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Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 6, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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About the Author
Brian D. McLaren (MA, University of Maryland) is an author, speaker, activist and public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian pastored Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. Brain has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors for over 20 years. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings in the US and internationally.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, the quibble, then the good stuff.
The book is heavy on seeing commonality between the spiritual practices of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Our beliefs about many things, most notably the person of Jesus, may divide us in some senses, but Brian brings out at the beginning and end of the book the fact that when it comes to practices like prayer, fasting, sabbath, reading/meditating on/memorizing the Scriptures, we have much in common. I asked him why he emphasized this and he gave me two reasons- 1st, the editor of the series asked him to. But second, Brian says he's an evangelist at heart. His desire is to tell everyone who wants to hear it about Jesus. In his mind, emphasizing our commonalities leads to friendships and relationships... and those are the lines along which the Gospel flows best. Imagine trying to talk to your Muslim neighbor about Jesus. Sound tough?
Now imagine trying to have the same conversation after you have shared meals together, walked and talked about how you pray, what things you pray for, how you try to order your life around times of fasting and sabbath... Makes it a bit easier.Read more ›
I find McLaren's thesis for this book important for all Christians, if only they will stop criticising him long enough to listen to what he has to say. It was in the first chapter that he dropped the bombshell. He was telling a story about him conducting an interview with Dr. Peter Senge (father of systems theory and author of The Fifth Discipline). Senge was saying that in any bookstore, the best selling books will be on how to get rich and the second will be on Buddhism. Why Buddhism? Senge replied "I think it's because Buddhism presents itself as a way of life, and Christianity presents itself as a system of belief.'
McLaren went on to explain that what is important is not either/or but both/and. Christianity needs a system of belief and a way of life or else it is not relevant. It will not give to what people are searching for today. McLaren suggests that we (Christians) have to rediscover our faith as a way of life, shaped and strengthened by ancient practices (p.6).
In any discussion about the ancient practices, one usually comes to the contemplative versus the active life or the Mary/Martha conflict. McLaren's solution was rather simplistic in that he lumps it all in a circle and place it in heaven and earth.Read more ›
Craig Kennet Miller
7 Myths of the United Methodist Church
"The Ancient Practices" series from Thomas Nelson publishing seeks to aid people who are seeking a refresher course on some of the older spiritual practices of Christianity (and possibly of all the Abrahamic faiths). "Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices" by Brian McLaren seeks to be the introductory guide to this burgeoning series.
McLaren is overt about his belief that these ancient practices are not solely the property of the Christian faith, but are rather shared in common by the three Abrahamic faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaisim. It is for that reason that I will not be reviewing this book as a Christian book per-se, but as a devotional guide for members of all three of these faiths written by one who identifies with Christianity.
In this introduction, McLaren introduces several spiritual practices in the hopes that the reader will find a new sense of spiritual life and open the possibilities of that person's life. "Practice (or exercise) may not make us perfect," McLaren comments, "but...it does make currently impossible things possible." (p. 46). McLaren's point is that these practices do not in of themselves create a spiritually wise person, but that they are good habits to pick up which will promote a more spiritually healthy life. In other words, these practices won't buy you the gym membership, but they are good things to try out while you're there.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's worth reading. Makes me think of my own daily practices. I would recommend it during Lent for a study group.Published 19 months ago by Julia Wight
The initial text of the series lead the way to greater understanding of the Christian faith. Brian McLaren has written a book that will stand for time to come.Published 19 months ago by Phil Gilliland
To be fair, I have to tell you that we ordered this book for our small groups at UCC. My copy was late getting here and so I started at a later chapter. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke
Anyone engaged in a meaningful way in the ecclesiastical works is scratching their heads nowadays. This book offers some very thought-provoking answers.Published 22 months ago by P. Zimmermann
Read the book - and it was so good decided to listen to it too. This is exactly what I expected it to be.Published on January 2, 2014 by joy
Some good ideas here, also some things to carefully consider if you agree with. All in all a decent book with a bit of humor.Published on September 9, 2013 by John Wayne
This is a fantastic look at the classic Christian spiritual formation practices which have sustained Christian spirituality for two thousand years. Read morePublished on February 12, 2013 by Todd A Risser
For several years I have searched for a guide to help develop a walk on the path of spiritual development. I have found books that are easy to read, but lack depth. Read morePublished on December 22, 2012 by Danny D. Davis