Today’s guest quote is by Brian McLaren, from “A New Kind of Christianity”
But very few Christians today, in my experience anyway, have given a second thought to—much less repented of—this habitual, conventional way of reading and interpreting the Bible that allowed slavery, anti-Semitism, apartheid, chauvinism, environmental plundering, prejudice against gay people, and other injustices to be legitimized and defended for so long. Yes, we stopped using the Bible to defend certain things once they were “discredited by events,” but we still use the Bible in the same way to defend any number of other things that have not yet been fully discredited, but soon may be. By and large, few of us have become self-critical regarding our assumptions about the Bible and our ways of using it that flow from those assumptions, often leading to “discredited” results. That self-critical turn is at the heart of the second passage in our quest. Our quest for a new kind of Christianity requires a new, more mature and responsible approach to the Bible.
We pursue this new approach to the Bible not out of a capitulation to “moral relativism,” as some critics will no doubt accuse, but because of a passion for the biblical values of goodness and justice. Our goal is not to lower our moral standards, but rather raise them by facing and repenting of habits of the mind and heart that harmed human beings and dishonored God in the past. We have no desire to descend a slippery slope into moral compromise; rather, we admit that we slid down the slope long ago, Bibles in hand, and we need to climb out of the ditch before we are complicit in more atrocities. Repentance means more than being sorry—it means being different.