I enjoyed reading Brian McLaren’s emergent thesis book – A Generous Orthodoxy, but it left me with far more questions than the book could answer related to his actual positions on a few things.
Only one chapter in the book earned a “standing O” from me, while there were a few others that I would say gained a vigorous nod or two.
The thing that disturbed me in particular was his chapter about why he is “green,” or a Christian environmentalist. He seems to have bought into politico-science without doing any collaborative research related to global warming, species extinction, etc. While I agree wholeheartedly that Christians are called to be gentle and good stewards of Creation, I am not at all comfortable with some of his implications that the earth and ants are just as worthy of salvation as humanity is from God’s perspective. I believe that humanity is the pinnacle of God’s creative effort and the target of His salvation effort.
While others have demolished his chapter on being “incarnational,” I think it deserves a second or third read. I think that there’s an unfortunate knee-jerk theological reflex that occurs at first reading for those who are anxious to hear him proclaim Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” (he does). At first read, I think one’s hackles arise too quickly to some of his truly challenging reflections on how we are called to be a servant to our Buddhist or Muslim neighbor.
Most conservative Christians seem to be too ready to assign the infidels to a far corner of Hell instead of seeking, like Paul, to “become all things to all men so that in all ways possible, I might win some.”
All in all, it’s a book worthy of chewing up. You decide if you want to spit it out.