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November 26, 2005



I'm not sure what your worry is about us ever "getting it right." I had a discussion with some friends once about the deconstructive nature of Jesus' teachings. Which is to say, Jesus came to those who thought they knew what religion and the nature of God were about, and deconstructed that knowledge.

But if Jesus were to "come back" and find a group of people living out solidarity with the poor, sharing everything in common, and continually finding ways to witness this life to the world and to bring about systemic change... what would he deconstruct? If Jesus teaching is inherently deconstructive then we would have to assume Jesus would teach solidarity with the rich, or some other such nonsense.

I don't think any of us really buy this, which leads me to believe that living out something like Jesus vision of a kingdom of god is possible. That is - realistically achievable on earth (what else is there?), without the need for further deconstruction. Now, you may want to add that this is only possible with the help of the spirit or some other such disclaimer, but that doesn't discount the possibility.



I want to say that it's possible too. I'm still a Christian because I believe in this vision of a kingdom of God, and I do believe it's the church's task to bear witness to it on earth. Unfortunately, it seems that only a few people in any generation ever really carry it out all that well. Indeed, it seems to be such a rare thing that we write books about those folks when it does happen. I'm sure there are countless others living this sort of life in relative obscurity in places like Ethiopia or Guyana or Cambodia, but we don't have the benefit of their witness here where it's desperately needed to save us from ourselves.

Whisky Prajer

Your McLaren critique has legitimate teeth, I think. I've been reading AGO (little more than half-done) unsure of why I find this particular book so dissatisfying. The only other McLaren book I've read is ANKOC, which I thought better embodied compassionate criticism (digression: i loath linking "compassionate" to any other word in the English language, after the ruinous double-speak of "compassionate conservatism", but the shoe fits in this case). AGO, as a read, is more slap-dash than ANKOC was, which is nettlesome. And McLaren, who I am told is a genuinely nice guy, comes across as nice - "This is how I've learned to enjoy other faith perspectives." My wife is forever telling me there's no point in being nice when you write. Angry, passionate, compassionate, ebullient, sorrowful, complimentary even ... but never "nice".


I just started AGO last night. Got through the Foreword and Introduction before I had to put it down. Like Whisky, I'd read ANKOC first, which had a tinge of excitement to it because I could identify with those beginning moments of rediscovery. Here in AGO, McLaren's theology has started to congeal and so far it doesn't seem unlike reading Borg's 'The Heart of Christianity' or any other 'alternative Christian manifestos' you can find in any theology section.

It'll just be another book where one agrees with some, disagrees with some, ultimately just lay it aside afterwards and say, 'Well, that was okay.'

But that's just an initial reaction.

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