I listened to an interesting interview on NPR talking about Brian McLaren and his new book, A New Kind of Christianity and featuring commentary from both McLaren and Al Mohler. In the spirit of disclosure I have not read this book or anything by McLaren.
A key point in the interview was when McLaren decries what he sees as a vision of God who must be appeased by blood:
"The view of the cross that I was given growing up, in a sense, has a God who needs blood in order to be appeased," McLaren says. "If this God doesn't see blood, God can't forgive."
McLaren believes that version of God is a misreading of the Bible.
"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.
Well, that is precisely what God has said, even if we find it unpalatable and gross in our genteel society that thinks chicken nuggets spring forth from the ground in plastic bags, ready to heat up.
The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exo 12:13)
The Passover of course is a type of the cross. This is further reinforced in the book of Hebrews, especially in Hebrews 9 and especially in verse 22:
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Heb 9:22)
So yeah, God does require blood in order to be appeased and not merely the blood of animals but the blood of His own Son. I guess if you want to ignore that kind of stuff, you might as well ignore the whole Bible and make up a God in your own image. Actually, it sounds precisely like that is what McLaren is doing.