I don’t have a lot of time, but I have a couple of quick thoughts.
First, I went to the Family Christian Books Store the other night. It was a fun trip because I my son was with me and we were looking at books, laughing, and horsing around (but not too much.) Anyhow, in the store I happened to pick up Brian McClaren’s latest diatribe Everything Must Change. I perused the table of contents and skimmed a few pages before deciding I’ll wait till it’s on the bargain table or cut-out shelf. I got to thinking, while reading through some of the stuff: I wonder if the whole ’emergent church’ idea is really just a last gasp of theological liberalism trying to stay relevant in a church where it has been rendered irrelevant? I read this by another reviewer:
I think a lot of people already knew that; some profess to be Christians, some do not. Brian’s book is respectfully inclusive, inviting people who aren’t Christians to come along for the ride. But really it’s a book for Christians because a primary goal of it is to legitimize Brian’s call to action. Of course the way to do that among Christians is to demonstrate that this call to action was issued by Jesus. Or even better, that the good news Jesus announced was: respond to this call to action and you will make your world a better place.
This version of the good news makes a lot more senseto many people than some of the other versions I’m familar (sic) with. I think Brian has done something incredibly helpful for Christians who can’t help caring a lot about global crises. He’s given them permission to believe Jesus cares a lot about global crises too. Which makes everything line up way better in their lives. Now they can pursue what they are passionate about without feeling guilty that maybe Jesus doesn’t want them spending so much time on such things. Also they no longer have to suppress the deeper question: why doesn’t Jesus care about these things as much as I do?
The very fact that McClaren’s work is referred to a ‘version of the good news’ should cause people to be concerned. I’m not saying ‘don’t read the book,’ but rather, ‘what is the real purpose behind the book?’ Here are some questions I might be concerned to ask based solely on the above paragraphs:
1. Is there another version of the Gospel that somehow we have missed? (Galatians 1)
2. Did someone ever say Christians don’t care about ‘global crises’?
3. Did anyone ever say that Jesus doesn’t care about global crises? (“For God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Son…”)
4. Does Jesus care about the world in the sense we think He should care about the world?
5. Do I need to be concerned about, say, the ‘crisis of global warming’ in order to have everything in my life ‘line up’?
6. Was the good news that Jesus announced really, “respond to this call [issued by Brian McClaren] to action and you will make your world a better place”? (“Go into the world and make disciples of all people…”)
7. Did Jesus really issue this call or did Brian McClaren?
8. What really is the content of the Gospel? Is social action the main objective of a life in Christ?
9. If Mr McClaren’s book is ‘respectfully inclusive’ is there, then, anything necessarily Christian about it?
10. Where did Jesus say he is not concerned about the things we are concerned about? (Oh, yeah, “Get thee behind me satan, you don’t have the things of God in mind, but the things of man.”)
Those are some preliminary thoughts based solely on this above review of McClaren’s book. This is a fine example of someone who is, evidently, not a Christian (the author of the above review), and someone who claims to be a Christian (McClaren) not having the slightest clue what Scripture says about Christ, the Gospel, and us. As the author of the review summed up:
When I got to the end I found myself thinking something I’m not sure Brian intended (but perhaps he did): this story can be told without Jesus or even God having a central role. It’s simply a story about how if we can believe we can make a difference, we (very likely) can make our world a better place. Lots of people have found a way to believe it’s worth trying who don’t believe in Jesus. I don’t have a problem with people seeing the call to action Brian describes as Jesus’ call to action. I think Brian gives reasonable evidence of that (assuming the Bible is a reliable record of Jesus life and words). But ultimately I think Jesus doesn’t need to be part of this story. (emphasis hers)
This is probably a problem more for McClaren than anyone since he wants to be taken seriously as a Christian commentator and innovator of faith and herald of this new Gospel. How can it be a gospel if it doesn’t include Jesus as the Main Character of the story?
Second, on a brighter note, I happened by an old link on my favorites and accidentally hit ‘Slice of Laodicea‘ and, imagine this: It’s back! So, I guess this is good news for those who like biting commentary and bad for those who dislike it. But, happiness and congrats to Ingrid who does work hard on the blog.
Third, fear in Olympic China that bastion of human rights:
Chinese officials have announced athletes who compete in the 2008 Beijing Games will be banned from having Bibles in their Olympic village housing, and even visitors are being warned not to bring more than a single Bible with them when they come to China.
It will be interesting to see if they extend the same courtesy to Muslims.
Fourth, some of us might have to leave soon.
Four of the planets had been previously detected, but the existence of the fifth planet took 18 years to confirm. It is about 45 times more massive than Earth and might be similar to Saturn in its composition and appearance.
If it took 18 years to confirm, how long do you think it would take to actually get there, build some houses, set up a water system, install politicians, set up a tax code, develop a doctrine of evolution, divide into liberals and conservatives, and destroy the planet? Not long. We can’t manage to live at peace on one planet, can you imagine if humans inhabited another planet or two? Maybe these geniuses who spent 18 years confirming the existence of this exoplanet should concentrate a little harder on the one we know exists.
Well, I think that will do for now. Have a nice day. I have to get some work done now. Just remember as you go through your day, God’s sovereignty does not depend upon who is in the White House.