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A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, anabaptist/anglican, incarnational, depressed-yet-hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian

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Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed- yet hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian. A confession and manifesto from a senior leader in the emerging church movement. A Generous Orthodoxy Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed- yet hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian. A confession and manifesto from a senior leader in the emerging church movement. A Generous Orthodoxycalls for a radical, Christ-centered orthodoxy of faith and practice in a missional, generous spirit. Brian McLaren argues for a post-liberal, post-conservative, post-protestant convergence, which will stimulate lively interest and global conversation among thoughtful Christians from all traditions. In a sweeping exploration of belief, author Brian McLaren takes us across the landscape of faith, envisioning an orthodoxy that aims for Jesus, is driven by love, and is defined by missional intent. A Generous Orthodoxy rediscovers the mysterious and compelling ways that Jesus can be embraced across the entire Christian horizon. Rather than establishing what is and is not “orthodox,” McLaren walks through the many traditions of faith, bringing to the center a way of life that draws us closer to Christ and to each other. Whether you find yourself inside, outside, or somewhere on the fringe of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy draws you toward a way of living that looks beyond the “us/them” paradigm to the blessed and ancient paradox of “we.” Also available on abridged audio CD, read by the author.


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Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed- yet hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian. A confession and manifesto from a senior leader in the emerging church movement. A Generous Orthodoxy Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed- yet hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian. A confession and manifesto from a senior leader in the emerging church movement. A Generous Orthodoxycalls for a radical, Christ-centered orthodoxy of faith and practice in a missional, generous spirit. Brian McLaren argues for a post-liberal, post-conservative, post-protestant convergence, which will stimulate lively interest and global conversation among thoughtful Christians from all traditions. In a sweeping exploration of belief, author Brian McLaren takes us across the landscape of faith, envisioning an orthodoxy that aims for Jesus, is driven by love, and is defined by missional intent. A Generous Orthodoxy rediscovers the mysterious and compelling ways that Jesus can be embraced across the entire Christian horizon. Rather than establishing what is and is not “orthodox,” McLaren walks through the many traditions of faith, bringing to the center a way of life that draws us closer to Christ and to each other. Whether you find yourself inside, outside, or somewhere on the fringe of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy draws you toward a way of living that looks beyond the “us/them” paradigm to the blessed and ancient paradox of “we.” Also available on abridged audio CD, read by the author.

30 review for A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, anabaptist/anglican, incarnational, depressed-yet-hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian

  1. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Sweatman

    If A Generous Orthodoxy is any indication, Brian McLaren seems to be a very nice man. And this is a very nice book. There are plenty of very nice things to say about it. McLaren’s eagerness to embrace complexity is admirable and needed. His self-effacing posture goes some way toward countering the polemical rhetoric of left-right politics. And his critique of a certain kind of Christian fundamentalism is apt, if already a little dated looking back on it from 2014. As for his prose - well, it does If A Generous Orthodoxy is any indication, Brian McLaren seems to be a very nice man. And this is a very nice book. There are plenty of very nice things to say about it. McLaren’s eagerness to embrace complexity is admirable and needed. His self-effacing posture goes some way toward countering the polemical rhetoric of left-right politics. And his critique of a certain kind of Christian fundamentalism is apt, if already a little dated looking back on it from 2014. As for his prose - well, it does its best not to remind you that the person who wrote it used to be an English instructor. Forgive me if that sounds a little ungenerous. This is in many ways a difficult work to critique, given its espousal of imperfection and indeterminacy as virtues. How can there be anything inherently problematic about McLaren’s ideas if the whole point is that they’re still in the process of emerging? And really, that’s okay. That part of it at least. As the book rightly understands, certainty—from the time Emerson diagnosed it as foolish consistency to the more modern guises McLaren names (absolutism, totalitarianism, fundamentalism, etc.)—has been a recurring hobgoblin of human thought. A dose of uncertainty keeps us honest, keeps us working. Examining a multiplicity of religious beliefs and practices is McLaren’s way of introducing that healthy dose of uncertainty into his own belief and practice. Where the book loses me, though, is in its unwillingness to really grapple with the messy, difficult, potentially irreconcilable, and probably not very nice implications of trying to fit all these systems and attitudes together. By leaning away from these problems, McLaren ends up neutering exactly what he means to affirm. He insists (against charges that his generous orthodoxy represents a kind of relativism) that responsibility is central to human interaction, but is loath to concede that actual rules, guidelines, or prohibitions be part of it. He urges respect for and engagement with practitioners of other religions, but glosses over what it really means to respect others’ beliefs when the ultimate goal is to make them followers of Jesus. He relates the story of a Christian friend who taught her daughter that Muslim women wear veils to show that they love God, but fails to show how that example is practically different from the one-size-fits-all brand of tolerance promoted by COEXIST bumper stickers and the like, where no one says anything bad about anyone else for fear of either causing offense or inviting criticism on themselves. As hard as McLaren doth protest, his approach to religion doesn’t fall far from a rather conventional, milquetoast, let’s-all-just-get-along form of liberalism. Sure, he takes a winding route through postmodernism, skepticism, and multiculturalism, breaking down and holding together a number of different traditions and ideologies, including conservative ones. But Dorothy spent most of that movie working her way through Oz and still ended up in Kansas. I understand that McLaren’s conservative evangelical background has probably attuned him to the flaws of that particular system. That’s a good thing. I only wish he would apply that same critical focus to the hypocrisies and dysfunctions that also exist within the systems he praises, if he means to be at all as rigorous as he claims.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    I found A Generous Orthodoxy thought-provoking. McLaren uses honesty and wit to portray hard things with gentleness. I especially enjoyed the following points: The Seven Jesuses I Have Known - McLaren discusses in detail the different ways Jesus has been manifested in his life. In particular, I identified with the Conservative Protestant Jesus (since I grew up in a Southern Baptist church…); it was the first time I realized that the Jesus of my church life is not necessarily the Jesus of the rest I found A Generous Orthodoxy thought-provoking. McLaren uses honesty and wit to portray hard things with gentleness. I especially enjoyed the following points: The Seven Jesuses I Have Known - McLaren discusses in detail the different ways Jesus has been manifested in his life. In particular, I identified with the Conservative Protestant Jesus (since I grew up in a Southern Baptist church…); it was the first time I realized that the Jesus of my church life is not necessarily the Jesus of the rest of my life, and that the Jesus of the Bible is someone else entirely. I cannot decide if it is good or bad that they cannot be reconciled in my mind. The Incarnational Mindset - McLaren says that it is part of our responsibility to Christ to know about the religious beliefs of the people around us, whether or not they are Christians. He encourages active participation in and discussion of friends’ and neighbors’ spiritual lives. In order to show the compassion of Christ, McLaren thinks, one must engage with them starting from where they are rather than hoping they will come to us. This is a good book, especially for those who have struggled with leaving Christianity - or have left it already - because of shortcomings within the Church. You might not be convinced to stay (or come back), but you will definitely have a lot to think about.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karen Mcintyre

    In 1989 I did storytelling at an regional event in PA. The keynote presenter was a Serminary professor Leonard Sweet. What he said resonated deeply with me...an over-simplification was that we no longer live in an either/or world. We live in an AND world. He spoke about paradox and the nature of truth in ways I had not been exposed to and I understood for the first time, why I was uncomfortable with the very conservative Christians who believed that they heard the voice of Jesus in everything in In 1989 I did storytelling at an regional event in PA. The keynote presenter was a Serminary professor Leonard Sweet. What he said resonated deeply with me...an over-simplification was that we no longer live in an either/or world. We live in an AND world. He spoke about paradox and the nature of truth in ways I had not been exposed to and I understood for the first time, why I was uncomfortable with the very conservative Christians who believed that they heard the voice of Jesus in everything in their lives (even the selection of drapes for their living rooms) and the agnostics who could not believe in anything. Since that time I have continued to stand in the middle and watch the church rend itself - hemorrhaging members who fled to giant mega churches. Well now along comes Brian McLaren -- the founder of one such church for whom I have a great deal of respect. His book is one very deeply thought out declaration of faith based on this important notion that we--none of us---hold a corner on the truth. It is a compelling piece of writing that brings to understandable terms some of the critical issues of modern Christianity.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    Ahhh!! This book says basically everything I have been thinking consciously for the past year and have been feeling, without being able to put it into words, for who-knows-how-long. Also, great writing (English major perks). Edit (28 July 2017): My previous review, from last week, was my immediate reaction to this book. After reading "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church" by D.A. Carson, I have chosen to reduce the rating of this book to 4 stars. I still have great appreciation for what M Ahhh!! This book says basically everything I have been thinking consciously for the past year and have been feeling, without being able to put it into words, for who-knows-how-long. Also, great writing (English major perks). Edit (28 July 2017): My previous review, from last week, was my immediate reaction to this book. After reading "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church" by D.A. Carson, I have chosen to reduce the rating of this book to 4 stars. I still have great appreciation for what McLaren does in "A Generous Orthodoxy," and I am on board with many of his conclusions. However, Carson makes several good criticisms of McLaren and the emerging church, which I have to take into account. Please see my review on Carson's book for more explanation.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pete

    The highly scrutinized, non-self-proclaimed manual for the Emerging Church movement. Pros: I enjoy the thoughtful, stream of conscious, rabbit trail writing that I think McLaren feels at home with. The authors humility and personal pursuit of Christ is evident. I think that the label of "relativistic-pluralist" by some critics is harsh. He is not denouncing the fundamentals of the Gospel, instead is affirming them and encouraging that we constantly grow and mature in our understanding and applic The highly scrutinized, non-self-proclaimed manual for the Emerging Church movement. Pros: I enjoy the thoughtful, stream of conscious, rabbit trail writing that I think McLaren feels at home with. The authors humility and personal pursuit of Christ is evident. I think that the label of "relativistic-pluralist" by some critics is harsh. He is not denouncing the fundamentals of the Gospel, instead is affirming them and encouraging that we constantly grow and mature in our understanding and application of the absolutes of Scripture. He embraces the attitude that must be at the heart of everyone that considers themselves a true seeker; the assumption that as a finite person my understandings and applications of an infinite God are and never will be complete or completely accurate. Furthermore I must be willing to except that I am wrong and be willing to transform those interpretations and applications. Great footnotes in the book with additional resources. A good read for anyone interested in getting "out of the box" and having fresh thoughts about how to be a part of God's redemption of the world. Cons: The stream of conscious rabbit trail writing would probably drive some people crazy. The often harsh response to the book by some established evangelical leaders of our day should be both encouraging and should be headed for the wisdom that God has given those leaders. I think less mature readers could read between the lines and form many non-Biblical attitudes and applications from the writing. (Something that would be reflective of their immaturity and not the authors intentions.) Final Words: A laid back mature read that makes you want to go for a hike or share a cup of coffee with the author. I will definitely be referencing this book in my life and work in the future. Enjoy with caution!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emi

    Like traveling around the world, moving through different denominations can nurture in you a sense of appreciation for diversity, unique beauty of each, and awareness of an increasingly larger/whole picture despite the equally increasing tension among the particulars. Such is what McLauren helps us to see through his personal journey of faith, in a very humble, compassionate, and respectful tone that is permeated by the love of God. Much of what he says resonates deeply with my experience and al Like traveling around the world, moving through different denominations can nurture in you a sense of appreciation for diversity, unique beauty of each, and awareness of an increasingly larger/whole picture despite the equally increasing tension among the particulars. Such is what McLauren helps us to see through his personal journey of faith, in a very humble, compassionate, and respectful tone that is permeated by the love of God. Much of what he says resonates deeply with my experience and aligns with the direction I feel I'm headed. While perhaps controversial for Christians with strong opinions or leanings, it might appeal to those with more questions and uncertainty than answers. It is not about universalism or relativism as criticized by some, but rather his ideas might be described as ecumenical, trinitarian, and postmodern -- in other words, full of dialectical tension of mystery that may be harder to digest for a modern/Western mind. In that sense, while his vision of Christianity is the general direction where I personally find the most hope for 21st century churches, I do suspect it will be a very slow and bumpy ride in practice ... particularly because it is not where a multitude might quickly and collectively journey by a kind of "reaction," rooted in our dichotomous mindset, or by established systems in which we are deeply entrapped. A book I might reread again but recommend sparingly, with caution. :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I enjoy reading books that I disagree with on topics I care about, because I believe that truth can withstand a challenge. I also think it equips me to consider ideas and talk about them with greater care. On that basis, I found this book enjoyable a few years ago when I read it. What I did not particularly enjoy were McLaren's meticulous and manipulative attempts to be disarming. He's obviously a friendly and intelligent guy who knows the Evangelical landscape like the back of his hand, and he u I enjoy reading books that I disagree with on topics I care about, because I believe that truth can withstand a challenge. I also think it equips me to consider ideas and talk about them with greater care. On that basis, I found this book enjoyable a few years ago when I read it. What I did not particularly enjoy were McLaren's meticulous and manipulative attempts to be disarming. He's obviously a friendly and intelligent guy who knows the Evangelical landscape like the back of his hand, and he uses his assets to great effect. Like most Emergent authors of several years ago, McLaren liked to walk up to the very boundary of traditional orthodoxy, slide a toe across the line, draw it quickly and apologetically back again, and then act like it happened accidentally. "We're just having a conversation, and we have no idea where it is going." Really? You wrote this whole book and you have no idea where your thinking is going? Because I can see plainly where it is going, and I'm pretty sure it's not good. Suffice it to say that McLaren has since laid his cards on the table in a more open fashion, and - surprise! - it's mostly generosity and very little orthodoxy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephan

    this book should not be skimmed, or used to perpetuate further flimsy arguments against the author, but rather digested.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Robertson

    I wrote about this book 13 years ago....I think my critique of it then has been proved by how things have developed since then. McLaren's vision of the church has ended up being a nightmare that is neither generous or orthodox...You can read the whole review here - https://theweeflea.com/2020/11/18/the... I wrote about this book 13 years ago....I think my critique of it then has been proved by how things have developed since then. McLaren's vision of the church has ended up being a nightmare that is neither generous or orthodox...You can read the whole review here - https://theweeflea.com/2020/11/18/the...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Josiah Faville

    This book encourages one to move beyond "right thinking" to something else, something more generous... more dangerous per the critics (a "radically indeterminate anything-goes gospel that means anything and thus is worth nothing"), but per McLaren, more in line with the narrative story of the Gospel. Is there a "right" way to love God 2000 years after Jesus any more than there is a "right" way to love your spouse? "The biblical witness to Jesus Christ as the unique Savior and hope of the world d This book encourages one to move beyond "right thinking" to something else, something more generous... more dangerous per the critics (a "radically indeterminate anything-goes gospel that means anything and thus is worth nothing"), but per McLaren, more in line with the narrative story of the Gospel. Is there a "right" way to love God 2000 years after Jesus any more than there is a "right" way to love your spouse? "The biblical witness to Jesus Christ as the unique Savior and hope of the world does not demand a restrictive posture concerning salvation for those who have never heard the gospel or those in other religious traditions." McLaren articulates my belief in Christ and salvation so well: "exclusive in the sense of affirming the unique truth of the revelation in Jesus Christ, but not in the sense of denying the possibility of salvation to those outside the Christian faith; inclusive in the sense of refusing to limit the saving grace of God to Christians, but not in the sense of viewing other religions as salvific." A good read. Perhaps even a dangerous read? My favorite kind...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Roberto

    Even I'm currently reading this book, I really don't know the author's intention. I appreciate his honesty in pointing out that our faith is far from perfect as exemplified by all the different denominations and Christian group names. I also appreciate that we need to find better ways of seeking to get closer to God. What I'm not completely satisfied is the overall impact that the book has to offer. When he states what he is not satisfied it loses the impact that he would have had if he mostly s Even I'm currently reading this book, I really don't know the author's intention. I appreciate his honesty in pointing out that our faith is far from perfect as exemplified by all the different denominations and Christian group names. I also appreciate that we need to find better ways of seeking to get closer to God. What I'm not completely satisfied is the overall impact that the book has to offer. When he states what he is not satisfied it loses the impact that he would have had if he mostly shared what he is passionate about.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    I thought this was an interesting read. He writes in a clear and concise manner and adds humor to the book that a lot of theology writers don't have. He makes a good case for why we can be all of those things....why we don't have to choose to alienate one another with our titles and labels.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex Stroshine

    Given that McLaren cleaves to a more liberal outlook than myself, I was surprised at how much I agreed with this book. McLaren paints a compelling picture of "generous orthodoxy," graciously affirming the good in the array of Christian traditions he considers throughout the book; in this way, he offers a gentle corrective to sectarian believers who pontificate that only their OWN denomination has gotten Christianity correct. I would like to think that I too can celebrate the denominational disti Given that McLaren cleaves to a more liberal outlook than myself, I was surprised at how much I agreed with this book. McLaren paints a compelling picture of "generous orthodoxy," graciously affirming the good in the array of Christian traditions he considers throughout the book; in this way, he offers a gentle corrective to sectarian believers who pontificate that only their OWN denomination has gotten Christianity correct. I would like to think that I too can celebrate the denominational distinctives that the various Christian traditions offer, from Roman Catholicisim’s rich sacramental life and charismatic Christianity’s emphasis on the Holy Spirit’s continuing work in the world to the evangelistic urgency found in many conservative denominations, the Mennonite eagerness to meet the practical needs of the poor, and the elevation of the practice of foot-washing by Seventh Day Adventists (a practice that Jesus tells his disciples to do but which curiously has never been considered a sacrament, even by sacramental traditions; see John 13:14). McLaren writes clearly and playfully (I have never encountered an author at such great pains to ensure you know how self-aware they are) and I can entirely understand why the book was a liberating, life-changing treatise for its early, 21st-century audience. McLaren’s focus on praxis offers contemporary Christians a way to thoughtfully worship and partner together since the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Mennonite, and Pentecostal share a greater, common affinity in Christ than the doctrines that separate them from full communion (conservative Christians know this; the late Charles Colson captured it in his delightful phrase “ecumenism of the trenches”). I could see myself recommending this book to a burnt-out believer whose faith has been marked by an unnecessarily fundamentalist form of Christianity. But the last third of the book raises some serious problems for me, particularly when McLaren addresses non-Christian religions. He writes, “It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts” (p. 260). Further along in the penultimate chapter “Why I Am Emergent,” McLaren asserts that “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” (p. 282). I would indeed concur that there are Buddhists and Muslims who are (whether they realize it or not) living out the values of the kingdom of God, but I detect in McLaren a nonchalance about their salvation and ultimate destiny because he sees God as more open-armed that I do. I’d consider myself a soft inclusivist (a la Karl Rahner and Clark Pinnock) but McLaren doesn’t seem to offer a firmer sense of clarity in his own thought about people’s ultimate destiny (at least in this book). McLaren dismisses much of classical Christian orthodoxy while at the same time ending the book with a zealous alter call to embrace an ever-expanding, ever-exploring, ever-rediscovering, ever-reformulating, postmodern-influenced faith with porous boundaries. This book was a manifesto to the "emergent" church movement, a movement that was seemingly ephemeral (if you visit http://www.emergentvillage.com/, the former online hub of the emergent church, you will no longer be able to find ways to decolonize your Western, imperialistic theology but you WILL find ways to readjust the layout of your home on a budget, though one could argue that, like charismatic Christianity in the 1960s and 1970s, many of the visions and values of the emergent church gradually seeped into mainstream evangelicalism and caused emergent Christianity to lose its distinctiveness). However, many of the movers and the shakers of the emergent church have either (seemingly) stepped away from it (Mark Driscoll, Scot McKnight) or they have kept wandering further and further down the road of theological liberalism into something increasingly undefined and obscurantist yet more loving and inclusive than whatever they left behind (Rob Bell and Brian McLaren himself). Indeed, "generous" has become a term many theological liberals have adopted with the stated purpose of trying to be inclusive of all while really pushing an agenda that ultimately diverges with classical Christianity (see also "Generous Spaciousness"); McLaren pays lip service to how contemporary Christianity has been built up over the centuries by past saints to whom we are indebted to, yet he now has no qualms when it comes to rejecting key tenets of classical Christianity.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Esots

    Brian McLaren presents an exploration of Christian identity with an orthodoxy that is Christ-centred and inclusive for the twenty first century. In the process he outlines the history of traditional religious beliefs and theology and examines the wide divergence of traditions within Christianity. The rich Christian theological heritage is embraced with a vision to bring people closer together as Christians. Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist and public theologian of the Emergent ch Brian McLaren presents an exploration of Christian identity with an orthodoxy that is Christ-centred and inclusive for the twenty first century. In the process he outlines the history of traditional religious beliefs and theology and examines the wide divergence of traditions within Christianity. The rich Christian theological heritage is embraced with a vision to bring people closer together as Christians. Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist and public theologian of the Emergent church movement in the United States. He has been voted by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential theologians in the 21st Century. The Emerging church came out of mainstream Evangelical churches and is described as having a variety of perspectives and positions. This book was published in 2004, McLaren is noted as a prolific author and has academic interests in medieval drama, romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr Walter Percy. In the context of an American writer, McLaren notes he was; ‘surrounded by Christians who very much like the idea of an American God and a very middle-class Republican Jesus.’ Following a period of growth the Evangelical movement in the United States was experiencing a decline in the1990s, as the millennial generation saw the mainline churches as ‘”judgemental,” “too political,” “homophobic,” and hypocritical.”’ The Emergent church grew out of this discontent as a theological rethinking of Christianity. In ‘A Generous Orthodoxy’ McLaren calls for a radical, Christ-centred orthodoxy of faith and practice in a missional, emergent theology, further defined as; (A) generous orthodoxy is an emerging orthodoxy, never complete. McLaren argues for a post-liberal, post-conservative, post-protestant convergence to stimulate discussion and conversation among Christians from all traditions. Indeed, McLaren promotes inclusivity by devoting a substantial portion of the book in appreciation of various Christian denominations. McLaren walks through the many traditions of the faith, however in claiming what is and what is not orthodox he risks alienating many of these faith traditions. His stated aim is to bring people close to Jesus with an ecumenical focus, and to break down barriers that separate the various traditions within Christianity. His aim is to draw the reader ‘toward a way of living that looks beyond the “us/them” paradigm to the blessed and ancient paradox of “we.”’ McLaren presents a reframing of Christianity which challenges the theological constructs of established religions. McLaren is writing for Christians and non-Christians, about a new form of Christianity, as an author he is seeking to engage a wide audience and make the text accessible, hence he uses a conversational memoir style, with self-deprecating content to engage the reader. Its target audience are spiritual seekers who may not even know they are seeking. In short, he is a theologian for the modern age of the twenty first century that has a declining amount of biblical literacy. He seeks to humanise theology, hence his very long book title of Christian definition. McLaren references a lot about the church experience he sees as outdated theology, however he is less forthcoming with a defined alternative, rather he continues to emphasise encouraging dialogue and conversations. The terminology of a Generous Orthodoxy was originated by the theologian Hans Frei, a key figure in post-liberal theology. McLaren’s generous orthodoxy emphasises being a spiritual seeker on an ongoing journey, again the theology is one of inclusivity where there is no expert font of all wisdom to be consulted; To be a Christian in a generously orthodox way is not to claim to have truth captured, stuffed and mounted on the wall. Thus, it contains a very open standpoint which Mayhue describes as; ‘like a patchwork quilt.' McLaren uses a postmodern paradigm to outline his proposal of not only a generous orthodoxy but a revolutionary one, focusing on a loving community, guided by Jesus. McLaren sees the revolution of orthodoxy as reforming; ‘For the orthodox there can always be a revolution; for a revolution is restoration.’ This is an inclusive and ecumenical theology that embraces diversity and learning from each other, encouraging dialogue and conversations about faith. McLaren has presented a generous orthodoxy of a ‘loving community of people who are seeking truth on the road of mission and who have been launched on the quest by Jesus, who, with us, guides us still.’ In making a claim for inclusivity McLaren does not shy away from criticism, he writes scathingly ‘Jesus did not come to create another exclusive religion.’ Once McLaren establishes the framework of traditional Christian theologies, he presents his own vision of Christian identity, even titling a chapter ‘Would Jesus be a Christian?’ presenting a strong challenge to Conservative Christian theology that he is less than generous towards. McLaren even dares to deride forms of academic processes of interpretation such as systematic theology which he dismisses as; ‘conceptual cathedrals of proposition and argument.’ McLaren presents an accessible and strong argument for a Christian identity that is Christ-centred, ecumenical, and focused on openness and diversity. His Generous Orthodoxy is not an authoritarian doctrine or system but a theology of spiritual seeking, as McLaren fittingly writes that we; ‘acknowledge that Christians of each tradition bring their distinctive and wonderful gifts to the table, so we can all enjoy the feast of generous orthodoxy.’

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan Gobble

    I've started back through this book again because of how deeply it impacted me the first time. What a breath of fresh air in a world long suffering from stilted, dogmatic, mind-numbing brow-beating, nick-picking theological debate and divisive arguments dividing races and tribes over minutiae and sending bodies flinging into a seemingly endless storm of bloody war after bloody war. All supposedly in the name of Jesus. God forgive us. McLaren holds up most of the major traditions of the Christian I've started back through this book again because of how deeply it impacted me the first time. What a breath of fresh air in a world long suffering from stilted, dogmatic, mind-numbing brow-beating, nick-picking theological debate and divisive arguments dividing races and tribes over minutiae and sending bodies flinging into a seemingly endless storm of bloody war after bloody war. All supposedly in the name of Jesus. God forgive us. McLaren holds up most of the major traditions of the Christian faith in an inquisitive way, and sifts through the wheat and chaff, as he sees things at this point in his journey, all in an effort to find that to which he can cling. Here's a great snippet from the book to which I offer a hearty AMEN: "Some people I know once found a snapping turtle crossing a road in New Jersey. Snapping turtles are normally ugly: gray, often sporting a slimy coating of green algae, trailing a long, serrated, gator-like tail and fronted by massive and sharp jaws that can damage if not sever a careless finger or two. This turtle was even uglier than most: it was grossly deformed due to a plastic bottle top, a ring about an inch-and-a-half in diameter that it had accidently acquired as a hatchling when it, too, was about an inch-and-a-half in diameter. The ring had fit around its midsection like a belt back then, but now nearly a foot long, weighing about nine pounds, the animal was corseted by the ring so that it looked like a figure eight. My friends realized that if they left the turtle in its current state, it would die. The deformity was survivable at nine pounds, but a full-grown snapper can weigh 30. At that size the constriction would not be survivable. So, they snipped the ring. And nothing happened. Nothing. Except for one thing: at that moment the turtle had a future. It was rescued. It was saved. It would take years for the animal to grow into more normal proportions, maybe decades. Perhaps even in old age it would still be somewhat guitar-shaped. But it would survive. A ring of selfishness, greed, lust, injustice, fear, prejudice, arrogance, apathy, chauvinism, and ignorance has similarly deformed our species. When I say that Jesus is Savior, I believe he snipped the ring by judging, forgiving, teaching, suffering, dying, rising, and more. And he's still working to restore us, to lead us, to heal us. Jesus is still in the process of saving us. Because I have confidence in Jesus as Savior, I'm seeking to be part of his ongoing saving work, sharing his saving love for our world. . . . I used to believe that Jesus' primary focus was on saving me as an individual and on saving other 'me's' as individuals. For that reason I often spoke of Jesus as my 'personal Savior,' and I urged others to believe in Jesus in the same way. I still believe that Jesus is vitally interested in saving me and you by individually judging us, by forgiving us of our wrongs, and teaching us to live in a better way. But I fear that for too many Christians, 'personal salvation' has become another personal consumer product (like personal computers, a personal journal, personal time, etc.), and Christianity has become its marketing program. If so, salvation is 'all about me,' and . . . I think we need another song. . . . when I thought of Jesus only as my personal Savior, I was primarily focused on Jesus saving me from hell after I died. That's what I needed a personal Savior for. Growing numbers of people share . . . my own . . . discomfort with this self- and hell-centered approach to salvation for a number of reasons: 1. Can't seeking my personal salvation as the ultimate end become the ultimate consumerism or narcissism? In a self-centered and hell-centered salvation, doesn't Jesus - like every company and political party - appeal to me on the basis of self-interest so that I can have it all eternally and can do so cheaply, conveniently, easily, and quickly? Doesn't this sound a bit shabby? 2. Doesn't being preoccupied with our own individual salvation put us in danger of being like selfish people on the Titantic who were scrambling for the life rafts, more concerned about themselves than others? Doesn't it make us less concerned about the possibility of saving the whole ship? Doesn't it reinforce exactly the kind of 'sanctified self-centeredness' that the real Jesus would have condemned? 3. Doesn't the very importance of my personal salvation pose a kind of temptation - to want heaven more than I want good; to want to escape from hell more than I want true reconciliation to God or my neighbors? An overweight man was concerned about his weight, so he had a stomach bypass surgery, after which he continued to eat unhealthy foods. In the end he died sooner from a heart attack than he would have died from obesity. Couldn't this approach to salvation tempt us to be like this man? By wanting thinness more than he wanted health, he ended up with neither - this is the danger of wanting personal salvation above all. 4. And doesn't the preoccupation with hell tempt us to devalue other things that matter? In other words, isn't hell such a grave 'bottom line' that it devalues all other values? It so emphasizes the importance of life after death that it can unintentionally trivialize life before death. No wonder many people feel that 'accepting Jesus as a personal Savior' could make them a worse person - more self-centered and less concerned about justice on earth because of a preoccupation with forgiveness in heaven. Again, although I believe in Jesus as my personal savior, I am not a Christian for that reason. I am a Christian because I believe that Jesus is Savior of the whole world." (quoted from A Generous Orthodoxy, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2004, pp. 106-9) Regarding the goodness of creation, McLaren offers this insight: "For much of Western Christianity, the doctrine of creation (a biblical term) has been eaten alive by the doctrine of the fall (not a biblical term). In other words, creation's downfall resulting from human sin has eclipsed its original glow as God's handiwork, radiant with God's glory. Make no mistake: Human sin is awful and reprehensible beyond words, and the whole earthly creation suffers because of it. But if, due to an exaggerated doctrine of the fall, God's creation loses its sacredness as God's beloved artwork, we have magnified human sin beyond sane bounds - and in fact added to its sad effects. As a result, in many circles, about the only time the word creation comes up these days is before versus evolution. The God-affirmed goodness of creation, the beauty of creation, its priceless preciousness and meaning as God's own handiwork - these values are seldom heard. Instead more discouraging words are heard - about the ruin of creation via an 'ontological fall,' a concept that conveniently seems to degrade God's inherently valuable handiwork into man's bargain resources for profitable exploitation. It's far easier to put a price tag on a fallen creation than on a still-sacred one. Many of us have grown uneasy with this understanding of 'the fall' (and with it an exaggerated understanding of the doctrine of 'original sin'). We are suspicious that it has become a kind of Western neo-Platonic invasive species that ravages the harmonious balance inherent in the enduring Jewish concept of creation as God's world. So we are looking to the Eastern Orthodox tradition and to emerging narrative theologies where creation is still seen as sacred, 'good,' 'very good,' and, in fact, ongoing." (pp 264-5) And, on the radical inclusiveness of Jesus, McLaren offers a quote from a friend and some of his own thoughts: "My friend Neil Livingstone once told me that Jesus didn't want to create an in-group which would banish others to an out-group; Jesus wanted to create a come-on-in group, one that sought and welcomed everyone. Such a group came not to conquer, not to badger, not to vanquish, not to eradicate other groups, but to save them, redeem them, bless them, respect them, love them, befriend them, and embrace them. Or, put another way, Jesus threatened people with inclusion; if they were to be excluded, it would be because they refused to accept their acceptance. If people rejected his acceptance, he did not retaliate against them, but submitted himself to humiliation, mistreatment, even crucifixion by them. Missiologist David Bocsh said it like this: ' . . . it is when we are weak that we are strong. So, the word that perhaps best characterizes the Christian church in its encounter with other faiths is vulnerability . . . The people who are to be won and saved should, as it were, always have the possibility of crucifying the witness of the gospel." (p. 279)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    I find it quite funny that I am reading this book. I first learned about McLaren from some very outspoken and unloving neo-reformer types. They assured me in no uncertain terms that people like McLaren were the cancer that was eating away at the corpse of modern Christianity, and yet all that I have experienced since then would testify to the reversal of this indictment. . McLaren does not seek to deceive, and reminds the reader numerous times that he is “under-qualified” and has not got the shin I find it quite funny that I am reading this book. I first learned about McLaren from some very outspoken and unloving neo-reformer types. They assured me in no uncertain terms that people like McLaren were the cancer that was eating away at the corpse of modern Christianity, and yet all that I have experienced since then would testify to the reversal of this indictment. . McLaren does not seek to deceive, and reminds the reader numerous times that he is “under-qualified” and has not got the shiny credentials in theology which others flaunt. The grand irony herein being that the more that I study in theology, and the more credentialed that I become, the more that people like McLaren tend to make sense. Their positions seeming more mature and in line with what appears to be at the heart of the faith tradition. . McLaren writes in a whimsical and cheeky manner which makes for an enjoyable read, (a prime example being the unfinished ending found in the chapter “Why I Am Unfinished”). He has mapped out his chapters to show a generous spread of viewpoints, and suggests holding a dynamic tension of “both/and” rather than “either/or” when it comes to many of the theological persuasions. In doing this he does not appear to cross any mainline dogmatic boundaries (although he facetiously flirts with doctrinal borders - which is the main aim of the book.) . His writing style actually reminded me a lot of Stephen King in his memoir/grammar textbook, “On Writing.” This connection added to the enjoyment as I am a big King fan. It’s also interesting to note that both authors are English literature majors. . Ultimately I enjoyed McLaren’s work and can’t help but notice that the generous orthodoxy being described in this book seems to be quite similar in function (and potentially in confession?) to what I would say that I experience at my church already. Hopefully this review can be a cautionary tale to those who have strong thoughts without ever reading the object of those thoughts.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    A good friend shared this book with me. After the first chapter, I wasn't sure I could wade through the depths with the author. To be fair, he noted this was the hardest part and urged me to go on. I am so glad I did. The book left me with a new perspective, sense of optimism, and a very open mind about what it can mean to be a Christian. It's a nice thought that individuals don't need to fit in one small box: by denomination, political affiliation, and the like. Most fortunate, we don't have to A good friend shared this book with me. After the first chapter, I wasn't sure I could wade through the depths with the author. To be fair, he noted this was the hardest part and urged me to go on. I am so glad I did. The book left me with a new perspective, sense of optimism, and a very open mind about what it can mean to be a Christian. It's a nice thought that individuals don't need to fit in one small box: by denomination, political affiliation, and the like. Most fortunate, we don't have to be done growing. We can be unfinished, and that is where we will glorify our creator (whoever you believe that to be). As a result, I am identifying as a less judgey, more thoughtful, more introspective, growing, learning, seeking, hopeful, and grateful Christian who embraces my newly opened mind and open heart.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    There are some books I wish I could download into the brains of every person I know. This is one of them. Thoughtful, generous, liberating.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    This book came to me at the perfect time. Refreshing, insightful, and yes, generous.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rena Sherwood

    Although considered a crucial book in the development of the emergent church, Brian McLaren’s book is filled with convoluted sentences, lack of organization and perhaps the world’s worst subtitle. For a time, my brother and I did not get along. We were both raised Born-Again Protestant Christians. He still is and is part of the emergent church movement. I’m an atheist. In 2005, my brother send Mom a book that he thought was one of the most important books in the history of Christianity – Brian Mc Although considered a crucial book in the development of the emergent church, Brian McLaren’s book is filled with convoluted sentences, lack of organization and perhaps the world’s worst subtitle. For a time, my brother and I did not get along. We were both raised Born-Again Protestant Christians. He still is and is part of the emergent church movement. I’m an atheist. In 2005, my brother send Mom a book that he thought was one of the most important books in the history of Christianity – Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy (Zondervan; 2004.) I read it in 2005 and tried reading it again this year but during the second reading gave up at page 200. “But You’re an Atheist.” I claim that this book sucks not because I have problems with McLaren’s flavor of Christianity or with his belief in God. The problem is that I haven’t the slightest idea what he believes or doesn’t believe in. This book is poorly organized, poorly written and has perhaps the world’s worst subtitle. The entire book title is this: A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a missional + evangelical + post/protestant+ liberal/conservative + mystical/poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/Calvinist + Anabaptist/Anglican + Methodist + Catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished Christian The book jacket and introduction praises McLaren for being a new G. K. Chesterton. But even though Chesterton was a pompous bore on the page, he could clearly make a point. I’m not even sure McLaren knows what a “point” is. Huh? Since I was raised Christian and spent grades 4 to 12 at a Christian school, I’m a tad bit familiar with Christian jargon. But even a life-long Christian will have trouble keeping up with all of the “-isms” presented in this book, let alone someone brand spanking new to the faith. A glossary would have really helped. McLaren spends the entire first chapter explaining about how bad of a writer he is and how unqualified he is on writing a book about modern Christian orthodoxy. He certainly doesn’t disappoint in these points. McLaren claims to have been an English teacher. I really cringe at thinking how his students must write. Usually a sentence contains one concept. Not McLaren’s. By the end of the sentence, he’s talking about a subject different than the beginning of the sentence. Perhaps he was trying to be hip or trendy, but a writer should not sniff at comprehension, especially in the subject of Christian apologetics. In Conclusion If you want to know what the emergent church movement is all about, avoid A Generous Orthodoxy. It confuses more than it enlightens to the point where reading it becomes borderline excruciating.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Freeman

    This book is an apologetic for exercising a "Generous" "Right Thinking" (orthodoxy). Brian McLaren basically considers every category of Christian view that claims exclusive truth. From denominations, movements and even doctrines Brian will try to persuade you to blur all the lines for the box you fit truth in. However, he never confronts the fact that he feels he has the answer on truth that lead him to blur the lines on truth. I do not recommend this book because it has no true substance. At ti This book is an apologetic for exercising a "Generous" "Right Thinking" (orthodoxy). Brian McLaren basically considers every category of Christian view that claims exclusive truth. From denominations, movements and even doctrines Brian will try to persuade you to blur all the lines for the box you fit truth in. However, he never confronts the fact that he feels he has the answer on truth that lead him to blur the lines on truth. I do not recommend this book because it has no true substance. At times, I felt that Brian addressed some legitimate concerns. This is probably why we see an "emerging" movement that champions these strengths but distances itself from the Emergent movement's unwillingness to consider any revelation from God as absolute truth. Brian was probably one of the first post-modern theists to purposefully be "raw" and "in your face". One of his most often quoted statements on page 87 is "often I don't think Jesus would be caught dead as a Christian where he physically here today." Another statement designed to illustrate his belief that salvation is to reveal evil to us so we can live better lives: "To recap: we live in danger of oppression and deception, so Jesus comes with saving judgment. When God shines the light of justice and truth through Jesus, the outcome is surprising: the religious and political leaders often turn out to be scoundrels, and the prostitutes and homeless turn out to have more faith and goodness than anyone expected." IN a statement like this Brian uses extreme options to indicate "guilt by association". Religious & Political leaders (who give us absolute truth) are all corrupt and simple people try to scratch out a better life no matter what morals or ethics they break are actually good! Brian has hole heartedly embraced deconstructionism in his writings. He says things like "Why I am evangelical." But then deconstructs the meaning to what he wants it to mean. So being evangelical is not Evangelical. Communication has broken down. This book deals with legitimate concerns but provides NO substance in answers. Not recommended.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Clark

    There has to be some sort of term for why a self-deprecating man who then makes statements redefining what terms should mean so that he can now embrace them in his generous orthodoxy is an illogical argument. One might pick up the book and say, "Wow, he claims to be some sort of Charismatic, or some sort of Calvinist." But no, he lays out what they believe in a sentence, or even in a few paragraphs explains what the worst that those groups can sometimes believe, throws that out, and then gives t There has to be some sort of term for why a self-deprecating man who then makes statements redefining what terms should mean so that he can now embrace them in his generous orthodoxy is an illogical argument. One might pick up the book and say, "Wow, he claims to be some sort of Charismatic, or some sort of Calvinist." But no, he lays out what they believe in a sentence, or even in a few paragraphs explains what the worst that those groups can sometimes believe, throws that out, and then gives the terms new meanings to fit into what he truly believes a follower of Jesus should be - i.e. some sort of mashed up missional, narrative theologian, who is redefining salvation as some sort of holistic cleansing for one and all including the whole earth, oh and he might not believe in hell or heaven - but he will never give a definitive statement on that. Just a twinkle of the eye, and *poof* he is gone up the chimney. I had a Catholic friend even pick this book up and read the chapter about Catholics/catholics, and he was like, "This guy isn't even engaging in anything Catholics believe, he is dismissing us entirely. He's not Catholic or even catholic!" Mmmm, yes, my friend, I believe that you are correct.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chauncey Lattimer

    This book was my introduction to the writing of Brian McLaren and, I must admit, it was not what I expected. Though I do not agree with all that McLaren postulates, I found the book to be very provocative and thought-engendering. If McLaren can be put into any box it would have to be one that opposes almost any 'us/them' distinctions. McLaren fulfills his statement regarding he purpose of the book - i.e., that he is writing "to try to help us realign our religion and our lives at least a little This book was my introduction to the writing of Brian McLaren and, I must admit, it was not what I expected. Though I do not agree with all that McLaren postulates, I found the book to be very provocative and thought-engendering. If McLaren can be put into any box it would have to be one that opposes almost any 'us/them' distinctions. McLaren fulfills his statement regarding he purpose of the book - i.e., that he is writing "to try to help us realign our religion and our lives at least a little bit more with that someone." I appreciated his candor regarding his own spiritual journey. There is a huge value in realizing just how much we have been influenced by the current worldview and how much previous writers were likewise influenced. His positioning of himself as post- appears to be an honest attempt to deal with finding a place where the proposed polarities or dichotomies of theologians fail to match the experiences of life. I will read more of McLaren because of the growth and reflection brought on by my reading of this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    The title of this book should be "the dangerous heterodoxy." Mclaren's thesis is clear enough - and somewhat commendable - that we should try to find common ground with those with whom we will be sharing all eternity worshipping at the feet of Jesus. However, Mclaren throws almost every standard of orthodoxy in seeking this end. In each chapter, Mclaren pulls out one element of the tradition under discussion - one element with which he can identify in some way. But what he does next is puzzling The title of this book should be "the dangerous heterodoxy." Mclaren's thesis is clear enough - and somewhat commendable - that we should try to find common ground with those with whom we will be sharing all eternity worshipping at the feet of Jesus. However, Mclaren throws almost every standard of orthodoxy in seeking this end. In each chapter, Mclaren pulls out one element of the tradition under discussion - one element with which he can identify in some way. But what he does next is puzzling and dishonest. He regularly re-defines the element under discussion, so that it no longer resembles what it means in its original context - he then identifies himself with what he has re-defined. By the end of the book, Mclaren has only succeeded in identifying himself with a religion of his own definition - one that is surprisingly little like either the traditions he cites or (worse yet) the faith laid out in the Scriptures.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    His orthodoxy is so generous that it's not even close to orthodox. If you're dying for a manual on how to be completely wishy-washy this would be the one. I don't believe you could pin him down on anything he believes. You could ask him what his birthday is and he would say something like: "We're all still growing, learning and changing. Different people may have very different truths that they've gleaned from diverse experiences. Some may believe that my birthday is sometime in June, while yet His orthodoxy is so generous that it's not even close to orthodox. If you're dying for a manual on how to be completely wishy-washy this would be the one. I don't believe you could pin him down on anything he believes. You could ask him what his birthday is and he would say something like: "We're all still growing, learning and changing. Different people may have very different truths that they've gleaned from diverse experiences. Some may believe that my birthday is sometime in June, while yet others could have a completely different view point and suggest that my birthday is in the spring. Still others may hold the truth that my birthday is everyday of the year. What matters is that we all come together and have a conversation to grow and learn and respect each other's opinions while God reveals small pieces of truth to us all." I suggest Brian should run for office, because the guy has mad waffling skills!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian Eshleman

    I want to give fair warning that I read an abridged version in case the full version would have cleared this up. This book may be uneasy, which is a good thing in the sense that it made me examine the assumptions in which my life and faith are based. The author's gentle and persistent urging to approach our convictions with humility, most especially in matters we hold as Truth, is something the Holy Spirit has been impressing upon me also. Still, I tend to hold the uneasiness that one of his frie I want to give fair warning that I read an abridged version in case the full version would have cleared this up. This book may be uneasy, which is a good thing in the sense that it made me examine the assumptions in which my life and faith are based. The author's gentle and persistent urging to approach our convictions with humility, most especially in matters we hold as Truth, is something the Holy Spirit has been impressing upon me also. Still, I tend to hold the uneasiness that one of his friends warned him of in the book that the author is undermining the Bible's authority in the name of being supposedly open-minded. He comes very close to saying that he looks for other ways to interpret Bible passages where God comes across in a way that is uncomfortable to him, and this, according to Knowing God, is idolatry – fashioning the God we want in our own image instead of humble ourselves before the timeless One we have.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    The only thing generous about A Generous Orthodoxy are the assumptions the author makes in his own favor. Then, with feigned sincerity that comes off as condescending, McLaren establishes that all denominations of truth-seeking are wrong, but that the truth can be arrived, or at least approached, by taking the appealing parts of each denomination, and assuming that those are the parts worth believing in. At some moments Generous Orthodoxy is an ecumenical circle-jerk, and at other times tries to The only thing generous about A Generous Orthodoxy are the assumptions the author makes in his own favor. Then, with feigned sincerity that comes off as condescending, McLaren establishes that all denominations of truth-seeking are wrong, but that the truth can be arrived, or at least approached, by taking the appealing parts of each denomination, and assuming that those are the parts worth believing in. At some moments Generous Orthodoxy is an ecumenical circle-jerk, and at other times tries to separate itself from other formations of belief by asserting that its way is a better way of experiencing truth than the other ways described combined. Having never established why any of it is true in the first place, it all appears as equal glimpses into the untrue, the parts that were useful require no assumption of faith or belief in an intervening deity.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amos Smith

    I found McLaren witty and whimsical. I like his unique style, with lots of long sentences and parentheses. He bends the language like his own mind bends more than most. He has a supple and fluid use of the English language. His numerous declarative "I statements" may seem exhaustive and bordering on ridiculous to some readers. Yet, he playfully presses the point that the game has changed. We live in a postmodern world that looks very different than anything that's transpired before, a world wher I found McLaren witty and whimsical. I like his unique style, with lots of long sentences and parentheses. He bends the language like his own mind bends more than most. He has a supple and fluid use of the English language. His numerous declarative "I statements" may seem exhaustive and bordering on ridiculous to some readers. Yet, he playfully presses the point that the game has changed. We live in a postmodern world that looks very different than anything that's transpired before, a world where people are mixing, matching, and hybridizing all over the place. I much prefer McLaren's approach of doing this within one vast tradition: Christianity, rather than the approach of my new age sisters and brothers who mix and match across religions... Too many sounds make the ears dull. :) -Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity's Mystic Roots)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This is the book where someone has finally put into words all the questions so many people with a large dollop of 'evangelical' in their background, and a brain that does not stop thinking, have had to keep buried. It is desperately sad that the author has had to face such a backlash for his courage. The author knew it would be like that; readers might understand why, or they might be so furious at the 'heresy' that they join the protests. I recognised so much of what is described, have experien This is the book where someone has finally put into words all the questions so many people with a large dollop of 'evangelical' in their background, and a brain that does not stop thinking, have had to keep buried. It is desperately sad that the author has had to face such a backlash for his courage. The author knew it would be like that; readers might understand why, or they might be so furious at the 'heresy' that they join the protests. I recognised so much of what is described, have experienced so much of the resultant confusion, that at times it was the book I wanted to write. My journey has continued along similar 'alternatives' to the ones proposed here which was ultimately very confusing. For the 'post evangelical' who still longs to follow Jesus this is a must read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joey

    "I've never heard of a church or denomination that asked people to affirm a doctrinal statement like this: The purpose of Scripture is to equip God's people for good works. Shouldn't a simple statement like this be far more important than statements with words foreign to the Bible's vocabulary about itself (inerrant, authoritative, literal, revelatory, objective, propositional, etc.)?" "As a generously orthodox Christian, I consider myself not above Buddhists and Muslims and others, but below the "I've never heard of a church or denomination that asked people to affirm a doctrinal statement like this: The purpose of Scripture is to equip God's people for good works. Shouldn't a simple statement like this be far more important than statements with words foreign to the Bible's vocabulary about itself (inerrant, authoritative, literal, revelatory, objective, propositional, etc.)?" "As a generously orthodox Christian, I consider myself not above Buddhists and Muslims and others, but below them as servants. Better, I consider myself with them as a neighbor and brother."

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