26 December 2011

Book Reflections - Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren

Got this free book from Book Sneeze on the condition that I write a review of it after reading and posting it on my blog. I saw it on the bookshelf at SKS today and it was selling for $20.40. Not a bad deal as I save S$20 and all I need was to write a review which I will do anyway to summarize my lessons learnt from this book.

In the foreword, Phyllis Tickle promises this book to be a "no-holds-barred" overview of both the grandeur and the odium of living fully Christian in a post-Christendom society. After a few chapters into the book, I was a bit disappointed at the grandeur but realized most of the odium. It was also supposed to "unsettle every one of us, accusing us each and every one of being less then we must be, and inspiring us with the hope that still there is time" to strive toward fuller citizenship. My own opinion is that it has no done so and is fair at best in its attempt. My analysis stems from the observation that the author's views are one dimensional and covers only the western practices from the early churches, not the Asian or eastern practices which may be more fully alive and filled with the Spirit.

Some lessons and reminders for myself include  that Spiritual practices help us to be more alive, awake and be someone  weighty (worthy of a name and reputation). Here I think the writings of Jack Deere is much more powerful and describes a closer encounter with the God who is alive than this author. 

Another interesting lesson is that of "normalcy interruption". God interrupts our normal daily life to teach us valuable lessons which cannot be learnt during normal living. Hence when we fast, go on a pilgrimage, or enter into extended period of seeking God, He will speak to us in a fresh way that we do not know before. Here I am encouraged to practise more interruption of my own normalcy to find God in fresh ways as I believe it works.

This book on the whole is a good intermediate guide to ancient practices, but mainly from the Western perspectives. To really grow in finding our way again, just following the ancient practices, may not be adequate, but to look into dealing with our inner life issues may be more appropriate. 

A Thomas Nelson book, 2010. Religion. Christian Life. Spiritual Growth.

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