Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Generous Orthodoxy

I admit I haven't read it. I wish I could trade my current library of books in on a beginning-emergent-reader's library. I would even be willing to trade 3:1 since I have quite a surplus.

In light of the recent hullaballoo in the emerging corner of the blogosphere, the title of McLaren's book makes a lot of sense.

Cindy Bryan quotes from A Generous Orthodoxy and adds her own interesting comments:

"The last thing we need is a new group of proud, super-protestant, hyper-puritan, ultra-restorationist reformers who say, ‘Only we’ve got it right!’ and thereby damn everybody else to the bin of five minutes ago and the bucket of below average mediocrity.”

Cindy says:
I can no longer bring myself to tune in to most religious programming because of that “I’m more religious than you—nanny nanny boo boo” tone. ICK!

“To be A Christian in a generously orthodox way is not to claim to have the truth captured, stuffed, and mounted on the wall. It is rather to be in a loving (ethical) community of people who are seeking the truth (doctrine) on the road of mission… and who have been launched on the quest by Jesus who, with us, guides us still.”

She adds:
A Generous Orthodoxy leaves room for “I don’t know,” and that’s probably what I appreciate the most about it. If we said “I don’t know” more often, I think we’d turn a lot less people away from Jesus.

Amen! That is why I am in this conversation. I want to be among those who, while knowing Truth (Jesus), have the humility to understand that we are still seeking. We can know Him, without doubt, and still recognize that there will always be mystery, questions, things that remain unknown.

This is what I see as the major difference. A generous orthodoxy says there is room at the table for your questions. It isn't afraid that the truth of God will be threatened by admitting we don't know it all. Those who identify with emerging feel safer living in the mystery.

They see danger in the dogmatism of religious systems. Many of us in the emerging conversation can say, by the grace of God, we recognize the error and arrogance of that type of religiosity and have chosen to leave it behind.

An ungenerous orthodoxy is rigid and defensive, militantly guarding theology at the expense of being judgmental. They feel safer in their systemic theology and are threatened by questioning and seeking.

What is being judgmental? Taking an unauthorized position as the one who can form ‘just’ views and also decide punishments and penalties, placing oneself in the position of judge. Forming conclusions about another’s motives and actions without knowing them.

Have they jumped to unfair conclusions in an attempt to promote their personal opinions? Are they attacking people and their character promoting an unwarranted negative opinion of others? Are their statements slanderous and unfairly labeling others in the body of Christ?

It’s a simple rule-of-thumb:

When you are controlled by a religious system, you promote that religious system.

If you are under the Lordship of Jesus, you promote Him.


Bruce said...

Well put! Enjoy your writings.


grace said...

Hi Bruce,
It's nice to meet you. I visited your site also and look forward to reading more of what you have to say.

Call Me Ishmael said...

Perhaps we should say with absolute confidence that we should never be dogmatic about anything.