Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Scotty McLennan - Jesus Was a Liberal

A large audience turned out on May 26th to hear Stanford Dean of Religious Life Scotty McLennan read from his new book, Jesus Was A Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All. Event host Marilyn Stoddard reports:

Scotty McLennan began by reading from his preface where he lays out some of the principles of liberal Christianity: The Bible is meant to be read largely metaphorically and allegorically rather then literally. We are committed to the use of logic, reason, and the scientific method. Love is the primary Christian value, and it is directly related to the promotion of liberty and justice in society at large. There are many roads to the top of the spiritual mountain, and Christianity is only one of them. We see Jesus primarily as a spiritual and ethical teacher. Living a fulfilled life here and now is more important than speculating on what happens after we die.

He says liberal Christians are tired of either being ignored or lumped together with the Christian right. Too many people equate the views of the Christian right to the views of all Christianity. His book covers a great deal of material. He has chapters on God, Jesus, the Bible, Christian doctrine, and the church year. He covers liberal approaches to the controversial issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, also to social issues such as poverty and the environment. He has a chapter on talking to atheists and Christian conservatives. He quotes the editor of "Christian Century," who observes that because toleration is one of the central values of liberals, they "don't like to fight, but instead are always trying to accommodate people, to be inclusive even of those who are trying to exclude them."

He ends by reaching out, talking about continuing to widen the circle. "A new Christianity for America and the world must remind us that we're all in this together." "Ultimately what matters most is love and community, including a commitment to social justice." He concludes his book with defining words he listed on the first page: "Liberal Christianity for the twenty-first century must lead the way through its firm commitment to progress, the essential goodness of humanity, tolerance, and freedom."

1 comment:

primavera123 said...

If you want a funny, irreverent take on the same topic, try Christopher Moore's "Lamb", the story of Jesus' early years as told by Biff, his childhood best friend. The anecdote of young Jesus getting in trouble when he revives his friend's pet lizard is priceless.