I’m only about a quarter of the way through but I think this is McLaren’s best work in a long time. For his neo-Evangelical critics out there, the book is chock full of scriptures to support McLaren’s call for a radical church makeover. The following is the prologue to the first section of Brian’s book and I think it somewhat relates to my previous post. I think he is doing a pretty good job of describing the typical American church – conservative, liberal, Evangelical or Progressive.
You can’t go on a quest if you’re locked in a closet, cell, or concentration camp. And you won’t go on a quest if your captivity is sufficiently comfortable. That’s where we find ourselves: in a real-life version of the classic movie The Truman Show. We live in a comfortable captivity. Everywhere we turn we are surrounded by padded chairs, nice broadcasts of music and teaching, pleasant lighting and polite neighbors, all designed and integrated to keep us content under the dome. Life inside the dome is so perfect that every day we feel a little more afraid of the cold, unedited world outside.
The chains, locks, bars and barbed wire that hold us are usually disguised so well that they have a homey feel to us. We see our guards not as guards at all, but as pleasant custodians in clerical robes or casual suits. They’ve been to graduate school where many of them mastered the techniques of friendly manipulation, always with a penetrating smile and a firm, heavy hand on the shoulder. We like them. They like us.
The high-tech security system that holds us inside the dome can be unlocked, should we ever wish to leave. The key is a question. When you ask it, something clicks, and you are free.
“The key is a question. When you ask it, something clicks, and you are free.” Man, that really says it all. It was my questions, and not the church’s answers, that helped me escape the numbing bondage of ‘this is the way its always been done’ ecclesiology. Where God’s spirit is, there is freedom.