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October 1, 2010
The problem here is that at the root of the global crises that Brian McLaren mentioned is sin. Secular, relativist society has no interest in virtue, hope or justice. If nature is just a materialistic accident then what is the point of preserving it? If humans have no intrinsic value then why treat others with respect if there is some benefit to gain by oppressing them? If there is no transcendent higher good then why not simply repay evil with evil? Without an internal, constant motivation to serve and love, at best people must be persuaded (or threatened) to do good by offering money, power, pleasure, and appeal to selfish desires in some way. Politics, wealth, religions, social gospels, and McLaren's superficial solutions have no answer for the problem of sin. Christ alone has the answer for sin. By refusing to address sin McLaren's answers are no different than whitewashing tombs to make them look beautiful on the outside while on the inside they are full of dead men's bones.
Possibly one has to be deeply tired and frustrated by today's church to relate to this book. Tired and frustrated by the messages of the world to consume more without concern for this fragile globe that gives us life. Tired and frustrated that we care more for our clothes and our car than our neighbor. But for someone as tired and frustrated as I am, who has spent years and years in bible study and come away amazed that so many miss Jesus' core message, this book was amazingly validating.
Not quite as Progressive as I had hoped for, but very well done. His message of Christian churches being more involved with their own "temple" than the people all around them who need help every day is a key to why we are only barely surviveing. We must change, and do it soon,or we will collapse into the pit of our own choosing.
Whether in the life of a single believer or in the life of a community of believers, Christianity is the successful balance between orthodoxy (right doctrine) and orthopraxis (right practice). It is not one or the other as both Liberals and Conservatives would have us believe. It is a "both/and" situation.And it must be so... for our doctrine (that is, what we believe) informs our practice. That does not make doctrine greater than practice. Doctrine without practice is dead. And practice without doctrine is a show for self (not for God).In "Everything Must Change" we have a leading proponent for the "emergent" church telling us that what we do (practice) is more important than what we believe. In other words, what we do (orthopraxis) informs what we believe (orthodoxy). It is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.What we do is important! But not at the expense of what we believe!His understanding of church history is skewed as he seems to believe that the Reformation happened in a vacuum and that today's orthodoxy was a reaction to the Reformation. He doesn't seem to understand that doctrines such as the Virgin Birth, the Divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, a holy life lived as a response to God's free gift (along with a host of ecclesiological doctrine) existed long before the Reformation.Holding up the "emergent" church as an option in opposition to orthodoxy does absolutely nothing to promote harmony in the Body of Christ.I am reading this book for a peer book study. Actually I can't wait to begin the study hoping that as I interact with others, my view will be tempered or maybe even "corrected".