I am in chapter 7 of the Old Testament book of Ezekiel. In chapter 2, God uses the words “rebellious” (5x), “rebelled” (1x), “revolt” (1x), “obstinate” (1x), “stubborn” (1x) and “rebel” (1x) to describe them. And now, He is done with them. According to chapter 7, God, “will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.” In short, God is just really, really pissed off at his people. There is just no polite way to say this. At the end of the chapter, He says, “I will deal with them according to their conduct, and by their own standards I will judge them. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
Last week, I received my advance copy of Brian McLaren’s new book, A New Kind of Christianity. The copy I have is an “Uncorrected Proof”, which means, according to the cover page, my quotes must be compared against the final bound book. I’m about half-way through the first chapter. It is not my intention to write a hit piece against Brian or his book. I will say this, he is a gifted writer and definitely has a perspective worth listening to.
Something I agree with: “Unless the church wanted to become a small, isolated enclave that could only talk to its own, we needed to welcome people in from the non-church majority, with all their questions, uncertainties, skepticism, and honesty, which required first of all that we listen to them without judgment and understand them without condemnation” (5).
- Why I agree with it: Basically, it’s how Jesus handled things. He was patient, kind and loving, and even He relied on the Holy Spirit to change lives.
Something I disagree with: “Not everyone wants to join the quest for a new kind of Christianity. But that’s okay. Skeptics’ resistance, suspicion and opposition are actually a gift, and through their critique we on the quest will grow wiser and stronger” (13).
- Why I disagree with it: I disagree because this is not in line with Brian’s thinking. Time and time again on his blog he writes that “black and white” and “sides” are the way of modernity. No doubt, man has skewed Christianity throughout history, we have mis-interpreted scripture and done evil in God’s name. but, that does not mean that Christianity as an entity is broken. Man is broken. And Brian should know better than to promote “wisdom and strength” as goals. The Pharisees and every other example that he cites in chapter 1 about the failings of Christianity bear witness to the utter failings of man’s wisdom and abuses of man’s strength.
Listening: I’ve “re-discovered” Jars of Clay.
Watching: 24, The Office (started last week in a mediocre episode), Conan all last week. I also watched the newest Star Trek movie on Friday night with the kids (Anne was gone all weekend to NW Iowa). Can’t believe that LOST is back next week!
Running: Went to the physical therapist last week, for a 1.5 hour session. Talked about running, learned some exercises/stretches for my knees, and had some sort of electrical probe connected to my knees which conducted medicine into my skin. Basically, I took a 20 minute nap while being electrocuted. I got in 3 miles yesterday, fell 3 times on the ice, and walked about a 3/4 of a mile because of the ice. Overall, it was a miserable run, but I don’t care because I was out.
Grad School: Leaving for IWU next week for 4 days, Tuesday-Friday. I have some introductory stuff on Wednesday and Thursday, so Tuesday/Friday will be my travel days.
Next: I’m in the pulpit on Sunday, preaching on discipleship. Meeting with the parent of one of our students tonight, and middle school youth group tomorrow night after a week off due to weather issues last week. So far, we’ve only met once out of three weeks because of weather.