A Generous Orthodoxy
A while ago I wrote a review of Dr. Carson's book Becoming Conversant with the Emergent Church. In that book, Dr. Carson interacts with this work by Mr. McLaren. In my review I talked about things which, honestly, I was not aware. The first book I read on Emergent was Dr. Carson's book. These last couple weeks I finally read both Velvet Elvis & AGenerous Orthodoxy. I have to say, the Emergent conversation is not too far from my own. There are definitely statements which are said, that would be further than I would want to go (at least right now), but there is an awful lot of good going on.
It seems to me that Mr. McLaren wishes to take the good from various traditions - Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Mainline, Evangelical, etc. - both in practice & theology & interact with it all. For instance, he takes the "Seven Jesus' He Has Known" - from Pentecostal to Fundamentalist to Catholic - & describes the meaning of salvation from each tradition's vantage point. The Eastern Orthodox church sees incarnation as vitally important - that "Jesus' entry into humanity & history brings God's healing to the human race & all of creation" Each tradition holds a different aspect of Jesus as central. What Mr. McLaren would like to see is a celebration of all these aspects.
He writes, "What if we enjoy them all, the way we enjoy foods from differing cultures?...No I am not recommending we throw each offering in a blender, press the 'liquefy' button, & try to create a gray porridge off all cuisines. That doesn't sound appetizing at all. Neither would it be helpful. Rather I'm recommending that we acknowledge that Christians of each tradition bring their distinctive & wonderful gifts to the table, so we can all enjoy the feast of generous orthodoxy - & spread that same feast for the whole world."
This is a challenging book, which will stretch your understanding of how to be a Christian. Love it or hate it, I think it is a book which needs to be read. Whatever "camp" you find yourself in, there is always something we can learn from those in other camps - or even other faiths.
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