for those of you who haven’t picked up brian mclaren’s new book, a generous orthodoxy, do yourself a favor and grab a copy. i have only two chapters left after starting it this morning, and i’ll probably finish it soon. a seriously good book.
on discussing “personal salvation”:
1. Can’t seeking my personal salvation as the ultimate end become the ultimate consumerism or narcissism? In a self-centered and hell-centered salvation, doesn’t jesus – like every company and political party – appeal to me on the basis of self-interest so that I can have it all eternally and can do so cheaply, conveniently, easily, and quickly? Doesn’t this sound a bit shabby?
2. Doesn’t being preoccupied with our own individual salvation put is in danger of being like selfish people on the Titanic who were scrambling for the life rafts, more concerned about themselves than others? Doesn’t it make us less concerned about the possibility of saving the whole ship? Doesn’t it reinforce exactly the kind of “sanctified self-centeredness” that the real Jesus would have condemned?
3. Doesn’t the very importance of my personal salvation pose a kind of temptation – to want heaven more than I want good; to want escape from hell more than I want true reconciliation to God or my neighbors? An overweight man was concerned about his weight, so he had a stomach bypass surgery, after which he continued to eat unhealthy foods. In the end he died sooner from a heart attack than he would have died from obesity. Couldn’t this approcah to salvation tempt us to be like this man? By wanting thinness more than he wanted health, he ended up with neither – this is the danger of wanting personal salvation above all.
4. And doesn’t the preoccupation with hell tempt us to devalue other things that matter? in other words, isn’t hell such a grave “bottom line” that it devalues all other values? It so emphasizes the importance of life after death that it can unintentionally trivialize life before death.
deep stuff. more to come.