A new kind of Christianity
I haven’t read Brian McLaren’s book A new kind of Christianity, but I have read a couple of favourable reviews of it, from people I know (at least to the extent that I’ve read their blogs, and they’ve sometimes read mine), so I’ll look out for a copy and hope to read it.
Anglican bishop Alan Wilson says on his blog Bishop Alan’s Blog: Discipleship starts with 10 Questions
You may find his answers disturbing, but I challenge any who care about following Jesus today not to profit from asking these questions. However you answer them, they supply an agenda for anyone wanting to follow Jesus honestly and authentically. Read this Book.
And he posts the ten questions, so I thought I would try to answer them before I read the book, and see if my answers change after I read it. And just so I can’t cheat, I’ll post my provisional answers here. They aren’t carefully worked out, they are just the things that occurred to me after reading the questions. I suggest that others who haven’t read the book might like to try a similar exercise, whether they intend to read the book or not.
Brian McLaren’s Ten questions
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.
Anyway, those are my answers, for now. What are yours?
I will also add that I find the questions a little disappointing. I’m not sure that those are the questions we really ought to be asking — well some of them, at least. I can think of other questions that are more important. One of the things I have found interesting about the “emerging church” people is that they often seem seem to be asking the right questions, even if I don’t always agree with the answers. But I’m not sure that these are the right questions. But perhaps I should put that on hold until I’ve read the book.
The reviews are here Bishop Alan’s Blog: Discipleship starts with 10 Questions and here: ANKoXy: An appreciation: Sound and Silence.
And here’s another from someone I don’t know at all: Treehouse Monastic.
I suggested to those who used to participate in Synchroblogs that they engage in a similar exercise — try to answer Brian McLaren’s ten questions before reading his book, and then see if their answers change after reading it. So here’s the list of those who have done so — more to be added as they come in:
- The Evening of Kent: Ten questions that might transform something.
- The AnteChurch: Synchroblog: A new kind of Christian?
- Beth Patterson : Lenten reflection 5: I’m probably way off base
- A New Kind of Christianity: My Answers to Ten Questions: Ryan Peter Blogs and stuff
- Dusting Myself Off and McClaren’s 10 Questions
- Phil Wyman’s Square No More: Answering McLaren’s Ten Questions Before Reading the Book (a SynchroBlog)