“Get away from earth with your godless emergent church, McLaren, perhaps to hell? Could you do it a little bit faster?!! It would help the rightious christians around the world, believing in the blood of Jesus Christ and not in Mystic from east and vatican, the door to hell..”
I’ve always hesitated to describe myself and even bristled a bit when labeled by others as “emergent” or “post-modern”, but I can’t help but admit that I’m a fan of Brian McLaren. He posted this quote from an email he received and his incredibly graceful response to such on his blog here.
McLaren’s response is admirable and right and again illustrates why I think he’s closer to the truth than many today who would claim Christ.
However, I guess I’m just not that good of a Christian. Idiots like this make me question the whole thing. Do I really want to be counted on the same side as this a-hole? Does the simple ongoing act of my own church involvement somehow contribute or validate the stupidity and lunacy of somebody like this? Is it wrong that the possibility of this potential contribution bothers me way more than whether or not my personal theology is “correct”?
In the first book I ever read by McLaren, he said that some people use Jesus as shortcut to being right. (paraphrase) I would add that many simple-minded people think that claiming Jesus somehow makes them smart. Interesting that I don’t recall any stories in the gospels of Jesus healing anybody from being stupid.
Thank God that his grace, mercy and justice are infinitely beyond our very best thoughts or ideas of him.
I think it’s about time to read The Myth of Certainty again. I love the Calvin Becker books, but I think they crank up my cynicism to unhealthy levels…
February 2, 2009 at 5:44 pm
I just watched Harvey with Jimmy Stewart. Toward the end of the movie Stewart says something like, “My mom always told me to be smart or be pleasant. I’ve spent most of my life being smart. And let me tell you, I much prefer being pleasant.” I think that we all could use that advise instead of being people using Jesus to make ourselves right instead of righteous, smart instead of pleasant.
February 7, 2009 at 9:25 am
Let’s not forget that Jesus and the Pharisees shared the same religion, went to the same synagogues and temple, prayed the same prayers, sang the same psalms and read the same Scriptures. Yet the Pharisees were filled with such hatred toward Christ that they wished Him dead and accused him of doing the devil’s work even though he was healing and ministering to people.
Jesus didn’t reject his own faith just because these self righteous, violent men belonged to the same religion as him (though actually they did not, though people would have assumed that they did because of the external similarities), nor did he worry that by sharing the same religion as them he was somehow validating their hateful behavior. And neither should we. The world will see a difference, if we show them one.
We shouldn’t be surprised that Pharisees still exist, and our response to them should be the same as Christ, to simply and humbly continue to do the good works our Father has called us to do without ceasing, even when the Pharisees want us to hurry up and go to hell.
I would only disagree with Brian McLaren in one respect. He says “this person loves God (as he/she understands God)” but I think the apostle John would disagree. He was the one who wrote:
1 John 4:20-21
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
John is pretty blunt on this matter. It is not possible to hate your brother yet love God. You can love: religion, church, tradition, self, law, scripture, but not God. Now, I know the writer of that e-mail would respond that McClaren is not their brother (as if that frees them to hate him and wish him dead), and that, of course, is also what the Pharisees would have said about Christ, despite the fact that they shared the same religion, faith, prayers, Scripture, temple, synagogues, etc., they would have said (and did say), he works his miracles by the power of the devil, he needs to hurry up and die and go to hell.
February 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm
I meant to say “pleasant rather than smart” thus making of sense of my nonsense.