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Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices Hardcover – May 6, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Prolific author and pastor McLaren is a big-picture guy. One of the most influential thinkers in the emergent church movement, he likes to analyze and categorize. This book, which inaugurates a series about traditional spiritual practices, paves the way for future installments by elaborating the big-picture rationale for spiritual disciplines: they cleanse us, enlighten us and bring us closer to God. As the title signals, they will also help us find our way past the unsatisfactory alternatives of secularism, dangerous fundamentalism and mushy spirituality. The former English teacher has a gift for the pithy phrase that nails a concept: faithing our practices is seeing the sacred value of everyday activities, for example. McLaren fans will enjoy his usual breadth of vision, easy style of exposition and synthesis of big ideas. His more conservative detractors may find him too generous in his references to the other two Abrahamic faiths in discussing spiritual practices. This book nicely opens the door for a series as well as a more disciplined Christian life. (May 6)
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Judy Helm Wright aka "Auntie Artichoke", author and speaker
We have loved The Secret Message of Jesus, and now our study group will go on to savor this book's depth of knowledge, delightful writing style, Biblical references where appropriate, short graspable chapters, and spiritual exercises evoking thought, spirit, and prayer.
My first yellow marker is pointed at the following on page 33: "What's gotten me into trouble,though, is my suspicion that a person can be a follower of the way of Jesus without affiliating with the Christian religion, and my simultaneous lament that a person can be accepted and even celebrated as a card-carrying member of the Christian club but not actually be a follower of the way of Jesus. And even worse, I've proposed that I would rather be a follower of the way of Jesus and not be affiliated with the Christian religion than the reverse."
My second yellow marker points to a highlighted section on page 36: "Jesus never makes "Christians" or "Converts," but he calls disciples and sends them out to continue the process."
And oh yes, those highlighted sections make wonderful challenges to intellect and spirit.
I have to admit, that for the most part I am a fan of Brian McLaren, I find his theology and understand of Christianity refreshing, as he challenges us to experience the living Jesus and not simply the theological Christ.
If you are a student of the Spiritual Practices, or have read Richard Foster's Classic 1978 work: The Celebration of Discipline, you might be disappointed. But for the average person, or someone who needs a kick start on finding their way again, they will find great tools and insights in this book.
What some people find difficult with McLaren's work is the idea that God's door is open to people who don't fit into the current evangelically defined definition of what a Christian is. This is not the place for that debate, but if you believe that God's accessibility is ONLY through Jesus as defined by the evangelical church today, run, don't walk from this book, because you will hate it. For the rest of us, we will find great tools and questions to help us on our journey.
This book is a simple read, but the questions and the end of every chapter provide for the opportunity for some serious reflection.
I would recommend this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the [...] <[...]> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <[...]> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."