I am currently reading We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation and Activation by Brian D. McLaren. The author has been on the emerging church journey for many, many years and is often an inspiration for those seeking new expressions of their spirituality.
I wonder if those of us who meet up from time to time should read it and reflect on it, at the same time.
Basically he goes through the church year reimagining the various aspects of Christian teaching.
For example, in an early chapter about genesis is begins by talking about ‘aliveness’ – how the story of creation and the observation of nature speaks of God’s brimming life-giving personality. He then goes on to write about this ‘aliveness’ being in Jesus and how he clashes with the stifling restrictions of the Pharisees.
‘What we all want is pretty simple, really. We want to be alive. To feel alive. Not just to exist but to thrive, to live out loud, walk tall, breathe free. We want to be less lonely, less exhausted, less conflicted or afraid . . . more awake, more grateful, more energised and purposeful.’
And isn’t that what we are all looking for? Not only in spirituality but in life generally, don’t we long for ‘aliveness’?
The author has also included though/discussion points at the end of each chapter for those who are reading it as a group, or for individuals to keep a journal.
A few quotes:
On the early church:
‘… before Christianity was a rich and powerful religion, before it was associated with buildings, budgets, crusades, colonialism or televangelism, it began as a revolutionary non-violent movement promoting a new kind of aliveness on the margins of society. It dared to honour women, children and unmarried adults in a world ruled by married men.’
‘It had no bank accounts, but was rich in relationships and joy. It had no elaborate hierarchy and organisation, but spread like wildfire through simple practices of empowerment and self-organisation.’
As one review says on Amazon:
‘It isn’t the kind of book you can start at the beginning and read over a weekend. It is a pilgrimage. A journey. It’s a book that if you click with it will sit next to you for the next year and be part of you and your life . . . It made me think in ways I’d not thought before, some things weren’t mind-blowing, some things made me stop. It’s excellent as a starting place for journaling.’
The book is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon here.