Thursday, June 15, 2006

More on Brian McLaren

Welcome to Kevin Jones and others who've stopped in from CAEI. Make yourselves at home!

Kevin sent me this link to another Brian McLaren interview. Kevin's right; he's kinda squirrelly on some issues. Here's what I picked up from that article:

- The conversation about violence in the Bible is quite daring and interesting. I've never heard these issues discussed in this way, and both McLaren and Knauss acquit themselves well.

- Although McLaren tries hard to be charitable and face questions squarely, his seeming deference and humility smack of an intense self-consciousness and airy superiority. It reminds me of something CS Lewis said: "The truly humble man does not think more highly of himself than others, nor does he consider himself lower. The truly humble man does not think about himself at all" - which is what enables a person with opinions to engage in debate and conversation without regard to self-protection or self-aggrandizement, and thus with respect to all comers.

- Comparing this to the DVC interview, it's obvious where he stands with regard to "organized Christian religion"; he just couldn't bring himself to admit his views to Dan Knauss at tNP. Disingenuous is the word, I believe, to describe his answers here.

- Knauss is right on the money when he detects an emphasis on the superiority of the parachurch/ecumenical entity in McLaren's "deep ecclesiology". This is precisely what the Protestant house church folks I was with (for four years before I became a Catholic) advocated - a "respect" for all expressions of Christian faith, but there was an assumed notion that our group, the small group, the "neighborhood church", the people who thought and worshiped like us - we were the Real Church. We thought it would be "rude" to say this directly to those other poor, unenlightened Christians, so we just kept it to ourselves, like nice people do.

If you believe your vision of Church to be The True Church, you ought to have the cojones to come out and say so. At least, a meaningful debate can then be had about the issue. As time goes on, I have less and less patience with the sort of "tolerance" that begs the question in this way, that assumes the debate is over and you've won, and you're magnanimously extending your benevolence by refusing to engage ideas on the ground. It's precisely what they accuse the Catholic Church and other traditional churches of doing. The question that must be engaged is, On what authority do you stake your view of the Truth? Who has the right to call their interpretation of Scripture correct? If you allow flatly contradictory views to stand alongside your own, what does that say about the nature and knowability of truth?

Like I said to a (currently) agnostic/apostate friend a while back, you can say "All roads lead to God" or "It doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere" all you like, but at the end of the day, no one believes that. Everyone believes in right and wrong; they just have different views of what those are. See how "tolerant" the hippie folks are if you walk into a tie-dye and incense store wearing a T-shirt with an American flag and "Support Our Troops" on it. Those folks surely do believe that some things are just right and some things are just wrong, and good for them. We all have a moral sense. We all have a sense that some things will guide us on the path to Heaven, and some things are distractions or impediments. And we all fight to preserve our perception of truth, whether we call it that or not. "Tolerance", as it's been sold to us, is a myth.

No comments: