A Generous Orthodoxy Why I am a missional evangelical post protestant liberal conservative mystical poetic biblical charismatic contemplative fundamentalist calvinist anabaptist anglican metho Emergentys
User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars I see the meat, but where's the beef?
This book is in many ways a first for me – the first book by Brian McLaren I have read, and the first book I was persuaded to buy due to the number of negative reviews. I figured that any work that could drive so many brittle fundamentalists to hysterics had to be worth reading.
After finishing it, however, I am left scratching my head and wondering what all the fuss is about. McLaren's message is hardly new and not even remotely heretical. He surveys most of the major traditions in Christianity, including Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Calvinism, Wesleyanism, etc., and talks about what he finds appealing in each one. He likes the passion of the fundamentalists, the concern for the marginalized among the early Methodists, the majestic view of Christ among the Orthodox, and the love of Jesus evident in Evangelicals.
All well and good, so where does all the hostility towards this gentle and thoughtful man come from? It comes from partisans who insist that their take on religious matters is wholly accurate, while all others are deceived by Satan. That attitude is common among people who are masking deep set doubts about what they believe. McLaren tweaks their insecurities by inviting them to consider what the other side has to offer.
And boy does he tweak them! I chuckled heartily as I perused the numerous one star "reviews" scribed by neurotic people who had obviously never read the book. My favorite is by a fellow who called on Jesus to "banish false religion idolgod Lamb-rejecting goats (i.e. McLaren) to eternal infernal perdition quarantine in hell." Amen, brother!
For those like this poor devil, who are terrified of discovering that they are in error, this book is an invitation to disaster, not discovery. So they behave like the scared little people they are, resorting to name calling and insults rather than participating in real dialogue.
To me the most profound part of the book is where McLaren shows that salvation is the beginning of the story for Christians, not the final result. He reminds us that believers are to be "missional." This is what he means when he talks about Jesus being a blessing not only to Christians but to all people. He reminds us that we can't just sit on our rumps waiting for the Second Coming. Rather we should be making the world as much as possible like the kingdom of God.
For him this means not only feeding the hungry, but also addressing the reasons that people are hungry in the first place,such as unjust social and economic systems. This viewpoint alone is enough to drive many Christians mad, especially the ones who view Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as infallible sources of truth.
He tells his readers that the Church should be engaging the world, instead of just waiting on the Rapture to take us out of it. To do this we may actually have to engage in real conversations with such wicked people as liberals, Muslims and – heaven forbid – gays. We may have to acknowledge that they have things to teach us. For those looking forward to patting themselves on the back for not being "left behind" this is simply too much to ask for.
Illuminating, challenging, and thought-provoking – all these words describe this excellent book. I recommend it heartily to those with the courage to both think and act. For the rest of you, don't worry. There will always be wacky conspiracy theories about Obama's secret Muslim affinities to keep you firmly es consed in your safe little world. May you find it warm and comfortable there.
PS Some may see a contradiction between my review of this book and that of Phyllis Tickle's. The reason is that McLaren makes a cogent and COHERENT case for his post-modern leanings, whereas Tickle simply writes nonsense. I highly recommend that anyone wanting to understand the Emerging Church phenomenon start with McLaren's writings, not Tickle's.
4 Stars !
Book arrived in stated condition and prior to est. arrival date. Like most popular authors, only purchased because required by prof.
2 Stars Bland & uninteresting
Unfortunately, this book is bland and not very interesting.
I am not sure if the fault with this book is on the part of the author or the reader. McLaren quotes the famous scripture "to everything there is a season." He does not take his own advice, at a time when the Body of Christ faces so many challenges, at a time when there is such a need for the Gospel of Christ, McLaren shows almost no passion. I would have preferred much more passion on his part.
I understand that McLaren is attempting to reach consensus among the different factions within Christianity, which is commendable. The problem is that he is not more forceful when he sees failures in the church. For example, he correctly points out how some factions depend on creating fear. His criticism of such practices is so weak it is almost non-existent.
The book is just not very interesting. Again, there are too many other good books.
4 Stars Authentic and Powerful Book
Alright, so this review is late in the game I realize. If you're like me though, you knew this book has been out there for a while, but you just didn't get around to reading it on release. It wasn't until I read the negative reviews here and other places that I determined I probably better read it myself.
First of all, if you come from conservative places as I did, it might strike a nerve here and there. I suppose while some believe that to be a bad thing, I don't at all. McLaren takes us to the cusp of the emergent movement, and no matter where you stand theologically, I can't imagine just dismissing such a cusp without having read the material that best represents it.
Personally, I found the book to packed with little gems of wisdom, from the introductions all the way through the notes in each chapter. I'm a pastor and I can tell you the things he touches on this book, from the different Jesuses he has encountered through the poetic muse all the way through something as complex as the 'theology of ecology,' McLaren doesn't just throw out his own ideas, but tends to couple them with some deep thoughts from numerous theologians and writers throughout Christian history.
McLaren is much more "generous" in this book than are many of his reviewers, who by clinging to a paper pope want to remain in the theological box. This work is a product of both humility and deep personal struggles which are reflected throughout.
Here's the real bottom line folks: If you've ever felt drawn and quartered between the Left and the Right in this country, I all but promise you that you'll find some comfort in these pages by realizing that you are not alone. We live in an either/or Christian culture and McLaren very successfully demonstrates why this doesn't have to be so.
Whenever a book prompts lengthy theological responses to justify its negative stars, you can bet it hit on a place that's highly sensitive. That's all the more reason to read it, to determine just how "generous" we're willing to be.
This book has been moved up my shelf and remains a resource that I will draw from quite often.
5 Stars You gotta ponder the subtitle!
The subtitle is as important as the title… in fact, that is what attracted me the first time I'd seen the book advertised. Finally it was a student of mine who recommended this volume that got me to take a stab and read it. McLaren's book is more pastoral than systematic: orthodoxy is understood here from the stance of orthopraxy.
"Generous Orthodoxy…" is McLaren's "confessio", and I can see this as a valuable resource for those who want to study Church (ecclesiologists and seekers alike) so as to become more authentically Church.
My thanks to the author. The book has been stimulating, challenging and totally delightful. Bravo, bravissimo!