McLaren

 

 

Home

Alex Tang

Publications

Articles

Spiritual writing

 

Nurturing/ Teaching Courses

Engaging Culture

Spiritual Formation Institute

My Notebook

My blogs

Books Recommendation

Bookstore

---------------------

Medical notes

Medical Students /Paediatric notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McLaren, Brian (2008), Finding Our Way Home: The Return of the Ancient Practices, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

Dr Alex Tang

 

Brian McLaren never ceases to amuse me because he keeps on popping up in unexpected places and writing/speaking of unexpected topics. This time, he is speaking of the ancient spiritual practices or spiritual disciplines of the ancient church. However, I am not surprised because I see the coming convergence of the ancient-evangelical future church movement, the missional ecclesiology, and the emerging church movement. I find McLaren’s thesis for this book important for all Christians, if only they will stop criticising him long enough to listen to what he has to say.

It was in the first chapter that he dropped the bombshell. He was telling a story about him conducting an interview with Dr. Peter Senge (father of systems theory and author of The Fifth Discipline). Senge was saying that in any bookstore, the best selling books will be on how to get rich and the second will be on Buddhism. Why Buddhism? Senge replied “I think it’s because Buddhism presents itself as a way of life, and Christianity presents itself as a system of belief.’ (p.3) McLaren went on to explain that what is important is not either/or but both/and. Christianity needs a system of belief and a way of life or else it is not relevant. It will not give to what people are searching for today.

McLaren suggests that we (Christians) have to rediscover our faith as a way of life, shaped and strengthened by ancient practices (p.6).

 

In any discussion about the ancient practices, one usually comes to the contemplative versus the active life or the Mary/Martha conflict. McLaren’s solution was rather simplistic in that he lumps it all in a circle and place it in heaven and earth. What he did was to repeat what Ignatius of Loyola was teaching the Jesuit during the counter-Reformation times of Martin Luther: the sacredness of the everyday life. This was also the teachings of other Christian mystics such as Margery Kempe. Recently discovered by the Protestants, it is now strongly advocated by Richard Foster, Diana Bass and Phyllis Tickle. The way of the Christian life is to be both active and contemplative at the same time. As in other McLaren’s books, I learned a number of new words to the English language such as ‘open-source spirituality’ which McLaren use to mean Christians learning and mentoring from each other; ‘faithing our practices’; ‘otherliness’ (mean love); and this memorable quote from Doug Pagitt “preaching without speeching.” This is a good introductory book to Christian spirituality and Christian spiritual disciplines. It is highly readable, written in McLaren’s conversational style with lots and lots of stories to illustrate his points.

 

 

 

My other postings on Brian McLaren can be found here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here.  

 

 

|posted20 June 2008|

               

"treat, heal, and comfort always"

 "spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"  

 

     
Website Articles Spiritual Writings Nurture/ Courses Engaging Culture Medical Interests Social

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
           

 

  Creative Commons License

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is
licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

© 2006-2017 Alex Tang