About three weeks ago I finally decided to sit down and read cover-to-cover Brian McLaren's book, A Generous Orthodoxy
(Zondervan, 2004). I bought the book shortly after its release in September of 2004 and, while I had often skimmed, scanned, or read whole chapters of the book, until now I had not taken the time to read it straight through. What I discovered is that A Generous Orthodoxy
is a dense and provocative little book to say the least and there is much more to it than I have the time or space to discuss in a single post. In the midst of even a single chapter McLaren would surprise, delight, irritate, anger, and challenge me. I know of no other author who can produce such the array of emotions in a reader like myself in only the span of a few short pages. And if I were to inform him of this, likely McLaren would just smile and tell me he was glad to know that his book was performing up to its intended effect. McLaren is truely a complex guy and his books do not betray this fact. For this reason, I have decided to react to the book chapter by chapter or even page by page over the course of several weeks in hopes that we might together glean from McLaren his best and most challenging statements, all the while filtering it through an Evangelical and Biblical Theology, as one might tea or coffee through a strainer. In this way we may be able to produce a beverage that we as Evangelicals will find refreshing and stimulating, one that awakens us to act on behalf of Christ and helps us sustain our calling to be ambassadors of Christ to a world of depravity and darkness.
I will be critical of McLaren. There is no doubt about that. Even fans of the author know that there are glaring problems in his book and with his worldview. McLaren, himself, discusses many of these criticisms early on in A Generous Orthodoxy
. In the end, however, maybe McLaren's words can be contextualized into contemporary Evangelical Christianity and there produce "a rich harvest of good deeds." Next week, I will begin with his introduction and hopefully discuss this seemingly oxymoronic phrase he has chosen as the title of his book. And while this discussion might take a while, I hope to eventually move on to his latest book, The Secret Message of Jesus
. So readers, with all that said, I present to you "Mondays With McLaren."Blogging, Books, Christianity, Emerging Church, Evangelicalism, McLaren, Ministry, News