So I add one word to this post and it *($%s up the formatting on the whole thing.
Hi everybody,Greetings in the new year! Beth and I are back from our whirlwind tour of northern California and Michigan. Too much traveling, but it was great to see our families and friends.
I’ve had an aversion to the “What did you get for Christmas?” question for a really long time, but I can say that one of the great things I received this year was a copy of Brian Mclaren’s Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope .
This book took me all of 8 days to chew through. I think that’s a record.
Here’s the skinny:
1) The world (including Christianity) is locked into a (framing) system that’s killing itself.
2) We need to re-think how Jesus’ life and message addresses everything we know about the world, its major problems, and how we figure into them. It all needs to change.
Get it. Read it. Give it to someone else.
Here’s a thought on why:
I’ve been a fan of reading theology for quite a while now and have been recently excited by writers like Rob Bell and Shane Claiborne. I’m a verified nerd when it comes to listening to sermon podcasts and theology lectures – not to mention my uber-enthusiasm for the postmodern philosophy/theology conversation I was recently introduced to through Emergent Village and the writing of John D. Caputo (a review of After the Death of God is on its way). So in reading Everything Must Change, it was clear to see how Mclaren is putting a more popular face to a theology of deconstruction (via Caputo or Gianni Vattimo). This is theology based on a philosophy (deconstruction – via Derrida) that recognizes our human limits in language systems – that says we should always question the definitive language that has been accepted as “truth” in the past and recognize the fallible nature of our own interpretations. This puts the Christian in an automatically humble and meek position where one is constantly praying for God’s grace and mercy in our lives as we participate in Jesus’ redemption of all things. It keeps us reliant on God and less able to be over-confidant jerks about our religion. It may even keep us from going to war in the name God (or oil) again.
I guess everything would have to change for that to happen.
Some other people have reviewed this also – and are better spoken than I am.
Nicholas Fielder rightly says, “This book is more than a book about religion. It is a call to make things right in the world, but it convicts the religious. If we think that what Jesus had to say was important, than we must see his words in light of changing social machines, we must understand that he wanted a kingdom of justice to rule on the earth, and me must understand that we are peaceful warriors in charge of bringing a kingdom of peace, but also a kingdom of justice. Africa, AIDS, Darfur, Child Prostitution, Hunger, Intolerance, Racism, Social Justice. . . these are problems that should be front in center in every Christian institution. Are they?”
Well, they’re starting to be.
If I was skeptical about Mclaren and the emerging movement before, I can only say that the emerging conversation is one of the most interesting and exciting conversations I’ve come across in a long time – not in part because it’s a conversation of healing and redemption.
Sure, sure, I said that about Rob Bell – well, he’s avoiding labels, and rightly so, but they’re definitely talking to each other, and me. My question is, how does this work in my context? I don’t know, but so far it’s looking pretty sweet. My Jesus year is kickin ass (mine).