A Generous Orthodoxy: When "THEY" are no longer scary...

Just re-reading McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist... before I loan it to a friend.  It's been years since I've cracked its cover.

I'm struck, again, by the - yes - generosity McLaren achieves here.
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho (Emergentys)
I wasn't a liberal the last time I read this book.  One of the things I realize, re-reading it, is how fair-minded he leads the reader to be about divergent strains of Christianity.  That fair-mindedness takes the sting of fear, reactionism, and division out of the reader's assessment of various Christian manifestations.

I think McLaren is really being honest when he has said he's not a "liberal," and not interested in making people liberals or anything else on the conservative-liberal spectrum.  He's high-minded, and it's admirable. I used to want to be that non-committal.  In some ways I still am, but in terms of liberal/conservative, there's too much skin in the game.  A lot of that skin belongs to my closest friends.

What's clear to me now, however, is that when fear of "the other" - fear of "them" - is taken out of the equation, it becomes a lot easier to gravitate toward the direction of one's own conscience.

Luther said:
My conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound. 
Of course, I need to be careful here because Luther's treatment of the Word of God is specifically Scripture.  I can affirm the same words, but I see the cosmic person of Jesus Christ as "the Word of God."

Still, "acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound."

I guess that means my conscience is a liberal one.  How did that happen?  Where does conscience come from?  I was raised in a very conservative household.  I can't imagine that I was born this way.  I used to be attracted to conservatism.  That wasn't choice. But feeling liberal wasn't a deliberate "choice" either, even if the decisions I make about faith now are.

Well, however my hearted managed to swing left, I'm grateful to folks like Brian McLaren for making it less scary.

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