The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

My Photo
Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

"A Generous Orthodoxy"

I'm reading Brian McLaren's "A Generous Orthodoxy." It's been something of a slow read, but not near as slow as G.K. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy."

I immediately encountered three problems:

  • For the first 20-plus pages, I was certain Brian was in need of a talented editor.
  • He could have used an even better typographer. My gosh! The footnotes are in something smaller than agate type ... and I love footnotes!
  • The 10-page introduction was gracious plenty, but then Brian goes on for about 14 more pages of what could only be called a second introduction, warning why certain people should not read the book. I nearly gave up then -- not because I fell into any of the categories he detailed, but because I doubted his ability to tell the story. I found myself wishing I had not sought the book for Christmas.

However, I have just finished the first "real" chapter and Brian spent a great deal of time talking about the very things that interest me, foremost being the Trinity. When he began to speak of the Divine Dance of perichoresis, I was reminded of a course I took about a year ago where Domenic Nigretti first introduced me to that phrase. I was mesmerized as Domenic spent about three hours on the topic of the Trinity. Not once was I bored.

In that chapter, "The Seven Jesuses I Have Known," Brian touches on the various Christian traditions, from Conservative Protestant to Liberation Theology. Again, topics which tend to catch my interest. He sums it up in a way that is very inviting to me: Why not celebrate them all?

This is a conversation that normally takes place in my newsroom, where I often get tagged as a "conservative," yet confound those who are doing the tagging when I speak of caring for the widow and orphan. After all, in the world's eyes, how can someone who appears so conservative want to feed the hungry? How can someone who believes that Jesus really did walk on water also believe that the two stories of creation are the result of oral tradition? How can someone who believes that Adam and Eve were actually real people, the result of God's creative hand, also maintain that the entire genealogy of the human race is not found in Scripture. (Hey, look at what John says about Jesus in John 21:22. If The Book isn't big enough to hold all of the works of Jesus, what makes us think it's big enough to hold all of mankind in the first 5,000 or whatever years?)

In short, I embrace the mysticism of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox, the freedom of the Spirit with Pentecostalism, the balance of United Methodism, the evangelism of Conservative Protestants, and the feet-on-the-ground discipleship of Liberal Protestants.

We have much to learn from each other; why not embrace the best that we see and discard the worst?

I look forward to plowing through the rest of Brian's book. It's still likely an easier read than Chesterton ...

Grace and peace ...