You see, I’ve been listening in on the conversations of the Emergent Church. You know, the one that people seem to think is dead (it’s not) and that caught a lot of flak from orthodox and evangelical leaders as being too liberal (they prefer to think of themselves as progressive, really). They say a lot of interesting things. Some of those things, particularly discussions about eschatology (End Times Talk; think Left Behind) and biblical inerrancy (the Bible has no errors) that have helped me a great deal in terms of expanding my horizons and articulating doubts I’ve had for some time about those subjects. They says some controversial things that I don’t know I fully agree with, like rejecting a literal resurrection or understanding God as non-theistic. I’m fine with them saying these things and developing them, mind you…just not in agreement.
It’s the second thing tends to get pretty redundant, for me at least. I think that Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan are great scholars. I think Matthew Fox says some pretty cool stuff about God and Jesus Christ. I just get tired of hearing about it over and over again.
Here’s where Theology from Exile enters: it seems to say a lot of the things the Emergent Church types like to say (mostly parroting the things Borg Crossan, and the like have said before), and it does so in the context of the Revised Common Lectionary, which I really don’t know anything about, because I grew up in a church that didn’t like Lectionaries or liturgy in general and still attend a church that makes absolutely no use whatsoever of said lectionary. Therefore, a commentary on said lectionary is pretty lost on a guy like me.
As you can imagine, I had a LOT of difficulty with this book. It’s not because it’s poorly written; it’s somewhere between dry and mildly juicy, but not attention grabbing. It’s not because I want to rail against the liberal/progressive/integral philosophy scholarship used to write it (though it’s pretty one-sided from the outset; don’t know what else I expected). I honestly can’t fully determine why this book remained pretty bland for me, but it did.
I’m not panning the book by any means. If you’re a pastor who uses the Revised Common Lectionary and is really into scholars like John Shelby Spong or Amy-Jill Levine and you want to shake up your Sunday mornings, then this might be right in your wheelhouse. Go for it. Check it out.
Me? All I can do is shrug and say…