Beyond 'Right Thinking'

When I read Jim Wallis'

When I read Jim Wallis’ The Soul of Politics during college, my worlds were exceedingly polarized - much like the U.S. is today - between my fundamentalist campus ministry community and my secular activist friends. Reading Wallis’ synthesis of faith and politics made it much easier to say to both communities, "see - this is the kind of Christian I am."

Since then, it’s proven harder to articulate my theology than it is to claim my politics. My Mennonite tradition resonates most deeply, but in conversation it often gets a blank stare or questions about buggies and the Amish. "Progressive evangelical" - another imperfect label - gets translated alternately as "liberal" by those who mistrust progressives and "fundamentalist" by those who mistrust evangelicals. I need better words.

Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy begins to articulate a faith that values the core of a Christ-centered faith without falling into the dogmatism often associated with definers of orthodoxy - literally, "right thinking." The title phrase was coined by Yale theologian Hans Frei, whom McLaren quotes in his introduction: "[W]e need a kind of generous orthodoxy which would have in it an element of liberalism…and an element of evangelicalism."

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Sojourners Magazine February 2005
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