Steve Hayes revived the SynchroBlog tradition I started a few years back by asking us to answer Brian McLaren's 10 questions before reading his newest book. So here are my answers to the 10 questions. Now I will have to read the book after this, but that is okay, because I highly respect Brian. I respect him not because of his writings, but because I have met him and spent some time with him. Lots of people can write good and provocative books. But to be a good and provocative person is something more difficult to do methinks. Brian is a standup kinda guy. If you want to buy the book follow the link with the pic of the book, and pay a little less on Amazon than at Border's or wherever you go, and you will help Pastor Phil (that's me) with his Amazon account as well.
Now, if you have not read the book and are planning on getting it I challenge you to this same exercise. Answer the 10 questions below and let me know when you do so. This is good Christianity to practice our proclamation, and put it into dialogue instead of monologue.
Well, here are my responses to Brian's 10 Questions:
1) What is the overarching story line of the Bible? - there is a dynamic relationship between God and man. It has been in tension and fraught with difficulty since time immemorial, but God still pursues that relationship passionately.
2) How should the Bible be understood? - as a narrative of the above filled with history, poetry, parables, and visions documenting the sorrow and the joy of this tension.
3) Is God violent? - passionate love has a violence to it. Not as the violence of this world as we experience it, but violence in its expression nonetheless. Perhaps it is best to see God as transcending the issues of violence/non-violence, and simply call Him Peacemaker and Judge, Lover and Defender.
4) Who is Jesus and why is he important? - God, second part of the question answered by the first I think.
5) What is the Gospel? -The specific curative message of God's pursuit of us in love, which was worked out in the life, death, resurrection and continued facilitation of Jesus.
6) What do we do about the Church? - go and help it be a carrier of the curative message.
7) Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it? - uhm, yes?
8) Can we find a better way of viewing the future? - since I am not reformed in my theology, and do not hold to a predeterministic point of view I would have to be extremely biased here and say that if we can not view it as in formation, and being created by the actions of God and humanity then we are not viewing it as future at all, but as a concrete sidewalk.
9) How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions? - like they relate to Christians - with love. Shouldn't the church be the place where we model how we relate to the world?
10) How can we translate our quest into action? - by putting one foot in front of the other, and asking God to help us do so. A pinch of idealism sometimes helps.
Go ahead. Answer these questions on your blog, and let me know where to find it so we can link up with you.
Here are my other friends Synching up too:
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
Steve Hayes answers Brian's 10 Questions
Kieran the Celtic Rover answers Brian's Questions too