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Review: Finding Our Way Again

January 13, 2011

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I do not like this book.

Three reasons:

  1. It’s not what I thought it was going to be.
  2. It’s lukewarm.
  3. The theology is bad.

1. It’s not what I thought it was going to be.

Finding Our Way Again is the introduction to a series of books on “ancient practices”: prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, etc. Based on that fact alone I anticipated a book that would whet my appetite to learn more about those specific practices that the series would cover, and that would inspire me to passionately pursue those practices.

Maybe that wasn’t the point of this book. Fine. Call it a “Preface,” then, and make it sound less like something I should actually read.

2. It’s lukewarm.

I am not difficult to inspire. Neither am I opposed to ancient practices, but this book didn’t inspire me to do anything. In fact, the author compared Christianity to Islam and Judaism so many times that I’m less inclined to think my faith anything earth-shattering or unique at all.

The first chapter starts out with a wonderfully compelling piece about how our faith has become a religion instead of a lifestyle, but the author doesn’t spend the rest of the book calling for radical lifestyles as much as he seems to call for watered-down Christianity.

  • Chapter two explains that spiritual practices are valuable for character development.
  • Chapter four applies dark eyeliner and cries about, “I’m not calling myself a ‘Christian’ anymore.”
  • Chapter 19 suggests that instead of actually allowing our faith to change our lives, we should “faith our practices” by making things we already do remind us of, and cause us to meditate upon, God. Don’t stop along your afternoon walk to sit and pray for a while, just allow the disobedient dog remind you of your own sinfulness as he poops in the neighbor’s yard.

3. The theology is bad.

We’ll talk about the specifics in the coming weeks – because that’s what we do here, now – but some of the things you can learn from Finding Our Way Again include:

  • King Melchizedek (Genesis 14) was of another religion/faith than Abraham. (Chapter 3)
  • The “Christian gospel” is a journey. (Chapter 6)
  • When God created everything, He said, “Let there be …” and, “possibilities unfolded and flowered,” until finally there were, “naked apes we know as homo sapiens.” (Chapter 18)
  • Jesus talked about the “kingdom of heaven,” but “harmony” is a “pretty good synonym” for “kingdom.” As in, “the harmony of heaven.” (Chapter 20)

In short, Finding Our Way Again uses ancient ideas (some of which probably fell away for a reason) and a lot of language to further complicate a religious system when what we need is a simple return to clear, New Testament faith.

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