Here I go, hopping on the bandwagon. OK, so maybe it’s more of a Radio Flyer. After reading Adventures in Missing the Point I was prepared to dismiss Brian McLaren’s writings and move on. Both Clint and Graham suggested otherwise and recommended that I give A New Kind of Christian a read. I have acquired a respect for the perspectives of both Clint and Graham. So, off to the library I went only to find that Brian D. McLaren is not well stocked in the library realm — nor in the bookstores for that matter. I eventually found A Generous Orthodoxy at a local bookstore and bought a copy.
I mention these two who have influenced this purchase decision for very much the same reasoning that Mr. McLaren includes chapter 0. Basically, if you eventually wish you hadn’t purchased the book, don’t blame him as he told you to return it before you got started. Well, if I have any regrets, it is not my fault. After all, Clint and Graham talked me into it.
I am about a third of the way through and am finding it very interesting and more than a little… how shall I say… unsettling. This sensation awoke early on and it was midway through Mr. McLaren’s tale of the Jesuses he has known that I had what I don’t expect to be my last epiphany of the book. Brian McLaren and I are traveling the same journey. Actually, that would better be described as a journey on the same roadway. The catch is we are in opposing lanes headed in opposite directions. Mr. McLaren cut his teeth in a conservative, evangelical environment whereas I found myself growing up in a dying church within a liberal, mainline denomination. Where Mr. McLaren traveled through a “mild youthful rebellion” (p. 44), I had little from which to rebel spiritually; at most I may have questioned the lack of anything of substance. In fact, I find myself moving toward a conservative, evangelical community in which I find clarity and a platform for the use and expression of my gifts. While seemingly oxymoronic, this is not dissimilar to the freedom that comes from obedience.
Actually, as I think further on the analogy of opposite directions on the same road, I like it less because at some level I think he and I are headed toward the same destination — a sincere, impacting witness that is lived out daily and strengthened as exercised. Since I don’t recall seeing Mr. McLaren pass me by, I’ll conclude we have neither yet reached our destination although we both are growing closer to it.
I’ll share more as the thoughts epiphanate.