Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Review

This is a departure from the posts I make now and then reviewing one of my EIGHT all-time favorite books.
Before Christmas, I signed up with Book Sneeze to write book reviews. Their system is simple: a member chooses a book to review, the book is sent at no charge, and the reader is asked only to post a review at Book Sneeze, on the reader's blog and on a book site. WOW! I couldn't wait. Here is my first, I'm sad to report, review:

Finding Our Way Again
by Brian McLaren

     I chose as my first review with Book Sneeze, Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren, Thomas Nelson publishers, reprinted from 2008 with a forward by Phyllis Tickle. The book arrived just before Christmas.
    Because I love studies of the Old Testament, the subtitle, “The Return of the Ancient Practices,” intrigued me. I had not read Brian McLaren and while I’m old enough to know better than to assume anything, the synopsis on the back cover assured me this was a “safe read. It ended by saying: “Compelling and readable, the Ancient Practices series is for every spiritual sojourner, for every Christian seeker who wants more.”
            As a practicing 73-year-old Evangelical Christian, I definitely want more and needed a quick but deep study and Mr. McLaren’s subtitle, “The Return of the Ancient Practices,” enticed me because I believe in specific times of prayer, tithing, and fasting, and I ache to keep the Sabbath more holy.
            This is the first book of a series on ancient practices that I understand “is written by a Christian for Christians.” The author states that he is a follower of Jesus Christ, the pastor of a Christian church, and that he believes in the Trinity. He also says that all three of the great monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—can learn to live in peace with each other and that our spiritual elders, Abraham, Moses, Mohamed, and Jesus are examples of how to live peaceful, loving lives.
             I don’t argue his general premise, but Jesus is much more to me than “an example.” To ensure that I connected all the dots together, I struggled through all 223 pages of the book, including the pages of Notes, About the Author, and the Study Guide in addition to the Table of Contents, the Acknowledgement page and three pages of Forward.
            When I read the Notes section, I closed the book overcome with a deep sense of sorrow. Mr. McLaren writes, “Sadly, Jesus’ statement “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) is one of the most frequently misunderstood statements in the Bible.”
            I believe the Bible teaches that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God and that man’s sinful nature makes it impossible to be in relationship with the one Triune and perfect God.  Thankfully, the one perfect God loved his creation so deeply and longed for a relationship with us enough to become human himself and be the sacrifice to make us right with Him.
            Life (at least mine) is too short to read bad books. From now on, I will research the author before I decide to read a book. I truly yearned for something in this book to take away to help me how to order my days more smoothly and to love my neighbors better and to walk humbly with my God. I finished the book empty hearted and do not recommend it.
            Book Sneeze, sent this book to me for my personal review at no cost to me and with no review requirements.

1 comment:

  1. Miz Liz, I'm glad to hear you read the book critically. I reviewed it as well and provided a (do I dare say, "scathing") review. I'm finding a lot of people who reviewed it are satisfied with McLaren's "flowery" new-age approach to Jesus Christ.