Monday, October 06, 2008

McLaren, Three Birds, and No Perspective

In my morning blogoskim I noticed a couple of posts that seem to fit well with each other.

First, Denny Burk highlighted this section from Scot McKnight's CT article about Brian McLaren. McKnight has a deep appreciation for McLaren and his work, but also raises some concerns--the first of which is McLaren's lack of clarity and graciousness:
Despite his many proposals in these last two books, McLaren would rather ask a question and create a conversation than propound a solution. This style is an attribute of a good teacher. Yet having said that, I want to voice the frustration of many: McLaren's willingness to muddy the waters, which is characteristic of Generous Orthodoxy, goes only so far. Many of us would like to see greater clarity on a variety of questions he raises.

McLaren grew up among evangelicals; we'd like him to show the generosity he is known for to those who ask theological questions of him. The spirit of conversation that drives much of his own pastoral work urges each of us to answer the questions we are asked, and the Bible encourages those who ask those questions to listen patiently and to respond graciously. The lack of the latter has so far inhibited the former. This can be taken as a plea on behalf of all concerned to enter into a more robust, honest conversation.

I then read a post by Fred Sanders entitled Three Birds, No Perspective. It's a parable of sorts, using a six-year-old's drawing of three birds. I won't ruin it by trying to explain it here--but it's a helpful post reminding us about the importance of clarity.