From a Book Review on the book A New Kind of Christianity by Brian D. McLaren:
The central thesis, to which McLaren returns frequently to indicate its wide implications, is that Christian faith was terminally skewed when it was distilled through the Greco-Roman (imperial) worldview. This worldview resulted in a version of Christianity that was at once triumphalistic and reductive—a Chris tianity that was mainly about what happens after death. McLaren argues that the central message of Jesus, the kingdom of God and the life it entails, was lost or overlooked. There is important truth in this argument, perhaps especially for the world of American evangelicals, among whom it does sometimes seem that a version of Paul has eclipsed Jesus. I am less sure that it is helpful for the Protestant mainline and liberal Christianity.I cannot speak for others. My road to Cultural Christianity is one of a personal sense of failure in my search for the real Jesus in the Gospels.
My search is perhaps the same that many others have had. They perhaps too have faded away from the Christianity or a feeling of such to match that from their youth.
What I have seen in the number of people joining mega churches or in evangelical revivalism is a growth in numbers without in many cases a growth in the Spirit within those institutions.
Too many people are clinging to the book of the Bible as some sort of magic tell all sort of medicine for everyday life and the life presumed afterward. These people I do not identify with.
That a man of simple faith if he reads and rereads the New Testament begins to see the flows and flaws of the original writers and they seem to be many. That since the Enlightenment, people have been willing to speak of discrepancies in the book. That was before modern scientific and historic research that puts us many times at odds with what a Christian is supposed to believe – that and what the life and message of Jesus probably was and glossed over or not mentioned in the official rule book of the New Testament. You do not need a masters degree or a PhD in theology to know that the Bible is an imperfect man-made book.
The quote above regarding the quest of one man and minister to find a New Way of looking at God and Jesus as well as the institution of Christianity - reminds me so much of how we see the world from the ancient writings does not match with how we now perceive our place in the universe.
That man’s nature as one of a sinner is a primitive way of looking at man who is both part human and part animal. That sin in many cases crosses swords with basic animal instincts and chemicals such as hormones. The myth of man is that man is made in the image and likeness of God – but what God – is he, she, it half God and half Instinct?
The rule book method I think puts the possibilities of a New Christianity on hold in the present world. How many of us when we get a new phone, or microwave oven or TV or automobile really read the instruction book word by word and letter by letter? In the same vein, how can you find the Spirit of God and or Jesus in an imperfect book in these imperfect times? The book at best should only be used as a guide in times when the Spirit moves you to read it and hopefully understand what you are reading in a higher light than the actual meaning and any mere man made words – in other words – to connect with the Spirit.
There is room for improvement in Christianity. There is also a terrible amnesia about the life, message and purpose of the life of Jesus. That amnesia should be sought out for a cure and the gaps filled in on hazy memory. All I know is that when I go into some churches, it may or may not have the Spirit I think it should have. If not, I continue on my quest to find a home here on earth while awaiting for the veil on the next life to be lifted and understood when I arrive there.