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Brian D. McLaren - We Make the Road by Walking (A Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation and Activation)

(Hodder £11.99 ISBN 978 1444 703702)

Some authors are safe, sound and reassuring; what you see is what you get. Their writing is reliable but does not always get the pulse racing or set the world alight. Other authors take risks, push boundaries, and unsettle; you are never quite sure where they are going to take you. 

A new book by Brian McLaren is never dull or predictable; he is a creative and imaginative wordsmith, who likes to stay close to the edge. This is what makes this book so very interesting; We Make the Road by Walking is a creative journey through the traditional Christian year, thus is a blend of the progressive and the traditional. The book is designed to be read slowly in bite-size chunks, and can be used by individuals or groups.

Overall the journey through the year with McLaren is a stimulating ride. He encourages the reader to take a fresh look at familiar themes, and encourages the reader’s active participation in the process. Many will find reading this book a beneficial spiritual exercise; a time to slow down to a walking pace, to make room for spiritual formation. 

Yet, there is a cost; McLaren uses biblical stories as placemakers on his journey but often calls into question whether these stories have any historical substance. It can at times seem like looking at the Cheshire Cat’s disappearing smile!

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle, West Sussex

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