Holy cow, this article by Brian McLaren is amazing…(I swear, he is NOT the only person I read, even though it might seem like it). The whole thing is worth a read, or two, or TEN, but there are a few nuggets that I want to throw out there to chew on. A QUICK REMINDER WHEN READING ANYTHING OF MCLAREN’S: it’s supposed to make you think, not be a quick and easy answer or statement that stands on it’s own. So, try not to jump to any conclusions about him based on this. Just read it, and see where it takes you…
Speaking about his first exposure to “postmodern” type thinking: “A chill ran up my neck, and two thoughts seized me:
1. If this way of thinking catches on, the whole world will change.
2. If this way of thinking catches on, the Christian faith as we know it is in a heap of trouble.”
“Compare modern Christianity’s quest for the perfect belief system to medieval church architecture. Christians in the emerging culture may look back on our doctrinal structures (statements of faith, systematic theologies) as we look back on medieval cathedrals: possessing a real beauty that should be preserved, but now largely vacant, not inhabited or used much anymore, more tourist attraction than holy place.”
“In this setting, preaching both loses and gains status. Instead of an exercise in transferring information so that people have a coherent, well-formed “worldview” (often an upbeat name for “systematic theology”), preaching in the emerging culture aims at inspiring transformation . It is in a sense demoted from the center of public worship, bookended by bumper music. It steps down from its pedestal to join singing, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, silence, and recitation as one formative ritual or practice among many.”
“Throwing a small-groups program at this hunger for community is like feeding an elephant Cheerios, one by one. What’s needed is a profound reorganization of our way of life, not a squeeze-another-hour-for-“community” into the week.”
” Whatever new and varied forms our search for community takes will require new and varied forms of leadership. I expect that leader-as-CEO, leader-as-scholar, leader-as-therapist, and leader-as-hero/martyr will give way to less dominant styles of leadership, less dominant but no less important. Less like the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz , and more like young Dorothy, community leaders in the emerging culture will increasingly resemble the lead seeker in a journey, not possessing all the answers, but possessing a contagious passion to find a way home—and to bring others along in our common search for love, courage, wisdom, and home. ”
On the word missional: “Old categories merge in what I believe is a radical shift in our theology, from a system in which “missions” is one department of theology, to a new place where theology is one department of mission.”
“I was once talking with Dallas Willard about Islam. He dropped this little thought virus: “Remember, Brian, in a pluralistic world, a religion is valued by the benefits it brings to its non-adherents.” The virus has taken hold in my thinking, bringing to mind sayings of our Lord, like “the birds of the air” nesting in the branches of the kingdom of God, people seeing the light of our good deeds and “glorifying your Father in heaven,” “by their fruits you will know them.””
All Quotes Copyright 2003, Brian McLaren. Reprinted from Leadership.
My brain hurts… Thanks, Brian!