McLaren’s book is the last in his “New Kind of Christian” trilogy. Written as novels, the series has raised many of the questions found in the Emerging church movement as “Pastor Dan” moves from conservative evangelicalism to a more post-modern Emergent position. McLaren uses The Last Word and its characters to attempt to deconstruct the Christian concept of Hell. He raises a lot of questions. Ones I now have to work through for myself.
Wallis’ book, subtitled “Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It” calls Christians on both political wings to return to our biblical roots of social justice and concern for the poor and marginalized. He challenges the Religious Right to examine it’s Empire building motives and return to a biblical worldview – and challenges the Left to engage in dialogue that recognizes the profoundly positive impact people of faith have had and are having in our world. Bono is quoted on the book jacket:
“The Left mocks the Right. The Right knows it’s right. Two ugly traits. How far should we go to try to understand each other’s point of view? Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue.”
I confess I’m tired of judgmental evangelicalism. I’m tired of pat answers – tautological arguments that allow for only one viewpoint. But I also confess that I have not lost hope. The smell of change is in the air. People are beginning to let the Scriptures read them rather than reading their own positions into it, and are being changed in the process. Perhaps a New Kind of Christian is emerging. People who can change the world by their actions – rather than attempt to control it by their words.
Read the books. Let me know what you think.