Friday, August 12, 2005
Becoming Convergent
From the emergent-us blog, an introduction by Tony Jones to a three-part blog by Brian McLaren on the recent criticism that he personally has received from the conservative evangelical world:

"In many ways, it's been a long, hot summer for Emergent. There's been media attention, which, of course, is both good and bad. There has also been a significant amount of theological and philosophical scrutiny, as some within the established Christian world have wanted to figure out exactly what Emergent believes. Well, that's impossible to really get a grasp of, since Emergent -- as an organization/movement/conversation -- doesn't have a statement of faith or belief similar to those of many more traditional religious organizations. For that reason, and because his recent books have been so thought-provoking, Brian McLaren has borne the brunt of the criticism.

Although last Spring some of us responded to our critics and asked them to be charitable in their criticisms, I have found much of the criticism of Brian in particular to be unfair and uncharitable, and much of it has caricatured and mischaracterized his work instead of taking it seriously.

It's also been interesting to me that much of the criticism of Brian this summer has run along the lines of, "I really like his missional thinking, but his philosophy and theology are dangerous." I talked to Brian about that, because those of us who know him realize that his recent theological investigations have been driven by his missional heart. For instance, Brian believes that bad eschatology (doctrine of the last things/end times/heaven and hell) has led to a misunderstanding of the Kingdom of God and to much abuse of our planet, and that, in turn, has made mission and church-planting more difficult. Those concerns led him to write a book on other ideas about eschatology; it's called The Last Word and the Word after That.

With that in mind, I asked Brian if he would write an Emergent/C and blog post about his summer, and about how his missional thinking led him to theological and philosophical investigations. This is the first of three parts that will be coming out over the next week. I ask you, not only to read it, but to pass it on to friends and collegues who you think would benefit from a better understanding of Brian's heart. (The entire post will be made available as a .pdf file in the near future, and instead of having the comment section turned on, we'll direct those who wish to discuss Brian's post to a bulletin board.)"

To read Brian's entire blog post (all three parts) click here.

On a personal note, as I read Brian's personal story of his journey of faith, I was amazed at how closely his experiences have mirrored my own, especially those of his early life and teenage years. Perhaps that's why I resonate with his writings so frequently.
posted by Mike Clawson at 11:20 PM | Permalink |


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