Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review ~ Seeking Aliveness: Daily Reflections On A New Way To Experience And Practice The Christian Faith by Brian D. McLaren

Let me start by stating that Seeking Aliveness: Daily Reflections On A New Way To Experience And Practice The Christian Faith by Brian D. McLaren was not at all what I was anticipating when I requested this book for review, and thus took me a lot longer to wade through than expected.

This book is a labelled as being a 52-week devotional based on Brian D. McLaren's book We Make The Road By Walking. Being unfamiliar with both the author and his previous works, I based my interest on the back cover, which states that "If you're a seeker exploring Christianity, if you're a long-term believer feeling disheartened, if your faith seems to be a lot of talk without much practice, here you'll find a fresh and healthy reorientation."

Basically, the book is separated into 52-weeks with 5-7 readings per week and a question or thought to ponder for each reading. Starting with Genesis and working its way through to the book of Revelation, each week focuses on a different story of theme from the Bible while helping the reader relate that story to modern times. So far, so good.

However, in emphasizing the point that these are merely stories, Brian asks the reader (time and time again) to ponder if the Biblical events actually happened or if they are just tales passed down by storytellers designed to make us think about specific issues, kind of like the parables that Jesus told. While I can see this as maybe being helpful to the skeptic or to a follower of a different religion who is seeking to learn about Christianity, I had a very hard time with concept of relating to the Old Testament stories (Moses, Noah, Elisha, etc.) as being on the same levels as the parables - people and events that didn't necessarily exist, were probably exaggerated and built up over the ages (if they were factually based to begin with), and are there more or less just to show us how to relate their lessons in our modern times.

I also found Brian's seemingly political motives when referencing modern cultures to be exhausting.

As for who I would recommend this book to, that's a hard one. The people I've known that believe in a metaphysical interpretation of the Bible would probably be able to relate better to most of the readings than I can. And as stated previously, those who are non-believers or skeptics and want to learn what makes the Christian's stories and interpretation different from their own might find something here worth learning. But I would not recommend it for most of the people I know that are currently on a Christian walk. 2/5 stars.

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary print copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions are my own.*

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ About The Author ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(copied from back cover)
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, public theologian, and popular conference speaker for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings in the U.S. and internationally. A former pastor and church planter, Brian has written over a dozen books, including Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road and Everything Must Change. Brian is also a popular blogger, a musician, and an avid outdoor enthusiast. He is married to Grace, and they have four adult children. Learn more at his website,
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