The ‘Deep Shift’
Everything Must Change continues the deconstructive work, arguing that our problem is our “framing stories.” Framing stories are the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of our world, and every theological system has a framing story. The conventional framing story, found among some evangelicals, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox, is told in such a way that the world’s greatest problems—the crises of our present age—are not (usually) addressed. McLaren seeks to replace this conventional framing story with Jesus’ kingdom framing story. He calls this move a “deep shift.” In one of the more telling paragraphs in Everything Must Change, McLaren says:
[The conventional framing story] has specialized in dealing with “spiritual needs” to the exclusion of physical and social needs. It has specialized in people’s destination in the afterlife but has failed to address significant social injustices in this life. It has focused on “me” and “my soul” and “my spiritual life” and “my eternal destiny,” but it has failed to address the dominant societal and global realities of their lifetime: systemic injustice, systemic poverty, systemic ecological crisis, systemic dysfunctions of many kinds.
For McLaren, this is a colossal mistake, what he calls an “adventure in missing the point.” Jesus’ kingdom vision was much bigger and more earthly; it is “the sacred ecosystem of God.”