Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren
As the late Winston McIntosh said, we strive to possess things but often do not want to do the work necessary to attain them. Within in the realm of Christianity, this is visible in people who want a transformed character without doing all of the work necessary to attain it. Modern Evangelical culture nourishes this empty desire through its promotion of a church-centered spirituality wherein transformation is supposedly a product of attendance at church-sanctioned events. Apparently, it is to be passed via osmosis.
McLaren, in his introduction to The Ancient Practices Series, puts this mythology to rest. Finding Our Way Again spells out the objective of this series of spiritual formation books that are rooted in spiritual disciplines that have encouraged the character formation of millions of saints through the centuries. In the short chapters that follow, he surveys the topics that form the center of the individual volumes that focus on each in greater detail.
If you read Finding looking for detailed instruction in the formative practices you will be disappointed. Once McLaren has established the benefits and need for the disciplines, the chapters that survey are but an amuse-bouche, teasing you into a further exploration. His style is appealing, intertwining personal reflection, ancient patristic writings and clear benefits that derive from the integration of the spiritual disciplines into your life.
Many Evangelicals have developed a fear of McLaren due to his provocative approach to matters within the Christian community. Other than a few references that appear to impart a kind of equality amongst the Abrahamic faiths, there is nothing that should dissuade a broad readership for this volume. Finding Our Way serves as a useful index for the rest of the series, a book that you can return to again and again when searching for a new discipline to explore.
I am grateful to Thomas Nelson who supplied this book for review.