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Conversing with his friend Samir Vesna on pp 129-130 of A Generous Orthodoxy, Brian McLaren writes,

Restorationists… often refer to themselves, Samir says, as a remnant…. “We’re not small because we’re ineffective, or lazy, or ingrown, or otherwise unattractive; we’re small because we’re a faithful remnant! Everone else has compromised…. We’re the few, the committed, the faithful, the proud. (Oops.)…Samir has seen a lot of this remnant thinking in restorationist territory; he sees how destructive it is.”

McLaren goes on to mention how Samir preached about Moses, who was essentially offered the status of remnant by God when the nation of Israel lapsed into idolatry. Moses didn’t take the bait, but pleaded with God to preserve and continue investing in Israel, rather than starting over with Moses as a new patriarch. Moses, who really was a faithful remnant kind of guy, set an example for all who wish to be similarly faithful by showing a willingness to be sacrificial in his love, and eager to bless even the errant members of God’s heritage. McLaren concludes:

Samir asked his friends with a remnant mentality: what is a truly faithful remnant like? Its members do not turn inward in elite self-congratulation…. No, the faithful remnant “after God’s own heart” turns its heart others-wise, outward, toward the unfaithful, in loyalty and love. True faithfulness bonds the hearts of the faithful to their unfaithful neighbors.

If Christ’s faithful church is a “remnant”, it has been learning not to subscribe to the destructive, oppressive orthodoxy of earlier times. It has been “a generous orthodoxy” which is patient under injustice, hopeful that in due time God would bring justice; like Jesus, encouraging the bruised reeds and smoking flaxes of the world; — and pre-occupied with trying to get its own actions brought into harmony with God’s word and spirit.

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