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Finding Faith: A Search for What Is Real Paperback – February 11, 2007
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From the Back Cover
There have been times when you've felt that if there isn't a God, there ought to be. Swept up in the mystery of the night sky, you've felt the closeness of its designer. Nature's extravagant diversity, unfolding in living color, has made you long to know the artist who dreamed it all up. Imagine what that might be like---to actually know God in a way that fills your heart and whispers tremendous value and purpose to something deep within you. But how can you experience a being you're not even sure exists? Religious jargon and games can't satisfy such a longing. It's got to be real ... or nothing at all. A Search for What Is Real helps you sort through the questions, objections, and concerns that arise when you consider God not as some theological abstraction, but as someone you can actually connect with ... and want to connect with, perhaps more than you know. FINDING FAITH The Finding Faith books A Search for What Makes Sense and A Search for What Is Real don't try to tell you what to believe; they are guides in learning how to believe. If you think the spiritual journey requires turning your back on honesty and intellectual integrity, these two companion volumes will speak to both your mind and your soul.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
They are a good read, or listen to (if your e-device can read back the text to you...)
Overall, a good book, and great to get discussion started about how people meet God. It reminded me that my ways are no less valid than my husband's, and that God uses our different personalities accordingly.
"They say that the opposite of love isn't hate; it is rather indifference. And I have to think that the same is true of faith. Doubt isn't a spiritual danger sign nearly as much as indifference would be."
In the final chapter, McLaren writes that Jesus was "scandalously inclusive" and that
"In a world of religious in-groups and out-groups, Jesus created a `come on in' group. The kingdom of God is open to everyone who will come.... It's like a party to which everyone is invited, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, clear or dirty."
That section of the book really stood out for me because when I was growing up, the various youth groups in school and church "rushed" (like the fraternity allusion?) the popular kids with the alleged goal of the unpopular kids following the popular kids to God. Yeah, right. It was a total joke. I rode the fence between popular and unpopular and I didn't like it. As an adult, many churches I've been to seem little different. We want the "beautiful people" -- those in real need don't need to come on in. I hate that about mainstream Christianity. Jesus was all about love and inclusive love. In fact, he hung out with hookers and outcasts and told the Moral Majority of his day that the scumbags he was with would have an easier time of entering heaven than they would. (That didn't go over too well with them.) So, I like what McLaren writes here. I just wish more actual church people would read and realize this....
The book's chapters all end with interesting discussion questions and a suggested prayer. McLaren tries to stick to guidance, not to telling -- as in, he's not the authority on this, God is. It's not the best book I've read, and it's not for everyone, but I found it worthwhile and others will too.
This book is not for a person who has decided they have already figured God out. McLaren takes God seriously and leads us to explore God in relational terms that draw us into the actual life of God, not just an easy dogma. McLaren takes seriously the inner turmoil and uncertainty many of us have when moving into faith or progressing in the rich and uncharted depths of the Faith-Life.
This sensitive writer is clear that he has beliefs and that these are basic to his identity. But he understands his task to be not telling others what to believe, how to believe or how to experience God. Rather, he takes the approach of an advocate, a partner in the search, and steps back from his own experience to explore how various people of his personal acquaintance have come to experience the reality of God and to come into relationship with God.
In the process, he shows no fear as he additionally reports on personal experiences, problems and challenges that have led to his own insights and awareness of the reality of God. He speaks of experiencing God in various situations and coming to constant awareness of God's presence and working in his life.
McLaren does not set out to give answers to common problems. This book is not another of those popular books in the vein of "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About God and How to Believe in Him." No, this thoughtful and sympathetic book takes seriously people's inner experience of life and its complexity. As in previous books, McLaren takes both Faith and his readers seriously, inviting the reader to engage the topic and explore the possibilities.
In this focused, personal and readable book, McLaren encourages exploration, and leads us on a journey through the real experiences of people who have experienced God and come to understand life in Faith. He illustrates 12 common ways that individuals come to faith through their experiences and thought processes.
He then spends one whole chapter on an additional possible way to come to faith. Chapter 3 asks "Can I experience God through Doubt?" He then proceeds into two areas: Help for the Spiritual Search and Milestones for My Spiritual Journey. As usual, McLaren does not waste time on useless philosophies or abstract ideas. This is not a rationalist presentation of abstract intellectual constructs.
This is a practical guide, with a friendly tone and an understanding heart. McLaren's little volume will be a helpful and non-threatening aid for those who have the feeling there is something in the reality beyond us that holds value for us, but who are tired of the silly and judgemental trivialities usually presented as the way to find the spiritual reality we call God. McLaren is nobody's fool.
This book could be considered a contribution to the topic of Faith and Life. Because McLaren reports on actual case studies, it could also be considered a commentary on the challenges of contemporary American culture, from a dynamic spiritual perspective.
McLaren is a friend and guide who helps clarify common questions and suggest situations and processes for discovering and exploring the spiritual reality of God in personal faith.