Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More McLaren

I've written about Brian McLaren several times and just finished a class at Meadowbrook on the Emerging Culture that dealt with the broader topic of post-modernism and the emerging dynamic of Western Christianity of which McLaren is a well-known face and voice.  My friend, Al Sturgeon, posted this excerpt from McLaren's latest book, The Last Word and the Word After That, on his blog:

"In my way of telling the gospel, what you call the modern Western way, there were always two key questions: (1) If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain that you'd go to be with God in heaven? (2) If Jesus returned today, would you be ready to meet God? Jesus is important because he paid for your sins when he died on the cross, so if you die tonight, or if Jesus returns today, you'll be forgiven and can enter heaven.

"But in this new understanding of the gospel, two very different questions come to mind: (1) If you were to live for another fifty years, what kind of person would you like to become - and how will you become that kind of person? (2) If Jesus doesn't return for ten thousand or ten million years, what kind of world do we want to create? Here Jesus is important because he leads you and forms you to become a better and better person, and the kind of people who truly follow his way will create a good and beautiful world.

"The first set of questions, which used to satisfy me, don't anymore, at least not on their own. I'm realizing that both sets of questions have validity, and the second may be more important. I guess that's obvious to you, but it's just dawning on me.

This is a simple (and obviously simplified) way of seeing the shift from the modern to the post-modern mindset as it is reflected in the mind of an evangelical Christian.  Food for thought.  And I find the second set of questions far more intriguing, by the way!


len scott said...

I love reading McLaren's stuff because he makes me think. I don't go as far as he does in changing how I think, but that is why it's so good for me to read him, he stretches me. And that last set of questions is just as important as the first set. They will be used in a sermon of mine in the near future. How did your class on the emerging church go?

CJR said...

The class went pretty well, I think. We maxed-out the classroom every week with 70+ folks, took a different approach in terms of dynamics - had video excerpts, a guest interview, etc. I've been asked to teach it again and am considering it.