Sunday, May 02, 2010

Brian McLaren Town Hall Forum

"If we, every Sunday, deploy people into the world who are being sent out to love their neighbors as themselves - that's really good news for Muslims, it's really good news for Buddhists, it's great news for atheists.  But if we send out people who are just out for themselves, or out for their religion, out for their political party.... well, we know where that leads.  That's what we have now.  

This for me is a great moment of great opportunity, a great opportunity for a new kind of faith."

~ Brian McLaren speaking at a Westminster Town Hall Forum in Minneapolis.  Listen here.

A topic Brian talked about in this audio, which resonated with me, is the issue of identity.  So often in Christianity, people partaking in other religions is seen as a threat to Christian identity.  They are "other" who must be assimilated or marginalized.  This attitude has caused many people of conscience to leave the Christian faith or radically reduce their own identity.  Brian suggests a third way (similar to Samir Selmanovic in It's Really All About God) in which Christians can be secure in their traditions yet not see others as a threat or target for conversion.

I know the typical response is "But that is our calling - convert people."  I used to believe this too, but over time it became apparent to me that maintaining this viewpoint made it completely impossible to truly love those around me - and loving those around me is my higher calling.  I think sometimes we have to pray like Meister Eckert, "God, save me from God."


didymus said...

First you tell us to scrap the National Day of Prayer. And now you ask us to stop proselytizing our religion and politics! What will remain of our faith if we do that? :)

Andrew said...

Heh! What indeed!

Don said...

Just acquired Brian's new book. I am looking forward to what he has to say.

Kay said...

When is that man going to make his way to Utah? (Rhetorical, but hopeful, question.)

Will (4xlt) said...

Hey Andrew,

Randomly stumbled across your blog today while searching for some Bart Campolo stuff.

I really appreciated what I found quoted from Bart and your own views & struggles about hell & universalism. I find myself in a similar place, and it's nice to find others with similar thought processes trying to work this stuff out.

Andrew said...

Greetings Will and welcome!

It is a great thing about the internet - that ideas and discussions can be generated, where at one time they might have withered on the vine.

When I first picked up McLaren's "Generous Orthodoxy" I remember thinking "whew! Someone else is thinking this too!"

Bob said...

Food for thought here. I have enjoyed reading his writings -- don't necessarily agree with everything but appreciate his ability to communicate and reason. And he and I do have some common ground.

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