As the subtitle says, this book calls us to remember and put into practice forgotten ways of the ancient church – ways or practices we need to embrace again if we are to “find our way.” The book introduces an impressive new series The Ancient Practices Series, edited by Phillis Tickle, where many of the traditional spiritual disciplines will be covered, one per book. The plan for succeeding volumes is for books devoted to prayer, the sabbath, fasting, the eucharist, the journey, the liturgical year, and tithing. Besides touching on these, in this first book McLaren includes insights on suffering, stillness, secrecy, simplicity, slowness, simplicity, fixed-time prayer, hospitality, memorization and others. I really liked his discussion of St. Francis.
I found the book to be a rare treasure – heart-stiriring, and hope-giving – always challenging the reader to to move from the head to the heart. A short and easy read, the book deserves to be lingered over and savored. McLaren has a beautiful ability to take the seemingly stuffy, theoretical, tedious or unfamiliar, and make it interesting, easily accessible, and patently relevant. I found the wideness of vision in the book (see chapter 20) surprising, even stunning, and worthy of the living God. The final chapter alone is worth the price of the book, and the Notes at the end make for a valuable treasure trove of other important, related resources.
I’m late discovering McLaren, but I’ll definitely be digging into his other books. If you’re also not familiar, be sure to take a look at this book. I don’t think you’ll come away unchanged.
Book Notes are a new addition to my blog Daily Riches. Notes will be posted sporadically, and only to subscribers to the blog – just to keep it simple for me. (If you’re connecting to Daily Riches through Twitter or Facebook, you will have to subscribe to richerbyfar.com to receive Book Notes.) As always, thanks for reading – and please, share your thoughts and opinions on these books! Thanks much – and thanks for joining me on what reader has called “this wobbly journey.” – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”