Posts Tagged 'religion'

Brian McLaren: Religious Pluralism in the 21st Century, or: How do Christians relate to those of other faiths?

Can the question of how people of different faiths relate to each other take forms other than Us vs. Them hostility or “Whatever, man” relativism? Is it possible to have Christian specificity without exclusivity? What about John 14:6 – you know, where Jesus says “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life – no one comes to the Father except through me”?

Spencer Burke and Brian McLaren discuss all of this (and its coverage in Brian’s A New Kind of Christianity) in the video below. Get the episode notes and see the entire ten-part interview as it unfolds here.

Also relevant to this conversation:

A Reading of John 14:6 (PDF essay) by Brian

A New Kind of Bible Reading (a free bonus chapter of A New Kind of Christianity)

See also Samir Salmanovic‘s book It’s Really All About God and his work with Faith House Manhattan

If you identify as a Christian, what do YOU think about your privileges and responsibilities in relating to those of neighboring faiths, and sharing your own? If you practice some other faith (or none at all), how do you feel that Christians on the whole have treated you? Do any defy the stereotypes?

Brian & Spencer’s Excellent Adventure

I started reading Brian McLaren about eight years ago. I was drawn in by his probing, unconventional, and sometimes-controversial questions about Christian faith and practice – his, ours, everyone’s. Reading Brian morphed into friendship with Brian, and today I’d say he’s one of the top half-dozen living people who’ve had the greatest impact on my faith and life. I wasn’t alone in finding his work compelling: Many people worldwide were asking similar questions; the conversations and action that followed have created conversations and (arguably) movements. From The Church On The Other Side and his New Kind of Christian novel trilogy, to A Generous Orthodoxy and Everything Must Change, Brian has been on a journey to re-envision what it means to faithfully follow Jesus in the 21st century. For many of us in emerging, missional, and ‘progressive’ faith circles, Brian needs no introduction – and in some ways, that’s a problem, isn’t it? Presumed familiarity can sometimes breed narrative contempt, especially in our world of high-profile authors who basically rewrite the same book over and over again. But I can honestly say that, in light of Brian’s back-catalog, this book breaks some new ground and is written with fresh candor and synthesis. That’s why I’m so happy with this ten-minute video of Brian and Spencer Burke, driving around Santa Monica and discussing where they’re at with faith and life these days.  I hear a wiser, more no-nonsense McLaren who’s grown more comfortable in his own skin, more comfortable as a voice and statesman for a new generation of Christianity coming of age in the 21st century. What hear ye?

Brian isn’t finished questing and questioning. Whether you love his work or it makes you nervous, whether you’ve read his every book or have lost track with him these past few years, his latest offering is his most important and striking to date: A New Kind of Christianity. In it, Brian asks ten questions that attempt to integrate our inner lives with our outward actions, to align our beliefs with how we live in increasingly interconnected global community. Questions like

  • The Narrative Question: What Is the Overarching Storyline of the Bible?
  • The Authority Question: How Should the Bible Be Understood?
  • The God Question: Is God Violent?
  • The Jesus Question: Who is Jesus and Why is He Important?
  • The Gospel Question: What Is the Gospel?
  • The Church Question: What Do We Do About the Church?
  • The Sex Question: Can We Find a Way to Address Sexuality Without Fighting About It?
  • The Future Question: Can We Find a Better Way of View the Future?
  • The Pluralism Question: How Should Followers of Jesus Relate to People of Other Religions?
  • The What Do We Do Now Question: How Can We Translate Our Quest into Action?

We at TheOOZE are teaming up with Brian to bring these questions into your churches, coffee shops, pubs and living rooms. In addition to the Think:FWD episode here (go here for show notes BTW), we’re going to be launching an entire Brian McLaren channel devoted to exploring these questions starting in February. Stay tuned!

Want more links?

The Future of This Blog

https://i1.wp.com/i59.photobucket.com/albums/g316/Goonsquad4/question-mark-1.jpgSo I haven’t been blogging much lately. It’s almost cliche, longtime bloggers lamenting their lack of time, or greater reliance on Facebook/Twitter/Friendfeed, or life malaise or life busyness – and then saying that they’re hanging their blog up.

All of this describes me –  and yet I’m not hanging it up. I like to write, and I need to write – so I’m going to step it up. I’m going to taking blogging even more seriously, even if it’s becoming unfashionable. I’m realizing that it’s important to me, as a creative outlet and a life-discipline. But I am going to change up my game somewhat, and open up to blogging metamorphosis. Here’s what you can expect:

More about my personal life.

I’ve always gravitated toward blogs that are more journalistic and commentary-driven in nature, as opposed to the ‘Dear Diary’ types. And I’ve blogged thusly – I haven’t really thought of my personal life as being that interesting. If I’m hooked by someone writing about their personal lives, it’s usually because they have a really catchy style – they’re not Jacques Cousteau or anything. And neither am I. That said, I received an email from a friend of mine a couple of months back. It wasn’t ‘nice.’ Essentially he said “I know what you think about religion and politics, but what about you? What’s going on in your life? Do you have a spiritual pulse?”

Ouch.

I have things to share; I want to be more transparent with you, dear readers. All is not well in Morrell-land. While I’ll not blog about things that involve others to protect the innocent, I am going to open up more about my own life journey, my struggles and glimpses of grace. True confessions time!

My whole-health journey.

Yes, this includes my continuing ROM experience, but it’s so much more. I feel like I’ve been especially slacking in blogging in this area, mostly because I’ve been completely neglecting the fuller context of my whole life. To know why I’m seeking health, you must know the ‘sickness.’ So I’ll be blogging in more detail about ROM processes and results, as well as centering prayer, DoxaSoma, and (yes, even) mental health. Should be fun.

Book reviews & free stuff!

I’ll continue blogging about books I care about, books I’m working with in the Ooze Viral Bloggers platform, and free eBook & audio book downloads I become aware of. In the midst of publishing industry upheaval and information glut, I feel like some very wise, compassionate, and expanding works are being written. I want to do my best to keep you up to date on what I’m seeing here.

The Future

Finally, I want to post more relating to the Future(s) of Everything, related to what I’m seeing in my studies. Expect food futures (no, not pork bellies!) and publishing futures especially.

This will all have the net effect of six-days-a-week blogging, I think. I want to be realistic about what I can do, but I think that thoughtful repurposing of older, supplemental journal material (as I’m exploring some of the ‘personal’ spaces) will carry some of the extra freight. Thank you for reading – I think the best is yet to come!

Opti-Mystic Friend of Jesus?

In the past couple of years I’ve been referring to myself in a cheeky-but-earnest way as an “opti-mystic friend of Jesus.” It’s my Religious Views affiliation on my Facebook and the tagline on this here blog. Every now and then I get people who ask me just what on earth this means (and they’re always Calvinists who ask, God love ’em). Sometimes the question is loaded with hostility, other times curiosity. Either way, here’s my response:

It’s a Christian…maybe. Or maybe that monicker has worn too deeply into our mental categories so that it’s shorthand for something meaningless to faithful and infidel alike.

So etymologically:

opti-mystic
The first being optimistic as opposed to pessimistic; to me the glass of God’s grace is overflowing. Rooted in resurrection and fulfilled eschatological hope.

mystic being (for my purposes) one who lives by the life of Another; animated by Holy Spirit and a God who is within, around, and permeating all existence.

friend listener, loyal, confidant. Willing to throw ones lot in with. Not a servant, but not someone who disregards service either.

of Jesus What is there to say about this man, this anointed one? Palestinian revolutionary peasant. Harbinger of God’s Renewed Order. Emmanuel–God with us, the government resting upon his shoulders. State-sponsored torture victim. Second person of the Trinity. Nonviolent victor over the Powers that Be. Bearer of Father’s true disposition for humanity and the cosmos.

You dig?

Archbishop of Canterbury Revealed to Be Cat Stevens in Disguise

Yusuf Islam

Hee-hee-hee. Courtesy of The Wittenburg Door. Serious commentary on Archbishop Rowan Williams, Islam, and sharia law in Europe from Alan Jamieson and Maggi Dawn.


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  • Friend of Emergent Village

    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

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    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave

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