A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions
by Brian McLaren text from bookmart book review
Google Brian McClaren’s name, and you don’t have to read many of the 237,000 links that pop up to see that his work inspires, annoys, stimulates and challenges people all over the world. In an age when any Christian who thinks about the circumstances, opportunities and frustrations around our life knows damn well we need realism, a firm grasp of tradition as a springboard for fresh thinking and action, that is what he offers as a resource for mission.
Those whose anxiety or paranoia drive them take desperate refuge in conventionality and institutionalism will thus find him annoying, judging him to be less Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant, whichever they are, than themselves. And, as is ever the case, from their own self-referential points of view they will be entirely correct. The truth is, in fact, he is engaged in the brave enterprise of pioneering how to bemore of all three of those things than those who think tradition is a matter of increasingly shrill conformity to type rather than a living stream.
Brian Claren’s new book, A New Kind of Christianity, Ten Questions that are transforming the Faith, gathers up and recapitulates the great themes he has been exploring for many years. In it, he prefers to talk about “discipleship,” a word he points out occurs 262 times in the Bible, rather than “Christianity,” a term unknown to Scripture, except for 3 instances of the noun “Christian”. For those who use labels as mapping pins instead of flick-knives or shibboleths, his challenge to the Pharisees is radically Protestant, generously Orthodox and profoundly Catholic.
Ten questions? Here goes…
Brian McLaren’s Ten questions (here with answers from Bro. Steve, the Orthodox writer of Khanya). Are your answers different?
1. What is the overarching story line of the Bible?
God made the world good. Evil enters. God becomes man in order to restore the world and renew it.
2. How should the Bible be understood?
We cannot understand the Bible, it stands over us.
3. Is God violent?
4. Who is Jesus and why is he important?
The incarnate Son of God. He is important because he trampled down death by death and gives life to those in the tombs.
5. What is the Gospel?
The good news that Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
6. What do we do about the Church?
We are called to BE the Church.
7. Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it?
It’s even more difficult than finding a way to address economic systems without fighting about it. Socialists and free marketeers see the world differently. Those who think we can control economic forces will probably never see eye to eye with those who think we should be controlled by them and similarly, those who think we can and should control our sexual urges will probably never see eye to eye with those who think we should be controlled by them. Anyone for a shower?
8. Can we find a better way of viewing the future?
Better than what?
There’s a blog title that gives me “stuck tune syndrome” (STS) whenever I see it. And the words to the tune are these:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know, I know he holds the future
Now life is worth the living just because he lives.
I can’t think of a better way of viewin g the future than that.
9. How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?
With love and respect, since they are created in the image and likeness of God.
10. How can we translate our quest into action?
In whatever way God shows us.
With the caveat that if we believe God is showing us the way, we should check it out with our spiritual father/mother, because of the danger of prelest (spiritual delusion). It’s too easy to become just another spiritual loose cannon.