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Apr 08, 2008


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Does McLaren factor in who much wealth is created by activities that do not significantly deplete resources? Does he understand what wealth is and how it is created?

I should probably read the book, but the snippets you provide are exasperating enough. I should probably stay away it for my own spiritual health!

Michael W. Kruse

Peter, I honestly don't think McLaren has seriously wrestled with economic questions.

In the realm of science, I’m and old earth theistic evolutionist. When I read Young Earth Creationist views, there is a disposition that says we need not concern ourselves with what science says because, after all, science is just theonaturalism that emerged from the Enlightenment (to play off McLaren’s approach.) So we start from a “nonideological” truth that we know (six 24 hour creation days) and work from there.

I get a strong sense that McLaren may see the field of economics much like Young Earth Creationists see science. He might say, “Economics is just an Enlightenment ideology, it is theocapitalism, and we need not concern ourselves with what it says. We begin with truths we know from elsewhere (i.e., resources are running out, sharing vs profit seeking, etc.) and work from there."

“I should probably stay away it for my own spiritual health!”

And that is why I said at the beginning of this series that I debated whether I should even review this book. This book is so inflammatory.

I think the big emotional kicker for me as that I had seen Emergent as a place where good creative and careful thought was being given to certain aspects of our discipleship. I once saw this as a place where in depth thought could be given to integrating faith and commerce with Christian fellowship. After many months, I’m still going through stages of grief over loss of that vision. :)

McLaren is not Emergent, nor does he officially speak for Emergent, but I’ve been around the Emergent world long enough to know that he expresses the views shared by a broad swathes of the Emergent community. Will I’ve seen several critiques of his book I haven’t yet found anyone who takes issue with his economic characterizations (on the contrary, often glowing praise.) This superficial analysis and vitriolic presentation is not something I care to invest my time with and it just makes me angry.

Dennis Sanders

Back in 1999, I went to Mainland China and Hong Kong as part of a cross-cultural class I took while in seminary. One night we walked around Kunming, the capital city of Yunan Province in Southwestern China. Like a lot of China, Kunming was rapidly modernising, with new buildings going up all over the place. I remember two of the students talking about what a shame it was that they were adopting "Western" traits of modernization that would lead to pollution and the like. I didn't say anything, but I found their reasoning odd. Did they mean that China should remain dirt poor with people starving?

When I hear people like McLaren talk about the evils of capitalism and how a modernizing China and India will wreak havoc in the world, I wonder if they realize that such talk means keeping millions in utter poverty. That doesn't seem to adhere to the biblical principles of justice to me.

While McLaren doesn't speak for Emergent, a lot of emergents like him and will take his reguritated liberal Protestantism as gospel. And in the end, if we followed their ways, we would consign millions to poverty and disease because we don't want them to become "western." China and India won't become "western" they will make capitalism fit their context and will become their own societies that are healthier and wealthier than they were before and I think that is good for us all.

Captialism isn't of itself bad. What is bad is avarice and making capitalism an idol-things over people, people or things over God.

Michael W. Kruse

I fear there is a new Western imperialism that romanticizes poverty in these nations. I've been in similar circumstances to the one you are describing.


This is dangerous stuff.
If McLaren does not understand the problem that he thinks he sees, he will no doubt come up with dangerous solutions.

Michael W. Kruse

"...he will no doubt come up with dangerous solutions."

Of course, he probably would say the same about me. :)

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