Q: Why did Brian McLaren Cross the Road?

A: He was stapled to the chicken.

Ros, Linus and I have just been to a discussion evening, hosted by Greenbelt, in which Brian McLaren talked about a new book of his that deals with positive relationships between Christians and those of other faiths. We’ll all be writing a brief post based on the evening.

The anti-comedic title of the book is:

Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?

and my initial response was that they’d seen Sheldon Kopp approaching and were off to look for George Herbert in whatever country parsonage he was holed up in.

Then I started listening.

The most outstanding moment of the evening came when Brian used Gregory of Nyssa’s description of the relationships within the Trinity as a starting point for talking about a possible way for us to relate to one another. But it does raise a question that troubles me:

That difference is to be celebrated without any party lording it over the others, is as it should be. That this celebration can entail a preference for our own way of being and doing is all very well. But is there a point at which our believing we are right and others are wrong (as seems to be the case with anybody believing anything) will get in the way – not of polite discourse but of our respect for ‘the other’?

Or, is that the whole point – that there is no ‘Other’, just people who believe different (to a greater or lesser degree) things to us and that our purpose as Christians is to love them as we love ourselves?

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