In an interview with NPR to mark the release of his latest book, A New Kind Of Christianity, McLaren expressed views that don't resonate too well with older, more traditional Evangelicals.
"God revealed in Christ crucified shows us a vision of God that identifies with the victim rather than the perpetrator, identifies with the one suffering rather than the one inflicting suffering," he says.
McLaren says modern evangelicalism underplays that Jesus — who spent most of his time with the poor, the sick and the sinners — saved his wrath primarily for hard-core religious leaders.
Curmudgeonly people focus their message on the sanctity of the Republican Party vs. Democratic demons, behind a curtain made of common Evangelical calls for fools, like a very selective concept of the "sanctity of life" (the "pre-born", not Iraqi or Afghani children), a despicable view of the "sanctity of marriage" to the exclusion of anyone but heterosexual (whites), a view of society devoid of any social justice (let freedom rule, where freedom is to be enjoyed in direct proportion to one's earning ability), and so on. They do not spare any invective against McLaren's reading of the New Testament, in which Jesus is more concerned with chastising Pharisees and hypocrites than prostitutes and lepers. Their interpretation of the role of Jesus has more to do with power than charity (of spirit) than McLaren's, so the latter is a heretic. All this from a bunch of people who owe their religion to heretics in the first place.
Now, you know me, I think that all religious people are delusional to a higher or lesser degree, but if you want to be a bible literalist remember that the bible is composed of two volumes: one Old, in which God acted like a capricious despot, and one New, in which his soon thankfully proves to be more more mentally balanced than his father, and more concerned with walking the walk than with talking the talk.
The Rev. Jim Wallis said this:
We did this experiment way back a long time ago, as young seminarians, we found every passage in the Bible about poor people, about wealth and poverty, oppression, all that, and we found several thousand verses. It was the second most prominent theme in the Hebrew scripts, the Old Testament. And in the New Testament, the Synoptic Gospels, the first three, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, one of every 16 verses.
[...] In Luke, it was one of every seven verses. And we took the Bible and we took a pair of scissors and we cut out of the Bible every single reference to poor people. And when we were done, the Bible was in shreds. It was full of holes, falling apart in my hands. I'd take it out to preach. I'd say, 'Brothers and sisters, this is the American Bible. It's just full of holes.
[...]This isn't about politics or a liberal or a conservative. This is about the integrity of the word of God. There's nothing as basic as this, how we treat the other, the vulnerable, the poor, the enemy. The one who's not at the table is the one we're going to be judged by. [from http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/jimwallis/transcript.shtml]
If people like McLaren and Wallis can provoke hissy fits in curmudgeonly hypocrites, more power to them.