Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Story We Find Ourselves In

The story we find ourselves in –brian mclaren c2003
Book two of a three book series
A New Kind Of Christian
The Story We Find Ourselves In
The Last Word And The Word After That
This book has a pretty good idea, but the foundation and acceptance of evolution being right poorly skew most of the foundation arguments of the book. (After the many science articles I have read about evolution there is, in my opinion, more faith required for this scientific theory than is needed to believe in the easter bunny.) So by trying to base the arguments on evolution the result is very unsound theology. And while some ideas sound plausible in the short term when they are brought out into eternity (the same amount of time available for evolution) the conclusion is awry.

The largest of these theologically is it is assumed that as time continues that Christianity will take hold and the world will evolve towards the perfection of heaven on earth. Yet why then do we even need Christ, why over and over again is it said in the Bible that the world get worse for followers before it becomes renewed?

I have not yet decided if I am for or against the idea that the sin of man was gradual vs. starting with a single event (eating an apple.) Did Adam and Eve sin small while their son committing murder larger? Then the reasoning behind the sin in the book… God intended people to be dependant on him by following animals around, hunter gatherers. But when Cain settled down on land and owned it he killed his brother for using ‘his’ land. The conclusion is that God wanted us to be dependant on God by being dependant on roaming around. Why then is the future heaven described as a new City of Jerusalem?

The books does show the process of how and why a person would still want to accept Christ as a personal savior, and rightly struggles with why / how Christ dying on the cross can really work to get us in alignment with God.

My notes while reading the book:
Pxiv The goal of this book is to help ‘nonreligious be spiritual’ people discover how their lives in the context of this new old story, while helping modern Christians re-imagine our story beyond the grid of its modern telling.

Pxv do not accept the answers as right, but challenge to develop your own view that is better than this book has. [and I have / am if you look at my other posts]

P14 ‘then the bible was read aloud… then two questions were asked, what did you notice? what struck you?’ … followed by How does this relate to your life?’

P17 ‘Carol and I have been in pastoral ministry and around death and dying long enough to know that the best thing to do at times like this is not to offer assurances, but just listen. “I’m sure you’ll be just fine’ is intended to cheer up the person in pain, but it also give the unintended message ‘your not allowed to talk about death.” Dying is hard enough, but dying and not being able to talk about it – if you want to and need to talk – is harder still.’

P20 he was totally devoted to God, but not religious about his spirituality, it is like ‘he discovered a whole new way of being a Christian’

P30 ‘let there be…’ God created something that is outside of himself. My personal example would be a model railroad designed to complete detail in my imagination, then the real one made created, and able to exist when my thoughts change. To build my railroad I used stuff that existed, when God created he made the stuff that exists.

P33 ‘for me [genesis] is a story that gives us in-formation a story that forms us inwardly with truth and meaning.’ It is not a facts story but an illustration story just like the Native American Indian stories are about their stories. But as it fits closer with science somehow it all needs to become science.

P37 God intended for people to have relationships, with people animals and Himself.

P40 God created us in his image to be partners in what he created,

P49 every thing is both supernatural, and everything is natural, God is involved in all we know and he is apart from all we know.

P52 God made the world good not perfect / ideal

P52 the evil of humanity does not erase the goodness of God

P54-55 the ‘fall’ sin of man is tied to physical and technology advancement if evolution is true [to me there are large enough gaps to say it is as true as if God was like a prolific artist making drawing after drawing each one slightly improved.] Adam and Eve had more knowledge than they could handle morally this lead to awkwardness
Hunter gathers dependent on the world must travel light developed language etc
Herders traveled with the animals in their care, must travel light
Crop growers can stay put have lots of stuff own land etc
Cain a crop grower killed Able a herder in a field (maybe over land use dispute?)
[I could see this for Cain and able but not Adam and eve, I think they were influenced]
p57 the next technological advance cities and bricks

p56 human beings intellect grow beyond their moral wisdom and self restraint

p56 if you live in a city you do not feel much need for God

p62 gods in Abrams time were territorial, on a river the next a plain, a mountain… if you lived somewhere you tried to appease the nearby gods because they could tend to get mean

p62 [the book seams not to acknowledge that God does interact with us like Abram realized on his own there is only one God]

p66 God wants his people to be a blessing to others that is why he blesses them


p82 The bible is a book that does not tell you what to think but how to think

P101 the world is real separate from god (it is not in Gods imagination)

P102 a theory is like looking out a window at the sky you cant see it all but with different windows you can get a fuller picture

P113 conversations don’t all need to be deep / spiritual

P117 we need to see Jesus relative to when he lived [Jesus would have done different things if he lived in 2007 Chicago.]

P121 Jesus was master to the disciples as a master craftsman has his students.

P127 A new kind of Christina called together to learn from Christ then sent out to be an example and teach others the same way of life.

P147 we see it all as the past event makes the next event happen… what if we are being pulled to a goal the final needs the event before it to happen etc. [God is not fixing a broken world as much as he is making the steps for a final complete world, like baking a cake has many steps before it is good]

P160 what Newton called laws seams more like language, less important than what they make possible. Just as grammar is less important than the conveyance words allow.

P165 Jesus was not about creating a new culture but about showing how all the current ones are part of God’s story of history.

P165 the ‘blocks’ of understood religion are good it is just they need to be rearranged.

P167 [Is heaven eternal a steady state bliss like a happy rock? Or is it a story, active, real, changing?]

P169 to the middle classes it is not good to make a little bubble of good family values but include the poor in what is good.

P187 On the Galapagos Islands animals are not afraid of people because humans care for them as what they are, not how they could be exploited.

My Conclusions:This book does exactly what it says it would, I do not agree with most of it, but it is making me take the time to think through what I do think.

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