Not only would doing a long post on every chapter of A New Kind of Christian be tedious and time-consuming (I’m hoping to make my posts more succinct anyway) on my end, I don’t think it would make for very compelling reading on your end, on the whole. Moving slowly breeds redundancy for me. [I feel like I’ve been setting the table for months now. It’s time to move on to the main course, already. ]
Also, some of these chapters are not going to be as strong conversation-starters as others— Chapter 3 is an example.
That said, I wanted to highlight a few interesting “morsels” from the chapter, before we dig into full-fledged meals [so if you’re on a blog-diet, you can just read this post.]
* The John Robinson quote: If you want to read it, it’s the 2/27/11 entry on my page-o-quotes. Basically, the prayer of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ pastor prior to embarking on their grand excursion is an amazingly gracious prayer that echoes the sentiments of those like McLaren, seeking a New Conversation.
The overall sentiment? A desire for HUMILITY. Exemplifying openness and desire to plumb the depths of faith, not destroy it (despite what critics may claim). Commitment to dialogue. Basically, the stuff I’ve mentioned in the last few posts.
The rest of these are things I thout about as I read lines from this prayer:
* “We acknowledge that we have made a mess of what Jesus has started…”
People are not scandalized by the gospel in our culture… contrary to what some might say. [We’ve made it so easy; what is there to be scandalized about?] People are not scandalized by Jesus; they’re first and foremost scandalized by the church and its innumerable sins against God’s world. Acknowledging this (and our need for repentance) is one of the first steps necessary to our New Conversation; it’s also necessary to our conversations with those outside the Christian faith. [<—- Shane Claiborne’s article to Esquire magazine=a must read]
* “We understand that many good Christians will not want to participate in our quest, and we welcome their charitable critique…”
Pesistent, loving invitation is the primary attitude of this conversation; it is also the primary posture of the Church that lives in a post-legalistic and yet also a post-“making-church-as-easy-as-possible-for-me-so-that-I-no-longer-have-a-clear-sense-of-what-the-point-of-church-is” –mentality. We want to belong to something bigger, but we are still individualists, who cannot be coerced into believing or belonging. But we can invite participation into a “deep relationship,” and do so without judgment or passive-aggression.
* “We acknowledge that we have created many Christianities up to this point and they all call for reassessment and in many cases, repentance…”
All forms of Christianity are constructed. (Again, no pure Christianity!)… The way we respond to that is to continue to construct, but not after careful evaluation and “deconstruction…” because we must be HUMBLE about what we believe— lest our theology become our idol!
*We desire to be born again as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Interesting that he (Robinson) did not say “we ARE ‘born again’…” even though that’s how most of us have heard this phrase used— as a static state of “in-ness” vs. “out-ness” imputed onto anyone who prays the “magic words.”