have some invaluable and important ideas on how the church should relate to modern culture. The "emergent" church would do well to listen to these guys for a better understanding on its role in today's culture. However, I do believe that some of their philosphies can also be considered a little dangerous. It seems to me, and I may be totally off base here, that they tend to look at sin as a relative concept sometimes instead of a "black and white" issue.

I think it's important for the church to embrace and use the modern culture to reach the lost. However, we shouldn't compromise our core beliefs on morality and the wages of sin just to come across as "culturally hip." This, I believe, is the danger that some of these authors' philosophies tend to promote. What do you think?