Friday, November 14, 2008
A New Kind of Christian/the Story We Find Ourselves In/The Last Word and the Word After That
The first McLaren book I ever read was More Ready Than You Realize. A group that was discerning some short-range planning in the congregation with which I served was reading it and it was a treat to respond to a book that was written as a conversation, for the giant stumbling block for the group with which I read it was articulating one's faith. McLaren's modeling of authentic, loving conversation between people genuinely seeking a deeper faith experience was great to read. That it was framed in e-mails and conversation made it even more fun. I recall thinking that the format was so great and that it would be fun to read more.
After the books described below, McLaren published this "creative non-fiction' trilogy, providing three more chances to overhear the gospel in very engaging ways.
McLaren provides very believable characters with dialogue that rings true. Much like C.S. Lewis'Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Lettersand other works, the dialogue format provides a great frame for what it is that most folks who seek faith hope to find: patient, loving, non-judgemental honest responses to "big" questions about meaning and purpose and the presence of God.
I didn't re-read these books this week, as I'm forging ahead with A Generous Orthodoxy. In some ways, it's a little tedious to read and re-read an authors works all in one fell swoop. In this case, McLaren's message is pretty much consistent throughout his works: the church needs a new paradigm; faith in community can't be beat. Well, amen.
Next: A Generous Orthodoxy