Book review: We Make the Road by Walking
by Brian D. McLaren
With 52 chapters–one for each week of the year–McLaren takes us on a year-long quest toward “aliveness,” as taught by Jesus through words and example. Each chapter lists a few suggested Bible readings, gives a few pages of inspiration, and lists suggested discussion topics. His idea is that we would use this book for Bible study, with family or close friends in Christ.
“Aliveness” is a wonderful description for the type of existence Jesus wishes to share. Where the Synoptic gospels speak of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Gospel of John prefers terminology like life, life of the ages, life to the full (all much more precise translations than “eternal life”). How are we to understand the Kingdom, then? Some possibilities that resonate with our current-day language: how about The global commonwealth of God. Maybe God’s regenerative economy. Perhaps God’s beloved community or God’s holy ecosystem. You get the idea. We’re talking about a transformation of this world, not a distant kingdom in the sky.
McLaren is a liberal Christian. He is not going to preach doctrine, and in fact, even an atheist could be inspired to a more wholesome, meaningful life by Jesus. Nor does McLaren delve in church theology. You won’t be taught you’re a horrible sinner in need of repentance and covering by the salvific blood of a sacrificed god. You won’t be taught that life’s purpose is to guess which religion to believe in, so that after you die you can float away to heaven. Instead, you’ll be reminded that God’s creation is good, we are good, life is good, and aliveness is an attainable dream. Jesus taught us how.
I’m a fan of McLaren’s straight-forward, inspirational writing. Definitely worth reading.
Jericho Books, © 2014, 281 pages