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A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, ... Emergent, Unfinished Christian Hardcover – 1 Sep 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (1 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310257476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310257479
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 2.5 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 632,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed- yet hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian. A confession and manifesto from a senior leader in the emerging church movement. A Generous Orthodoxycalls for a radical, Christ-centered orthodoxy of faith and practice in a missional, generous spirit. Brian McLaren argues for a post-liberal, post-conservative, post-protestant convergence, which will stimulate lively interest and global conversation among thoughtful Christians from all traditions. In a sweeping exploration of belief, author Brian McLaren takes us across the landscape of faith, envisioning an orthodoxy that aims for Jesus, is driven by love, and is defined by missional intent. A Generous Orthodoxy rediscovers the mysterious and compelling ways that Jesus can be embraced across the entire Christian horizon. Rather than establishing what is and is not 'orthodox, ' McLaren walks through the many traditions of faith, bringing to the center a way of life that draws us closer to Christ and to each other. Whether you find yourself inside, outside, or somewhere on the fringe of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy draws you toward a way of living that looks beyond the 'us/them' paradigm to the blessed and ancient paradox of 'we.' Also available on abridged audio CD, read by the author. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Brian D. McLaren (MA, University of Maryland) is an author, speaker, activist and public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian pastored Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. Brain has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors for over 20 years. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings in the US and internationally. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There's no doubt that McLaren is controversial, especially in the Christian community in his home country. They see him as a stirrer, someone making trouble, leading the church to the edge of spiritual bankruptcy, holding out a dangerous and relativistic message. "God is for you, so it doesn't really matter what you believe". For sure, it's a pretty hollow charicature.
On the other hand, McLaren really is a stirrer - in the same way that fish die in an aquarium where the water is not oxygenated, the author understands that there is a type of stagnancy in much modern Christian thinking. All the important questions are perceived to have been asked, the answers have ben provided, so it's really just a question of who's in and who's out. And of course, if you are a protestant evangelical, the chances are that your particular tradition has had up to 500 years to define exactly who is out, with ever increasing degrees of theological hair-splitting.
McLaren's key thought is that removing the message of Jesus from the constraints of a modern worldview and allowing it to breathe again in the relatively unconstrained emerging postmodern culture, allows for a deeper and better understanding of what it means to live collectively as Christians.
Or to put it another way, Christians have spent so long worrying about the purity of our beliefs, the quality of our Orthodoxy, that we have in many instances become sub-Christian, in that we have forgotten HOW we must put our beliefs into action (Orthopraxy). The New Testament was written decades after the death of Jesus and is in many ways, the theology that emerged after reflecting on the mission that had happened. But somehow it has become a flat, historical record of detached 'truth' used to identify and judge outsiders.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved Brian McLaren's "A New Kind of Christian", a book that opened up a whole new world for me of possibilities of staying within the Christian faith, something on which I had almost given up. Rob Bell's "Velvet Elvis", in a different way, did the same. So I approached this next book by McLaren feeling exceptionally positive towards him and his writing.

I wasn't disappointed. However this book is very different than "A New Kind of Christian". Once you get past the amusingly-titled but a little wordy Chapter 0 McLaren goes on a tour through different denominations and styles within Christianity, highlighting the good points about them (as well as looking at the bad), showing what we can all learn from this part of the church, and taking those good parts in order to build them into a new 'generous' orthodoxy. It's a great idea and it's also good to read a book which is very positive about so many denominations.

Of course there are the negatives, and Brian says that he is from a particular part of the church and so perhaps he gives them a harder time (the conservative evangelical/fundamentalist wing). As this coincides very much with how I feel about that branch of Christianity that's no problem for me but I suppose readers from that tradition might find it uncomfortable reading at times. We're left in no doubt that McLaren is not a big fan of televangelists but he is a strong supporter of the green movement, that he is learning more to value the Roman catholic and Anglican ideas about liturgy and the mystical side of the church.
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Format: Hardcover
If you visit the US Amazon site you'll see endless reviews of this book that suggest that Brian is going to destroy the church with his 'heresy'. However, I can't for the life of me see how those who have read this book properly and allowed it to speak clearly can call it heresy, challenging - yes, stretching -yes, generous - yes, heresy - NO!
In this book, Brian takes a look at the parts of the Christian church that he finds helpful in his journey and for many it's a breath of fresh air, the only thing that annoys me is that I didn't write the book first. We have so much to learn from our Christian brothers and sisters, and learn from their successes and mistakes.
This book is not an easy read, not because he is a complex and inarticulate writer, but because there are moments when you are taken beyond the margins of your own thinking, your own experiences, your own traditions, your own prejudices, your own stupidity.
Some will hate this book I'm sure, especially those with nothing left to learn, who have everything nailed down, sown up and are waiting for the rest of us to catch up with you... in the meantime the rest of us can continue on our humble journey of discovery with Jesus.
An important contribution for the church in this century, read it if you dare.
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Format: Paperback
McLaren's attempts to redefine Calvinism (see earlier review on 29th May) and also Protestantism (replacing "protest" with "pro-testify") seemed a little over ambitious to me and also a bit cheesy! I still think this is an excellent book though and well worthy of 5 stars. Chapter 0 was amusing and did help to prepare the reader for what was to come but I did think he overdid the naval gazing a little and it did get a bit tedious in places!

The main thing that comes through in this book is not a religious doctrine but an attitude of heart and I think any reader (certainly myself!) would do well to learn from this, even if you don't find yourself in agreement with all of his conclusions.

To many evangelicals I think this book will be the breath of fresh air they've been waiting for, but to others, some parts at least will seem a radical - even dangerous - departure from the beliefs and traditions they're familiar with.

All I can suggest is that you read it with an open mind - which is all I think McLaren is asking of his readers - and remember that he isn't right about everything, and neither is he claiming to be!
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