Like the other parts of this book, Part X: The What-Do-We-Do-Now Question is divided into three chapters that I will address in turn.
Chapter 20: How Can We Translate Our Question Into Action?
He opens with one of the quotes that has always appealed to me from Acts 5:38-39 (It's accuracy is debatable but it poses an interesting question that can be applied to all major religions) - the words are said by Rabbi Gamaliel, speaking out against those who wish to destroy Christians.
So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; 39but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!’
What does a quote like this mean for religious pluralism? Can this statement not be applied to all of the world religions? Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism itself are all validated in this quote's framework if we consider a religion's success based on numbers and longevity.
The other quote, McLaren's own that I appreciated (on page 227) was this:
When the head, heart and hand come together...then faith, reason and tradition will come together too, and personal and social holiness will be for us two expressions of one great love.
He then went on to do something that was a combination of mixed metaphors and gave me pause. Like many others who want to take a macrocosmic view at history, McLaren took a stab and describing the history of Christianity in terms of seven stages - complete with their own colors. The easiest way for me to explain it is to do a diagram:But wait! We're all at different places in this quest! (233)
And each part is not better than the one before it, "the new stage into which we are growing isn't right; it's simply appropriate and adequate for the challenges we now face"(237) - but isn't this sentence implying that there is one that's preferable, because it's more appropriate? - so zones red through violet are inappropriate - well, that's not stopping anyone from feeling those ways long past they are acceptable to people from the "higher rungs (of the metaphorical religion ladder)" (237).