16 April 2011

Book Review for Booksneeze

Finding Our Way Again: the Return of the Ancient Practices by Brian McLaren and Phyllis Tickle is the first book i am reviewing for a website that specializes in reviews of new Christian literature. I was very excited about the idea, and chose a book to review that i thought would compliment my current interests well. The cover is reminicent of stained-glass windows, and echos the title well in it's medieval cathedral feel. The summary that caught my interest begged the question, "Why have certain spiritual disciplines been in use for centuries, and why are they so important?" It went on to claim, "Brian McLaren guides us on this quest for an explanation of these spiritual practices, many of which go all the way back to Abraham and the establishment of Israel. In the midst of contemporary Christianity, we discover the beauty of these disciplines and the transformation through Christ that each can provide." Since this book is the first in a series of eight books, i thought it would be a good place to start my study of these ancient Biblical practices.

When the book arrived i was excited, taking in the cover, the notes on the back and even reading the forward before starting in on the text... something i am usually too impatient to do. I wanted to prepare myself for the book, be open to it. It started out with an antidote... and that style continued throughout: stories from the author's life or imagination and metaphors made up much of the text. The chapter was very short- as the author's style seems to be- and at the end were some "spiritual excercises." I found these increasingly annoying as i read the book, and at some point started skipping them altogether.

As far as the content is concerned, i would warn readers that at many points i wondered if the author is indeed christian? his biography says he is a "former pastor." The book seems to point to a more unitarian view of religion.

In the end i do not feel that the book taught me more about the ancient practices i was hoping to read about. Instead i am left with a jumble of images and the same curiosity about the ancient practices of fixed-hour prayer, fasting, sacred meals, Sabbath, and pilgrimages that i expected him to discuss more.


At 09:05, Blogger Kelly said...

Well, it is Brian McLaren. A lot of people wonder if he is, indeed, a Christian.

At 09:15, Blogger xate said...

i'd never heard of him... but, yeah.. that was my impression, too...


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