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Mar 14, 2008


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It would seem then that McLaren might be operating with an assumed enlightenment/modern theory of society more in tune with Lockean social contract theory (or maybe Roussean) than with the Biblical corpus. Of course, he might not be aware of this and might not intend to operate within such a framework. However, if your reading is correct, it seems the conclusion that he is doing so is unavoidable.

Michael W. Kruse

Exactly, Peter. The Enlightenment has brought us the endless debate about sovereignty. Does it originate from the people (popular sovereignty) or from the state (state sovereignty)?

McLaren (and many Emergent folks) is recoiling at what he sees as a baptism of libertarianism as Christian gospel by the Religious Right, and what he perceives as a framing-story based on individualism and greed. Fair enough. But, IMO, he is blind to the virtual baptism of state run societies (whether in milder terms of progressivism or full-blown socialism) by other groups of Christians including most of Mainline Christianity. Masquerading as social justice, it is in reality narcissism. Making the state responsible for all our needs, we can go about “being ourselves” absolved of the consequences of our actions and freed from personal responsibility for taking care of our families and neighbors (that’s the governments job).

I fear this in merely the exchange of the Religious Right for the Religious Left, not an emerging understanding for being the church in the twenty-first century.

Darren Belajac

Michael, I agree, this is what I was mentioning in my comment two days ago. I just wonder how McLaren's framework might stem from a bankrupt ecclesiology.

Michael W. Kruse

I don’t know if there is a bankrupt ecclesiology, but it doesn’t strike me as particularly emergent.

I confess that one of the most confounding things to me about a lot of the emerging church stuff is the disconnect between ecclesiology and views on politics. The church is cast as generative cells, living in authentic community, networked together, with order emerging from chaos, and without hierarchical top-down structures. As I understand it, this is the thinking behind even having the Emergent Village. Then when we come to politics, there are only individuals and the state, and intermediary communities that “spring up to supplement” the work of the big hierarchical top-down structure.


The suicide machine sounds like a re-run of the Club of Rome. :-O

Michael W. Kruse

Malthus lives! :)

This is one of the biggest issues I'm going to be addressing when I start presenting my perspective on Tuesday.

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