I first encountered Brian McLaren when I readhis book A New Kind of Christian in a Doctor of Ministry course. I thought he made some interesting points, but that there was a good deal of theological confusion in his “emergent” approach to the faith. Since then, I’ve seen him move in ever-more bizarre directions, one of which is characterized by this item that appeared today in USA Today:
Brian McLaren, a leader in the “emergent church” movement, says the three Abrahamic religions — Christianity, Judaism and Islam — are very dangerous.
“Christians, Muslims and Jews are, in some ways, the most dangerous people on the planet, and probably Christians being the most dangerous because their fingers are closer to the most nuclear weapons,” he told an audience here at Baker Book House.
But a new series of books on ancient religious traditions — including an introductory tome by McLaren — seeks to find unity in the ancient practices these religions share.
“If (Muslims, Christians and Jews) can find points of contact, maybe it will help us avoid pressing these buttons,” he said.
McLaren, a pastor, speaker and activist, spoke last week about some of his books, including his latest, Finding Our Way Again, which explores a return to ancient practices held in common by these three religions, such as fixed hours for prayer and observance of the Sabbath.
Sooooo…fixed hours of prayer and Sabbath observance (which I support whole-heartedly) are going to prevent Christians from destroying the world with nuclear weapons? It seems to me that Muslims are already pretty good at both spiritual disciplines, and yet it is from the most fanatically and legalistically observant part of the Muslim world (lots of whom, it should be added, live in Pakistan, which now has nuclear weapons) that much of the religiously inspired violence in the world emanates these days. George Bush (who also prays and attends church a lot) hasn’t pushed the nuclear button, but Osama bin Laden’s five-times-a-day prayer warriors brought down the World Trade Center, killed thousands in Iraq, killed hundreds in London, Madrid and Bali, etc. In other words….what the heck is McLaren talking about?