“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16
The author believes that many people who leave “the church” do not leave because they no longer want to follow Jesus. Rather, they leave so they can follow Jesus. This book does not advocate giving up church; in fact, community is promoted. However, many times we start to depend on church for our spiritual life and as more church-goers do this, the church becomes stagnant and relies more on being locked into tradition than on finding ways to open up to God’s will. As the author states, “God can’t be contained by the structures that claim to serve him but often try to manage and control him.” This book tells us how we can turn ourselves and our churches back to serving God.
There are several questions at the end of each chapter and a Study Guide at the end of the book. Because I didn’t want to distract myself from reading for the review, I didn’t take the time to sit down and answer the questions. I will do so in the near future. I did read all the questions and one stood out for me. Part of the question reads: “Imagine that all church services were shut down and church buildings closed, all denominations disbanded. Imagine that the only way Christian faith could survive was through people living it and passing it on to others through friendship and daily informal interaction.” Living our faith, what a concept.
I enjoyed the author’s friendly writing style. I firmly believe God wants us to enjoy life and it’s clear that Mr. McLaren shares that belief. He includes personal stories and humor and is not afraid to make fun of himself. (Such as the fly-fishing lesson gone awry in which he described himself as a criminal caught in Spiderman’s net.) This turns what could have been a dry, hard-to-read book into an enjoyable, informative and thought-provoking book.
This book is written, not just for Christians, but also for Jews and Muslims.
The seven ancient practices are fixed-hour prayer, fasting, observing the Sabbath, the sacred meal, pilgrimage, observance of sacred seasons (the liturgal calendar), and giving.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com