A New Kind of Conversation

It looks like Brian will be participating in a new group blog in the Fall. I've posted a link here.


Generous Orthodoxy dialogue

There is a new website called Generous Orthodoxy and its related ThinkTank Blog.

ThinkTank is a collaborative blog for professors and doctoral students. The stated purpose of ThinkTank is “to share information and resources at the cutting edge of academic research.”

These new emergent online works were initiated by Steve Bush of Harbinger Blog, along with Myles Werntz (of Baylor University) and Keith Johnson (of Princeton Theological Seminary).

The purpose of the site and the weblog will be to promote a progressive or postconservative evangelical identity. Steve says that many, many people identify as evangelicals but do not identify with the theological and/or political conservatism that dominates media representations of U.S. evangelicalism.

[hat tip: SmartChristian.com]


The Last Word (Not Likely!)

Just an FYI... Over at Waving or Drowning? I'm going to blog my way through Brian's new book, the afore-mentioned The Last Word and the Word after That. (There's no Chapter 0 this time 'round, but with the intro that'll be 30 posts. It'll be worth checking out just to see if I see it through!)

Rather than do a "review" I'm taking a point or issue from each chapter and relating to it personally. As always, I'd appreciate feedback and conversation via comments (or email). I've set up a Last Word list on my sidebar for easy tracking.


Brian McLaren, S.D.

Jordon posts a bit from an article wherein Brian McLaren defends his words about being called to Christ apart from Christianity. That notion has been discussed a bit here, so I thought it was relevant...


The Last Word and the Word After That

Brian McLaren's latest book, The Last Word and the Word After That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity, is now widely available. This book is the conclusion to A New Kind of Christian trilogy. Read an excerpt chapter online.

Some of us already received an amazon.com pre-order copy during the past week, and someone even got the unreleased manuscript copy on eBay for $280 (proceeds went to charity, part of a fundraising effort to fight hunger in Burundi). Ken Archer of theologicalthinking.com, our fellow conversationalist here, gets a mention in the acknowledgements.


public dialogue about the book

I've heard from a reliable source that there was a public dialogue on A Generous Orthodoxy at Regent College a few weeks ago [mentioned by Mike Todd here], featuring three theologians (including Stan Grenz, who died a few days later...). The dialogue is now available via their bookstore. It's not all positive by any means.

The CD's name is: Generous Orthodoxy - a Discussion, product number: RGCD3438C. It's not yet listed in their online bookstore, but it can be ordered by calling Toll-Free (US & Canada) 1-800-334-3279. $12.00 (CDN) for the double CD set.


get to the good stuff

Even though I was very excited to get the book on amazon.com pre-order and started up this team blog, I did not complete reading the book until this past weekend. For those of you already familiar with the emerging church conversation, jump to Chapter 17 and read the last 4 chapters. (Sorry, Jen, I miscounted, it's not the last 3, it's the last 4 chapters!) The first 16 (or 17, if you count chapter 0) chapters are nice; good pep rally for the diversity of Christianity. But the new stuff and mind-wrangling doesn't happen until ch. 17!

Salient sound bite from page 249: 'I originally titled this chapter "Why I Am Buddhist/ Muslim/ Hindu/ Jewish," seeking to echo-- provocatively-- Crawford's words about being linked to all people.' The book went to print with 'Why I Am Incarnational.' I started the chapter expecting his lessons learned from Eastern Orthodox, and turns out, Brian's saying something way different!

I won't write too much more of a spoiler here, but if you're like me, and trudging through the book, skip ahead, get to the end, and we'll pick up the conversation about it soon!


quotes from A Generous Orthodoxy

I sent off my copy of G.O. to a friend but I snatched some quotes from it before I did. So I will post a bunch of them in the days to come. My favorite one first. When I want to note something in a book I am reading, I draw a line beside it in the margin. This one got three lines, and it was just in there as a footnote:

Having read this sentence, you may perhaps better understand why I believe a person can affiliate with Jesus in the kingdom-of-God dimension without affiliating with him in the religious kingdom of Christianity. In other words, I believe that Christianity is not the kingdom of God. The ultimate reality is the kingdom of God, and Christianity at its best is here to proclaim and lead people into that kingdom, calling them out of smaller rings, smaller kingdoms. Christianity at its worst, using the definition in this paragraph, can become a sin when it holds people within its ring and won't let them enter the kingdom of God. Jesus diagnosed the religious leaders of his day as doing this very thing.

And another related one:

In the previous chapter, I suggested that Jesus didn't come to start another religion, which would include the Christian religion. I wasn't kidding. I do, in fact, believe that. That the Christian religion formed as it has is not surprising. It was no doubt necessary and in many ways good, and I know God is in it, and I am in it, too. But "the Christian religion" is neither the ultimate goal of Jesus nor the ultimate goal of God, in my view. Rather, the goal of Jesus is the kingdom of God, which is the dream of God, the wish and hope and desire of God for creation-like a parent's hopes and dreams for a beloved child.

And if your are wanting to reference this and wondering the page numbers, sorry. I scanned the quotes in by taking digital photos of the pages, which only caught a fdew of the page numbers, and so you're just gonna have to take my word on it... it's all in there.

And in the book McLaren points to this article by Joshua Masssey, His Ways Are Not Our Ways. Good read. Kind of a postmodern missiology. Go find out what a Muslim follower of Jesus is.