Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brian McLaren and the Royal "We"

Brian McLaren is not my favorite person. Let's just put it that way. Here goes.

With all the angst about the economy, the deficit, and a looming government shut-down, I’m still concerned that we’re treating symptoms rather than diagnosing the underlying disease.

Well, actually, we aren't really treating the symptoms either. The Obama administration is treating the economy like a doctor who recommends whiskey for a diabetes patient, so he can feel better after a dog eats his toes.

I know something about this. I spent a week in the hospital last year having loads of tests done — blood work, heart scans, stress tests, and sonograms. I was discharged without a diagnosis, merely with hopes that by treating the symptoms, whatever was wrong would go away. It didn’t. It turned out my real problem was a tick-born disease,

Great analogy. Thanks, Brian. Use Deep Woods Off next time.

Too often, what we get instead of diagnosis is blame shifting, with Republicans and Democrats pointing across the aisle: “It’s their fault!” Or even less helpful, we get vicious scapegoating, where we vent our frustration and anxiety on some minority group — Muslims, gays, and immigrants for starters.

WE blame gays and immigrants? So is McLaren owning up to viciously scapegoating gays for the bad economy? Shame on you Brian McLaren, for viciously scapegoating gays.

"I viciously scapegoat gays,"

-Brian McLaren

Most of our spiritual leaders seem to be shirking their responsibility in this regard, leaving it up to Michael Moore, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert to challenge our conscience.

"Michael Moore, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert challenge my conscience"

-Brian McLaren

When will more and more pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams join together and lead their people in a process of national self-examination to deal with our spiritual deficit?

Note. Do any of my readers have any spiritual leaders who do not lead a process of dealing with your spiritual deficit? Like, you show up to service, and your pastor talks about the best happy hour specials or something? Is that true of ANYONE?

We would, among other things, have to face our humility deficit.

I shouldn't be snarky. Brian McLaren can teach us a thing or two about humility. After all, he just confessed that he viciously scapegoats gays for the economy. I wouldn't admit that. Of course, I don't do it either.

When things go wrong in the world, we have a well-practiced habit of blaming others

"I blame others"

-Brian McLaren

Charlie Sheen and Muammar Gaddafi might just offer us an exaggerated reflection of our own unacknowledged denial about our national arrogance.

The hell? What is unacknowledged denial? What does acknowledged denial look like? Acceptance? This sentence is an exaggerated reflection of what happens when you use adjectives in lieu of analysis.

It’s astounding, when you think about it,

I just thought about it. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to declare that Gaddafi offers us an exaggerated reflection of our unacknowledged denial.

that “American Exceptionalism” hasn’t been exposed as a cover for American arrogance; every time we pull out that verbal credit card, we add more to our national humility deficit.

Well THAT's astounding. Brian McLaren reminds me of those sportswriters who arbitrarily write a piece about how Derek Jeter is the best player of all time because he just plays the right way. I bet you, at some point in his life, Brian McLaren has said exactly that.

What portion of our anti-government sentiment, truth be told, flows from a legitimate concern about government waste,

All of it. Seriously.

and what percentage flows from a “what’s mine is mine and to hell with anybody else” mindset?

None of it. Seriously.

Our “dress-for-success” religiosity, aimed at sending “vote for me” signals to winnable religious constituencies, will take us to a very different place than a sincere pursuit of naked spirituality will.

Shall I remind my readers that Brian McLaren helmed the Matthew 25 network, aimed at providing spiritual cover for the Obama campaign?

Could it be that oil spills in the outer environment manifest our spiritual failure to restrain greed? Could melting ice caps manifest an over-heated spiritual condition?

I remember when I was a Junior in high school. My teacher, Marie Abele, wrote in the margins of an essay "you use this word (manifest) a lot. Do you own a thesaurus?"

Could our insatiable budget for more and bigger weapons betrays a lack of faith in the power of nonviolent peace-making, that our nostalgia for a mythical good-old-days betrays our lack of hope in God’s guidance to a better tomorrow, and that our demonization of the other signifies our lack of love for God, neighbor, stranger, and enemy?

"Derek Jeter is the greatest of all time because he just plays the right way."

-Brian McLaren

In short, could our fiscal financial deficit be revealing a spiritual deficit — not just in “them,” but in all of us?

Possibly. I mean, you are demonizing the other, scapegoating the gays, being challenged by Michael Moore. You should repent, or something. Our sea levels are high enough, dammit.

Are we ready to go into treatment?
After you, sir. Take the ticks with you.


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