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Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words Hardcover – March 15, 2011
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“A rich, brilliant and important book: wonderfully readable and personal, filled with insight and wisdom, it invites us into practices that can transform our lives.” (Marcus J. Borg, author of Speaking Christian)
“Brian McLaren is a bridge builder. In these simple yet profound spiritual practices he perfectly marries his evangelical heart and contemplative soul, and we are all richer for the union.” (Cynthia Bourgeault, author of Centering Prayer and The Wisdom Jesus)
“McLaren’s trademark persuasiveness is put to good effect as he continues to shatter paradigms for spiritual seekers.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“Anyone wanting to conserve the spiritual spark in themselves will find this book a gentle and generous tract.” (Publishers Weekly)
“These stories are honest and kind and good... they illustrated the life of a real and raw experience of God and the human responses we offer.... This guidebook to simple words for a not so simple spirituality is an incredible gift, a true asset to us, bread for the journey.” (Hearts and Minds)
“McLaren both charts an arc of the spiritual life and suggests practices to nurture [it]. . . . McLaren deserves endless thanks for reminding us that estrangement and no do not represent a breakdown of the spiritual life. . . . Naked Spirituality is very astute.” (Christian Century)
From the Back Cover
Christianity is in crisis. Many sincere Christians feel their traditional Christian practices are in danger of becoming irrelevant, empty rituals. In his previous book A New Kind of Christianity, Brian D. McLaren offered new biblical models for how we understand the central ideas of a faith that provides hope for restoring and reinvigorating the power of the gospels to transform us and our communities.
In Naked Spirituality, McLaren takes his prophetic work a step further by confronting how the lack of a simple, doable, durable spirituality undermines the very transformation God is calling us to undergo. As a result, our religious structures become tools to maintain the status quo and not catalysts for personal and social change. McLaren presents a four-stage framework for understanding the spiritual life, and he unfolds spiritual practices appropriate to each stage. Each practice is rooted in a simple word: here, thanks, O, sorry, help, please, when, no, why, behold, yes, and silence. Naked Spirituality offers accessible, practical wisdom for living a truly spiritual life. Staying true to Jesus's core message while engaging faithfully with our postmodern world, McLaren presents a proven spiritual program for engaging in and sustaining a meaningful relationship with God.
Top Customer Reviews
Theologian Stanley Hauerwas has said, "Theology is not best understood as a system -- narrative might have something to do with theology."[i] Narrative is fine Stanley - but I'd like some tools that have practical application to my life, and those around me, as a person of faith. I'd also like some boots on the ground authenticity from the real life experiences of a fellow sojourner.
Enter Brian McLaren - Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words Here's the honest truth about the impact this book had on my life:
I had just finished Chapter 20 "Why - When You Have Come to Zero." My wife arrived home from work. She began to prepare dinner and I wandered into the kitchen to catch up together on the day's events - an uneventful Wednesday.
As we stood there chatting, the phone rang. It was our daughter Liz calling from her home in Utah. Liz and her fiancée Aaron had buried Aaron's mother on Monday - just two days ago. They had just received a phone call - Aaron's father had been killed in a car crash.
We concluded the tearful call with our daughter. I went into another room and sat silently - questions, remorse, sorrow, anger, dismay, confusion - ricocheting throughout my being. We ate half our dinner and adjourned to a couch. Jacki looked at me - sorrow and befuddled are two words that were embossed on her facial expression. We were both at zero - in shock - wounded - naked and fully exposed to the unconscionable in life. I leaned forward, grabbed my reading glasses and Brian's book.Read more ›
In truth, the book caught me my surprise. There wasn't a lot of attention surrounding it, not much praise, no criticisms, not even a "Farewell Brian McLaren" tweet. In looking back on it, I think we all know why. Which in some way, it made the reading experience a little more satisfying to me.
The point of the book is about getting naked - not physically, but spiritually. It's about stripping away the symbols and status of public religion - the Sunday-dress version people often call "organized religion". There is a number of audiences this book could work for. The obvious one is anyone interested in spiritual formation. Second is the over-churched or those that are very discontent with the idea of "organized religion". In the intro, Brian says he is also writing to the "Spiritual but Religious". And I'll agree, especially for the "intelligent unchurched and seeking" (Check out his video below).
Good books begin well (they should end well too) and I appreciated his introduction of why he incorporates the term "naked". Frankly, I wince any time the term is mentioned in public, especially in a Christian setting. But Brian echoes Jesus here and says when the Lord taught his disciples to pray, he said go in your closet, where you are naked, and when you pray be "naked" before the Lord. Naked = void of all pretense, absent of all self-righteousness, completely baring your pure, soul to your Maker.Read more ›
Let me allow McLaren to introduce the book. In the Preface of Naked Spirituality, he says, "This book is about getting naked - not physically, but spiritually. It's about stripping away the symbols and status of public religion - the Sunday-dress version people often call 'organized religion.' And it's about attending to the well-being of the soul clothed only in naked human skin" (ix). Then, in an interview on my blog, McLaren said: "In a single sentence, I hope the book helps a wide range of people become more vulnerable to a genuine and transformative experience of God's presence in their lives." Indeed, it does that. Naked Spirituality invites people to leave behind the masks and pretences that most of us drag around. It then helps us to find practical ways to enjoy a better, more authentic, and more spiritual life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am re-reading this book for the third time. Beautifully written and encouraging for anyone who searches for a deeper faith.Published 8 months ago by Ruth Hufteling
Too much to chew on in a week or two; should be sub-titled "learn 12 simple words in 12 months for a life with God."Published 10 months ago by Sally F Cloy
Just finished writing a review for our church newsletter. This makes so much sense from the perspective of my own spiritual journey, and the 12 words for spiritual practice are... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Betty Kelsey
The inspired writing style of Brian McLaren is supportive of his inspired thinking and insight. Indeed, should you venture into this world of "naked spirituality" with... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Father Al
A good read for people trying to understand sprituality, the frustrations and peace that comes along with it. And why it can be a roller coaster ride sometimes.Published 17 months ago by little_flower
McLaren always impresses me as having a "pastor's heart", and no less so in this book. He speaks of the various phases or stages of a life of faith pointing out the gift... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Andy
In Naked Spirituality, McLaren presents a very practical, attainable approach to spiritual formation.Published 17 months ago by Cathy