Wednesday, February 01, 2006

an evening with McLaren and Bush (a rambling stream of conscience exercise)

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of spending the State of the Union Address with Brian McLaren at a dive in north Tampa, drinking refreshing beverages and trying to decipher the meaning of this competent, but not eloquent rhetoric coming from the mouth of our illustrious president.

I will not go into details, but we were both very pleased to hear Mr. Bush's admission that we are indeed "addicted to oil" and must find new technologies to decrease our dependence upon oil from the volatile Middle East. I guess even President Bush gets tired of having to treat a bunch of cultish near Nazi Saudi kings that hate democracy like they are our best friends. Of course, he forgot to mention that we need to be nicer to Canada now that they have so much oil. We found much we disagreed with, but none of that is important to this rambling nonsense.

It was nice to spend time with a person I respect so much that helps me follow Jesus. Which, of course, is what I like about Brian.

All of these angry doctinaire young Martin Luthers can take pot shots at Brian whenever they want. They can make accusations, assumptions, innuendos, hurl insults, gossip freely and consider him dangerous to the faith. They can demand he give us his opinion on every issue we hold sacred (if he answers wrongly, we can now ignore everything else he says- even if it is not a fundamental of the faith according to history).* I care little, except that I don't like it when friend's are attacked.

What matters most to me is simply this stuff... Does this guy make me fall in love with Jesus and desire to follow him more? Does he drive me to the Scriptures more? Does he challenge my preconceived ideas of faith and ask me to align them more closely to the Bible and historical faith? Am I following God in the way of Jesus because of this guy? Is he an example of the fruits of the spirit and the beatitudes? A huge YES to all of these, among others.

When it comes to the end of the day, all of these things matter as much as "so-called" doctrinal purity. I have met too many people (and seen them come out of the woodwork lately) that speak the truth with no love, are frighteningly mean, jealous, impatient, unkind, bitter and angry, divisive, gossipy, slanderous, and lack joy, peace and self control, who (like what they accuse Brian of) take only part of the Canon of Scripture seriously, effectively ignoring or dismissing much of the rest, thereby prooftexting to justify any negative words or behavior they deem worthy of a situation! It is ironic that these men reinterpret the fruits of the spirit or Beatitude to get themselves off the hook of Biblical correction or the discipline they speak so highly of.

all in the name of Jesus, correct doctrine and Biblical truth.

I am reminded of Galatians 5:13-15, right before Paul declares the difference between life in the Spirit and out of the Spirit...

You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring one another, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

quit rambling and shut up Rick.

*I must say Brian's opinion on homosexuality does not matter any more to me than Al Mohler's on violence and war (wrong in my view, along with the rest of the SBC leadership on an issue the NT is clear on), Mohler's, MacArthur's and Moore's on alcohol (wrong again), Kennedy's and Dobson's on power (wrong again), most of American evangelicaldom's view on eschatology (soooo wrong) or Paige Patterson's on election and the atonement. I could go on for hours regarding things I consider much more important than this.

If you do not like Brian's answers, just right him off ,ignore him and move on. I do the same with many religious leaders, only taking them to task for mean-spirited behavior and speech, not doctrinal dissension. It is a healthier approach.


Alex F said...

I didn't watch the speech. I have actually completely lost my taste for politics.

Out of curiosity, what was McLaren doing in Tampa with you anyway?

Rick said...

He was in town to speak at a private engagement with a bunch of Episcopals the next morning. It was an in-and-out thing.

We just hooked up for a bit that evening.

I wish I could give it up like you. But, I have an addiction to politics, even though I hate it so. I hate parties, platforms, power, etc. But, for some reason I understand this stuff better than I do theology and philosophy (I am an ethics guy at the end of the day).

Brian said...

I actually have enjoyed most of what i read of Brian McLaren, if not agreeing at least liking the "spirit" in which he writes.

However, regarding the Mohler's, MacArthur's and Moore's, they will at least asnwer questions. And as you correctly state, they big not-so-good answers, but they're direct answers none-the-less.

kidpositive said...

everyone seems so concerned with mclaren answering questions. did Jesus always answer questions? could it not be that people are asking the wrong questions, and to respond to them would only be furthering the problem?