today, i received my review copy of mclaren's new book, Jesus' Great Big Secret (or something like that.)
i want to like mclaren, i do. he's a man who asks questions and i've always thought that by asking questions, at least you're not some guy's patsy. i also admire the effort it takes to rear up against a heavy orthodoxy like christianity; i admire the guts it takes to bear the brunt of criticism (since i do it so badly.)
but i tried to get through his book A Generous Orthodoxy and i confess i only made it halfway. i tried twice and each time, i failed. it was too muzzy. the book made me feel like i was drinking a glass of old wine. (and, let's face it - i thought it was boring. i mean, i've muddled through french feminist theory and this was worse than that.)
i fear his new one is even muzzier (though shorter.) already, in just the few pages of his introduction, i'm feeling the old fundamentalist in me squirm uncomfortably when he says:
They - I should say 'we' - feel that there's a missing puzzle piece without which the big picture won't snap into place. There's a hidden door somewhere behind a curtain or bookcase, and through that door there are rooms we've never imagined.
They - we - have this hunch that there's a secret we don't yet get. (xiii)
um, no. while i will cop to the fact that there are mighty things i question, there are aspects of doctrine (regarding sexuality and gender) that make the 21st century subject in me go, Hmmm - while there's all that, i do not doubt that my faith (and the basis of my faith) is complete.
he writes that his dissatisfaction is prompted by an 'intuition' that there is something more to jesus' message; i am curious to know what exactly is insufficient about christ's message now? why the need for an extrasensory perception when we're supposed to have the gift of the Holy Spirit?
and then this leads me to wonder what's missing so that mclaren needs all this extra stuff to fill it.
is it naive to just hold onto the sufficiency of His grace?
in the middle of all the things that throw me into doubt, this is the only thing that relieves me.
in the back of my mind i am hearing my dad's voice: 'apostate! heretic!'
i won't go so far as that (i'm only on page 25, after all) but i'll admit that there are red flags popping up and bells ringing all over the place as i read this.
i'll share more, of course, as i go through. and it's interesting i'm having this reaction - me, the woman who'd rather chew glass than go back to being an evangelical baptist.