Just finished reading Brian McLaren's book "a Generous Or+hodoxy" and although the epilogue brought me to tears when he describes some of the criticism he received when it was first published, the chapters on '... Incarnational' and '... Emergent' gave me a glimpse of a bright future for the church, the People of God.
Some time ago, somewhere on the Internet I read a negative critical review of this book. That review put me off acquiring or reading the book for quite a while. Now I understand it was probably written by an American fundamentalist.
The book has the magnificent subtitle "Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed- yet hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian." These are the chapter headings from the second part of the book. McLaren makes the point that there has been far too much fragmentation of the church because of focus on differences in theology, doctrine and practice and we have lost sight of the big chunk of orthodox belief that we have in common. In these chapters he weaves all these threads of the church together again.
This positioning of all the threads of the institutional denominational church appeals to me. In another place recently I assembled an inventory of my own wanderings through the denominations.
There is a lot I now understand better after reading this book (always comforting to read a book that confirms your current thinking and then challenges you to take the next step):
- that Jesus did not intend to establish (yet another) religion
- that He did not intend to establish the church the way we know it
- what Jesus meant when he sent His followers on a mission to declare the Kingdom of God
- some of the history of the church, including its history in North America and the why and how of fundamentalism there.
But it is the chapter "Why I am Incarnational" that put many things in place for me.