This Living Church article wonders what Episcopalians can learn from Emergent church leader Brian McLaren. The answer would seem to be not a heck of a whole lot:
In Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional(InterVarsity), Jim Belcher describes the Emerging church as critiquing seven factors in the contemporary Church: “captivity to Enlightenment rationalism”; “a narrow view of salvation”; “belief before belonging”; “uncontextualized worship”; “ineffective preaching”; “weak ecclesiology”; and “tribalism.” McLaren hits all of these notes as well.
So far, so good.
McLaren finds the traditional narrative structure (often called by the shorthand “Creation, Fall, and Redemption”) incomplete, and more often a misleading way of understanding Jesus. These terms are misleading, in McLaren’s view, primarily because they are too focused on the individual.
No such thing as individual salvation. Check.
For McLaren, these themes emerge from thinking about Jesus less in terms of his descendants (Paul, Augustine, Luther, Wesley, Graham) than of his ancestors (Abraham, Moses, David, John the Baptist). Those familiar with Wright’s New Perspective on Paul will hear echoes of placing Jesus in his Jewish context. This leads to a de-emphasis on individualism and toward the centrality of community and the importance of structure.
Okay, we get it. Community and crap. Let’s move on to the Atonement, shall we?
Similarly, McLaren opposes descriptions of the Atonement as “cosmic child abuse” and teachings that depict God the Father acting violently toward God the Son. He says both perspectives are obstacles to non-Christians considering Christianity. “I think that the good news of Jesus actually is such good news that the world depends on that good news being embedded in people’s hearts,” he said in Minnesota.
The Atonement’s icky. BMac’s firing on all cylinders. Dead solid perfectEpiscopal pitch. Get that man a crozier and miter the day before yesterday.