Sunday, April 03, 2005
Clips from McLaren's Larry King Appearance
I posted a while back on Brian McLaren's appearance on the Larry King Live show. In case the transcript wasn't enough for you, here's a site that has clips of McLaren's comments.

posted by Mike Clawson at 11:47 PM | Permalink |


At 4/04/2005 11:13:00 PM, Blogger 00000

McLaren is a nice guy and has alot of great things to say. Actually at the seminary I am at people either love him or hate him. One thing to remember though is that like the majority of us is that he is not a theologian nor claims to be, yet the claims he makes are significant without substantial development. Personally I like his two books out of the trilogy (i.e., A New Kind of Christ, The Story We Find Ourselves in). I think it might be a little harsh to say as one person I know said "Brian McLaren is a theologially illeterate writing to other theologically illeterate." But it does ring some truth. So I am rambling. I really do like Brian McLaren and he has a lot of great things to say. But what I kind of also saying is unlike many people up here at my school that adore the ground he walks on and soak in every word his says, that we must also recognize that he has really no proper theological training so one has to weigh heavily what he says.


At 4/05/2005 03:43:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Not having studied at a seminary doesn't make one theologically illiterate. And both in personal conversations and in his writings I have found Brian to be very intelligent and informed on a wide range of topics. He is also humble enough to submit his ideas to the instruction of more studied theologians and philosophers, surrounding himself with people like Bruce Benson, Walter Bruggeman, John Franke, and the late Stanley Grenz. They provide the in-depth foundation for the ideas that Brian has popularized.

Frankly, and please don't take this personally (I don't even know you), but I have found that "proper theological training" too often breeds an infuriating kind of intellectual arrogance and a self-righteous attitude of superiority when it comes to matters of theology and exegesis. Seminary training may increase one's knowledge of "orthodoxy", but does it positively affect one's orthopraxy (i.e. one's ability to be humble and loving towards others)? Sadly I've notice that it often has the opposite effect.

That's probably one the biggest things currently keeping me from going to seminary myself. I'm worried about what kind of person it would turn me into.


At 4/05/2005 11:46:00 AM, Blogger 00000

From listening to a lecture given by him, he did encourage us to weigh what he or anyone else without formal training in what they said. It is similar to say that I may be very knowledge about computers through self-study, but because I do not have formal training in computers then what I should say or do should be highly speculative because of being interiorly breed and self-defined. There could be very much possibilities that my lack of education in computers have caused me to have a severe deficit that I had not thought through yet. Of course the full scope is never answered fully in education, but often it does provide for a greater basis than what is developed in self-training. In addition education exposes thoughts that may or may not have occurred in yourself. Plus there is great resources to be garnered in an educational institute.

I do agree with you that BM is very much an intelligent individual, but he in fact does recognize the following. There is a benefit in having recognition of developmental work that one has done. This helps to add credibility. BM does have an extent of credibility by his expression of knowledge, but there are often major holes that can be found in his writings. Maybe because he has not published or possibly developed a systematic theology, yet.

There is a difference in arrogance and humility. Would be arrogant to recognize some characteristic about myself such as that my eyes are blue. Would be arrogant for me to admit that though I read psychology books often and had a very few classes, that I am not qualified to be a professional counselor. Would it be arrogant of my friend who is enjoys reading medical books to perform the office of a surgeon. The same in a sense is being applied to be applied to BM. The category of his writings and his claims, and at times the categories people place him in, are that of a professional theologian.

I do agree with you that there are those who come out arrogant. Often individuals become boastful because they have passed a stringent of tests showing that they have a certain level of adequacy. The benefit of education is that it enables a greater degree of resources and tools for one person, obviously what can be drawn from this is that there is a greater degree of responsibility.

One note is that I am not saying individuals who are not professionally can not produce beneficial contribution. BM does produce beneficial contribution.

I would like to write more but I have to go to class. Hope your having a great day.

Also don’t worry to much about it. You become who you let yourself become.


At 4/05/2005 04:55:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

I'm not saying that further study isn't valuable or that it doesn't give one more credibility in some areas. I've just been turned off by people who use their academic credentials as an excuse to marginalize and ignore the perspective of others whose views don't fit within their own "systematic theology". Not that seminary education necessarily produces that kind of behavior, but I have seen it happen.

And speaking of "systematic theology", I don't think that McLaren would even say that writing one is a goal of his. Systematic theology is something that many of us in the emerging church are somewhat suspicious of. Or at least, we'd much rather pursue the heretofore fairly unexplored avenues of narrative theology.

But if systematics is what you're looking for, your best bet is to look to someone like Stanley Grenz. His book Theology for the Community of God is the closest thing you'll find at the moment to a systematic theology for the emerging church.

One more comment... I really don't think Brian would want to classify himself as a "professional theologian". I think he'd identify his role as more of a conversation catalyst, a gadfly, or the person who raises the tough questions and forces people to start talking about them. He seems content to leave the heavy theological work to other (more qualified) people and then draw on their wisdom. But every time I've heard him or talked to him he's always more than willing to point people in the direction of authors and thinkers more studied and more profound than him. He's like the pomo equivalent of Levar Burton on the Reading Rainbow: "You don't have to take my word for it!" :-)


At 4/05/2005 05:45:00 PM, Blogger 00000

I totally agree w/ you. Part of my response is taken in part that their are a number of people who do in fact treat him as a professional theologian or something like it. And you are righ that "Theology of God" by Stanley Grenz is a great book. It is very sad that Grenz has departed from us. Hopefully we haven't crossed paths to bad. I have actually been enjoying reading your blog for sometime. You write generally very well. One great thing about PoMo is that we have know clue to where it is going. With certain developments that are happening in it, I would not be surprised to see things that are liken or are in fact systematic theologies showing up soon enough. And hey if you classify Wolfhart Pannenberg as PoMo then there is already a systematic work out there that is phenemenoal. I hope you keep up with the good posts. If you ever want to chat while online I can be reached through AOL IM w/ the id rhematos. Hope your having a great day. Blessings.


At 4/12/2005 12:30:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

"Hopefully we haven't crossed paths to bad. I have actually been enjoying reading your blog for sometime."

No worries. I appreciate your perspectives. You seem very knowledgeable and sympathetic. Thanks for reading and for posting. It's always welcome when people are interested in discussing the things I put on this blog.


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