Monday, March 24, 2008

Brian McLaren to speak at World Future Society

"After emergence comes emersion."
--Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (Harper, 1965), p. 309.

The World Future Society Annual Conference scheduled for July 26-28, 2008 in Washington, D.C. is featuring well-known Emergent leader Brian McLaren in a workshop called "The Future of the Religious Right." The conference promo bills this workshop as follows:

Political and media stereotypes in the United States often equate “religious” with “conservative,” but a new progressive reality is challenging the monologue of the Religious Right, coming from such groups as Sojourners, Emergent Village and renewed mainline congregations. We’ll explore the weak signals of change that are sounding across the religious landscape and how younger evangelicals are increasingly rejecting doomsday theology, preemptive war doctrine, the prosperity gospel, or a singular emphasis on individual salvation to focus on global climate change, genocide in Darfur, extinction of species, fair trade and ethical buying, exploitive employment practices, and community foresight. Three voices from the “emergent church” will explore this capacity of postmodern Christianity to embrace and redefine tradition, and further the cause of justice in the world.

Who should attend: Any futurist who feels that everything must change about religion and is curious about how progressive Christianity is a leading indicator of change.

What you’ll learn: Attendees will learn how to ground their leadership and foresight in the concerns of tomorrow’s spiritualities and relate religious concepts to futures thinking through a theology of hope.

How can this new knowledge be applied: Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of how postmodern spiritualities are reshaping conservative theologies and communities.

Diana Butler Bass, author, senior fellow, Cathedral College of the Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

Brian McLaren, pastor and thought leader for the emergent church; author, Laurel, Maryland

Mike Morrell, graduate fellow, Strategic Foresight, School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia

key words: religion, politics, globalization

issue areas: Values and Spirituality, Social and Cultural Trends [links added]

The World Future Society is a leading organization devoted to creating alternative future scenarios for planet Earth. According to Wikipedia, it has about 25,000 members in more than 80 countries.

Also listed on this year's conference program is evangelical leader Jay Gary, who has longtime associations with the World Future Society (see article written by Warren Smith entitled "Evangelicals and New Agers Together"). Gary was instrumental in writing the Perspectives course, which has trained an entire generation of missionaries in new theologies and practices.

Jay Gary and Brian McLaren have both been actively eschewing "doomsday" eschatologies, a fact which we have written about previously on Herescope (a very important read!). McLaren writes disparagingly of biblical prophecy, using extremely incendiary language and distortions:

"The Jesus of one reading of the Apocalypse brings us to a grim resignation: the world will get worse and worse, and finally this jihadist Jesus will return to use force, domination, violence, and even torture - the ultimate imperial tools - to vanquish evil and bring peace." (Everything Must Change, p. 146)

McLaren says that there needs to be a "rethinking" about eschatology, eradicating the belief about a Second Coming of Christ that is "characterized by violence, killing, domination, and eternal torture" (p. 144). He proposes an alternative Jesus of a "'flower child' theology" (although he doesn't like the term) protecting the "sacred ecosystem of God, which is the kingdom of God." (p. 142)

Surprisingly enough, creating alternative futures eschatology scenarios is not a new concept to the evangelical world. Evangelical leaders met together in the late 1970s for a series of two consultations on the future, and remarkably seemed to agree with featured speaker, Willis Harman, who was a leading Luciferian Theosophist and futurist closely associated with the World Future Society. Refer back to a series of posts ( also here, here, here and here) on Herescope in September 2005 for this unusual history.

Concerning the quotation at the top of today's post, refer to page 51 of the World Future Society conference brochure, where one can sign up to attend "The Future Evolution of Humanity, Consciousness, and the Human Mind," and learn "new modes of thinking and consciousness, more in tune with an evolving world and the future." Teilhard de Chardin's "Principle of Emergence" had to do with the consciousness of mankind breaking out collectively, creating an evolutionary convergence (a Noosphere built by spiritual formation) that would result in a "super-organism" of "collective mankind " (quotes from The Phenomenon of Man and The Future of Man). The term "emergent" itself is steeped in Teilhardian evolutionary ideology, and the modern New Age movement has popularized it to mean the manifestation of new examples of humanity's evolution towards this supposed collective consciousness.

Teilhard also proposed an alternative eschatology, an '"eschatological' vision" in which "in order that the Kingdom of God may come..., it is necessary, as an essential physical condition, that the human Earth should already have attained the natural completion of its evolutionary growth... that the ultra-human perfection which neo-humanism envisages for Evolution will coincide in concrete terms with the crowning of the Incarnation awaited by all Christians" (The Future of Man, p. 280), which achieves "God all in everyone" (The Phenomenon of Man, p. 310, italics in original).

The Truth:

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." (John 14:1-4)