Monday, January 21, 2013

Everything Must Change, Part 2

I am going to do this a little different than I did last week.  Last week, I broke all the questions up into separate posts.  This week I am going to put them into a single post.  If you would like to comment, just click on the comment button and join our discussion.


Two quotes to think about as we begin this afternoon.  Feel free to reflect on them.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land.  They said, ‘Let us pray.’  We closed our eyes.  When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
Desmond Tutu

McLaren suggests that the “world’s most serious problems are linked in a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle.  The global problems I had been studying weren't like an uncoordinated herd of stampeding buffalo or a flotilla of stinging jellyfish; they were like a single system, a single mechanism of awe-inspiring engineering and roaring power.” (p. 52)

He calls this cycle that we have created a metaphorical suicide machine. 
(Taking this term from Jared Diamond, David Korten and Leonardo Buff.)

He says: “I hope that suicide machine can serve as a hopeful metaphor (among others) for the systems that drive our civilization toward un-health and un-peace.  It can help us visualize the way several facets of contemporary life connect, gear in gear, to destroy good and living things, devalue what is precious, overvalue what is worthless, foul up the results of millions of years of evolution, and so desecrate and frustrate what I believe is a sacred and ongoing world of the Creator, in us, among us, and through us.” (p. 53)

Does this metaphor of “Suicide Machine” work for you?  Why or why not?


McLaren suggested that there are four cogs or wheels in the metaphor of the “suicide machine”.  What are they?  Do you agree with them?

How does it feel to consider yourself as part of a social machine? 
What experiences make you feel this way?
When do you feel free from the machine?

What do you think are the three biggest crises in the world today?

Do you see any spiritual dimensions that help you to better understand how the world works?

Beginning in chapter 9, McLaren develops the idea that stories that we tell ourselves “frame” how we look at things.

He writes: “If our framing story is wise, strong, realistic, and constructive, it can send us on a hopeful trajectory.  But if our framing story is dysfunctional, weak, false, unrealistic, or destructive, it can send us on a downward arc, a dangerous, high-speed joyride toward un-peace, un-health, un-prosperity, and even un-life.” (p. 67)

On page 67 he suggests how a framing story affects us and our community.

Do you agree or disagree with him?

Beginning on page 72 he suggests that we need an alternative framing story.  In order to develop that alternative framing story we need look at Jesus differently.  McLaren writes:  “For Jesus to save the system, we must first, in a sense, save Jesus ---- by reframing him outside the confines of our dominant and largely unquestioned assumptions.” (p. 73)
Do you agree that we need to “save” Jesus?

We will not meet next week (I will be at Stetson University at their Winter Pastor’s School, hopefully on Monday playing a little golf --- forecast right now is for the weather to be in the 70’s).

We will continue on Monday, February 4th at noon at Ridge Church.  We will be looking at part three of Everything Must Change, chapters 10-14).  Bring a lunch and join us, or follow here on my blog!

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