Lenten reflection 5: I’m probably way off base

Posted by on 03.09.10 | 18 Comments
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A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That are Transforming the Faith

A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That are Transforming the Faith by Brian McLaren

A Christian synchroblog that I have written with sometimes in the last few years has sort of gone extinct. Every now and again a theme for a synchronized blog raises its head from the mire of the busy bloggers’ lives. When Steve Hayes suggested that we all write about the 10 questions from Brian McLaren’s new book, at first I harumphed, knowing that McLaren is not my flavor of Christian, but he is admired by many people that I admire, so I thought I better get over myself and at least read the questions.

McLaren is an evangelical post-modern Christian. And what, might you say, is THAT animal? Well, you should read about his truly ground breaking work on one of my favorite blogs ‘Homebrewed Christianity’. He and Richard Rohr are tight. Along with some other big thinkers like Phyllis Tickle. So his ideas and work have great validity. Anglican bishop Alan Wilson says on his blog Bishop Alan’s Blog: Discipleship starts with 10 Questions

You may find his answers disturbing, but I challenge any who care about following Jesus today not to profit from asking these questions. However you answer them, they supply an agenda for anyone wanting to follow Jesus honestly and authentically. Read this Book.

But I have to say, in respect and humility: are these the best questions he can come up with? I have not yet read the book, and I’m sure his answers will be enlightening. But the questions…ah, they leave my heart a stone.

Someone has said, ‘never trade a great question for a mediocre answer.’ Good advice. And vicey versa.

Brian McLaren’s Ten questions:

1. What is the overarching story line of the Bible?
2. How should the Bible be understood?
3. Is God violent?
4. Who is Jesus and why is he important?
5. What is the Gospel?
6. What do we do about the Church?
7. Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it?
8. Can we find a better way of viewing the future?
9. How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?
10. How can we translate our quest into action?

Sorry, my friendly synchrobloggers. I can’t do these questions. The only one that remotely speaks to me is the first one, and that’s because it involves speaking the truth in mythological language.

OK, OK… eventually I’ll read the book.

In the meantime here are my own ten questions, for what they’re worth. Not sure that wrestling with them would change the world, but it does change my world.

1. How is the membrane of any cell in my body similar to the surface of the earth?

2. How does the human heart perceive truth, beauty, wisdom?

3. Since the wisdom of the ancient ones and the elders is available to us in so many forms, what is it going to take for us to actually listen to what they have to say?

4. What if Jesus had really said something like this to the woman at the well, “If you knew that all you had to do was get in the River of Life and let it overtake you, you would then become the River and you would never thirst again.”

5. What if the Bible is only a snapshot of truth, a collection of moments that is no more or less important than any other moments of expressed wisdom? What if revelation is truly not only on-going, but comes from a host of sources—including animals, rocks and the sky?

6. Why do we weep at the blue of a baby’s eye?

7. What if God really is a process and is hosted in our cellular memory: learning and mutating and hurting and changing?

8. What if the only book we ever needed to ‘read’ was to look carefully, prayerfully at a microbe or a constellation?

9. What if the muffled screams of Congolese women who are being raped and tortured is the groan of God being heard as if for the first time? Like a birth-pang of a new universe?

10. What if the dead bodies of supposedly failed summiteers that litter the sides of the highest Himalayan mountains are the only offerings that those sacred mountains will accept in exchange for their degradation? What if these frozen facsimiles of humans are thus keeping the world intact?

DRC Rwanda line.jpg

Anyone want to answer any of these questions or write your own?

Here’s a list of posts to the synchroblog suggested by Steve. Great reads!

  • The Evening of Kent: Ten questions that might transform something.
  • The AnteChurch: Synchroblog: A new kind of Christian?
  • Beth Patterson : Lenten reflection 5: I’m probably way off base
  • A New Kind of Christianity: My Answers to Ten Questions: Ryan Peter Blogs and stuff
  • Pastor Phil’s Square No More: Answering McClaren’s 10 questions before reading the book
  • This post on the VTH is also the 5th in a series of Lenten reflections. Over the time of Lent friends and I are doing a Lenten study course with Christine Valters Paintner from the wonderful Abbey of the Arts. I will be writing some of my reflections, returning to ancient practices that can help me renew my most sacred vows. This is not easy or done without discernment, having left most religious ‘trappings’ behind. But I’m feeling drawn to revisit and see them with new eyes, as if for the first time. I hope you will consider traveling with me/us on this pilgrimage to the Heart of the Matter. There are challenges to just reading the words of Biblical scripture. Challenges to allowing my heart door to creak open to their meaning, much of which feels so irrelevant and discordant with what I know of God’s love to be. And I’m determined to be on my way.

    Lenten reflection 1: Ashes on my third eye

    Lenten reflection 2: Having it my way

    Lenten reflection 3: Hell is breaking out in the kingdom of God

    Lenten reflection 4: Four words




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