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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On seeing Bruce McLaren and Shane Claiborne on TV last night


Last night, I caught an episode of “Red Letter Christianity” on JUCE TV, in which Tony Compolo and Shane Claiborne interview Bruce McLaren. I was familiar with McLaren's name via his being quoted by Frank Viola, and one, when having to kill time in a mall a few years ago, got to read a few pages of one of his books while on a bookstore. As I say all too often, I don't think as well as I did up to a few years ago, so I really couldn't get into reading some less than basic theology, but I recognize that he is respected by some people whose thinking I respect. At whatever level, I would guess that that is the real reason behind which leaders we pay attention, and which ones we either don't or don't go out of the way to consider. Anyway, the program was a level above the level of thought that usually appears on the TBN family of networks. As the program was only one half hour long, they couldn't get too heavily into any one subject.

I think that I had heard Shane Claiborne's name before, but didn't know anything about him. Let us just say his physical appearance got my attention. While McLaren appears as a conservative dressing, middle aged Caucasian male, and Compolo similar and maybe a decade older (I guess I could have taken the time to look up their ages on the net, but that's not the point), Claiborne is younger, also Caucasian, and has nearly belt length red dreds. From being a foster parent, I know second hand how difficult it is for most white folks to get dreds right (but, then again, that might have been the makeup folks, although my gut feeling is probably not). Anyway, I got on my computer to try to find out a little more about what he has had to say.

To that effect, I wound up at Rachael Held Evans' blog (another name I have heard of, but knew little about), where, on her February 27, 2013 post, has him do a guest Q&A. It is an interesting group of comments on some controversial issues, including the proper role of the church in the world, and homosexuality, and how the gay community perceives Christians as being near-polar opposite of what we espouse to be. Claiborne makes some comments which are worth thinking through, although done in the process of not answering the actual question asked. This rings my bell in what I have said previously about various Christian leaders avoiding answering or even speaking about certain difficult questions, in that I perceive that Claiborne, in these answers, actually says more than if he had addressed the direct question. Evans, later, in answering a comment, points out that Jesus, in the Gospels, oftentimes did the same thing, and that can be a lesson for us. 

Let me say that this is not a hard and fast rule—I don't believe it is an excuse for a certain preaching “star” avoiding telling the world where he got his earned doctorate, or another one from articulating his view on a basic doctrine by using words that have a clear meaning in Buddhist theology, but not in Christian theology. Of course, except in our media age, I probably wouldn't know those two persons exist. 

All this is, in part, because of a sentence Rachael Held Evans wrote, which sums up why I have not written a blog on all kinds of subjects:
“...I'm still trying to figure out how to articulate my thoughts well.”

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