‘Finding Our Way Again’ by Brian McLaren is another book in the Ancient Practices series edited by Phyllis Tickle. You can read my review of another book in this series here. Brian Mclaren writes this volume as an introduction to the entire series.
I have to say, Brian McLaren is one of the most frustrating authors for me to read. He is an extremely talented author to be sure. He certainly has tremendous incite into the human condition, and our broken world, and has a tremendous desire to see the world changed. He believes these ancient practices, such as fasting, fixed prayers, and pilgrimage can be a stepping stone to seeing that happen. He believes these ancient practices that are shared by many in the Abrahamic religions can be a common ground for people of all faiths. This desire to see the world changed, and even restored is very commendable. Yet as I said, Brian McLaren frustrates me terribly.
He seems to be intentionally vague in his views on other religions. He shies away from assertions of truth. I believe he indeed has an understanding who God is, and the beauty of God, yet he falls short I believe of talking about who Christ is. This is the question that is of utmost importance. Any spirituality devoid of the true Christ is not only heretical but it is evil . We cannot seek God and have no right to come into His presence apart from Christ. This is what Mclaren fails to mention. This is what people need to know. We can seek spirituality, I believe we should and must seek spirituality, yet if Christ is not the center of that, it falls far short. If people don’t know this truth, we aren’t doing them a favor, we are damning them to hell. I don’t know if Mclaren just doesn’t know this, or if He places the value of relationship above essential truth. I would love to have a conversation with him. Again, Brian Mclaren frustrates me.
In one instance he can write so beautifully about God, His creation, and even the beauty of Christ. I found myself saying, “yes, yes, yes…” several times. Then in the next paragraph I was shouting, “NO!NO!NO!” He goes from talking about Christ as ‘the way’ to seeming to teach a form of pluralism and calling humans, those who are created in the very image of God, ‘naked apes’. Again, Mclaren frustrates me.
Mclaren is a fascinating individual. This was a fascinating, and frustrating book. Unfortunately this book fell short of ‘introducing the practices’ as I believe it should have been concentrating on. It seemed more like instead Mclaren had another agenda in the book, that you can probably pick up on just by reading my above paragraphs. Mclaren has this sort of ‘guru’ appeal that attracts some. Again, as I said, he is often intentionally vague, and it is frustrating. I honestly have no idea where he stands on many orthodox Christian beliefs…even though I’ve read his generous orthodoxy…but in reading this book I wonder if indeed he has drifted away from orthodox Christian beliefs. I cannot say honestly. I think that is the point, and I think that is the problem.
For a book that was supposed to introduce us to the ancient practices of the Christian Church, I’m afraid that this book didn’t meet expectations. I would love to have coffee with Mclaren and learn more about him and his faith. I can’t judge where he is, but I pray he is not where some of the things written in this book would seem to point to. I fear he may be leading some astray, and for that reason I cannot recommend this book.
In full disclosure, I am a Book Review Blogger who participates in the ThomasNelson “BookSneeze” program. I received this book for free, in exchange of an honest review.