Over the past week or so I’ve been considering a particular criticism of Brian McLaren (I’ve mentioned this before) which is uncharitable and not entirely factually accurate, though it does have a point or two to make. This particular critique is still under the EC-Radar, so nobody’s really reacted or responded to it as far as I know. I was considering doing so because it has particular interest for many people I know, but I think now if I do so, it probably won’t be public, and may only be for my own personal benefit.
Last night, Doug Pagitt posted “A Collective Response to Critics” (also leaked by Andrew Jones) which has been picked up by Steve McCoy as well as Brian Baute and The Ooze Blog and by the time I finish writing this, I expect a host of others. Much discussion is likely on blogs everywhere, but expected notably following the post on the Emergent-US Blog, which also has the document in html format.
I read the document (PDF) (link is a local mirror to save Doug and Andrew some bandwidth) last night very shortly after it appeared, and then slept on it. This morning I’ve reviewed it again, and here’s what I have to say:
This document is the single most important four pages of text that the EC has to guide itself in dealing with criticism. I urge everyone to review it for themselves, regardless of what you know about EC or how you view it. Anyone who identifies with EC and who has faced criticism or been otherwise bothered by how we’re viewed elsewhere is henceforth indebted to the documents authors, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones, and Chris Seay. Does the EC movement have leaders? Yes, servant leaders who don’t lord it over their “subjects”, who don’t clamor for authority, who lead by example, and who exhibit a Christlike attitude in the face of adversity. Rather than presume to speak for the movement they simply speak, and so doing set an example which they may hope for others to follow. Gentlemen, we thank you.
In reading the document, this comes to mind:
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
as does this:
And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer.
I ask the document’s composers, please create a place where others of us can virtually sign the document, affirming the position you have taken and allow me to be the first to sign in support.