Brian McLaren recently stopped by in order to, I can only guess, further darken my already dark towels (you better know that reference). McLaren is the author of a number of books including, A Generous Orthodoxy, A New Kind of Christianity, and his most recent, Naked Spirituality.
Resisting the temptation to ask if he enjoyed playing John Locke on Lost, my first question, as you will see, revolves around an important eschatological issue that is, apparently, at the heart of his new book. I’m talking about nudity. I contend it is a crucial theological practice revealing God’s oh-so perfect intention/purpose/telos for creation. After all, how can the world ever come to know the beauty that is the human body if we don’t strut it? It’s a missiological issue to say the least.
Can I get a witness?
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH BRIAN MCLAREN
1) I’m really torn on your latest book, Naked Spirituality. I despise spirituality, but I love being naked. How do I bring those two together?
3) You only published two books in the first three months of 2011. Are you running out of ideas?
4) Greg Boyd recently yelled at me, in all caps no less, because I jokingly referred to him as a process theologian. Which leads me to this question: Is it more scandalous to be referred to as a process theologian, as Thomistic, or as McLarenistic?
Whew, that’s tough. It depends on who is giving and receiving the epithets, or compliments. I imagine there may be one or two people out there who are in the theological process of moving from Thomistic to McLarenistic tendencies, and I imagine there are some processing in the opposite direction too. (My sense is that most Thomists aren’t really going anywhere – remaining rather unmoved, and so faithfully bearing the image of the Unmoved Mover.) Actually, I think there are only four McLarenists in existence (thanks be to God!), and I used to be one of them but they kicked me out. One has barricaded himself in a closet at Liberty University, one is doing research at Wheaton College undercover as a TULIP Calvinist, one one is pretending to be my arch-critic as an editor at Christianity Today, and one is a professor at a Southern Baptist Seminary in Kentucky, but if asked, will deny he ever knew me.
5) Written any interesting ‘Afterwords’ recently?
Funny you should ask. I just wrote an afterword for a theological defense of vegetarianism, called “A Faith Embracing All Creatures.” And one of the best chapters in the book was by . . . well, he’s a fellow fan of the late great Steve Irwin, and your fiancee knows him well. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I’m not a vegetarian, although I seem to be moving in that direction, and the book is a strong nudge onward.
FOR PAST INTERVIEWS, check out Five Questions with: Amy Laura Hall, Stanley Hauerwas, L.D. Russell, Matt Litton, Jeffrey Pugh, Greg Boyd, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, and Shane Claiborne. Future interviews include: Debra Dean Murphy, Carol Adams, Marc Bekoff, Eric Bain-Selbo, Becky Garrison, Brooke Wilensky-Lanford, and many others I swindled into playing this game.
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.