Had a chance to hear Brian McLaren speak on Minnesota Public Radio (yes, on the radio!) today on the way to the airport. I found his personal story and way of thinking quite compelling — and delightfully so.
In his closing comments, he reflects on the upcoming 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of a Wittenberg church — and calls for a new discourse for Christians in a world of ever-increasing pluralism:
"Theses are statements. Statements create debate. Sometimes, in the process, they create hate. And the result of debate is that we’ll end up in a new state. Maybe today what we need is not statements to create debate. Maybe today we need questions. Questions that create conversations. Conversations that create friendships. Friendships that bring us on a new quest. Statements to state; questions to quest. This, to me, is what a new kind of Christianity is about."
He also proposes ten questions Christians should be asking themselves:
What is the big narrative arc of the Christian story?
How do we negotiate authority?
Is God violent?
Who is Jesus, and why is He important?
What is the gospel? Is it good news for Christians only or is it good news for everyone?
What are we going to do about the Church?
How can we talk about the sex issue without dividing from each other? How can we live with differing opinions?
What kind of future do we anticipate?
How do we relate to people of other faiths?
What do we do about these first nine questions? How do we talk about them without killing each other?
I sure hope we book him some day. Perhaps this fall…?