The story we find ourselves in
July 30, 2007
I just finished reading The story we find ourselves in by Brian Mclaren. (This was typed on Friday, but I only got round to publishing it today. Really a brilliant book.
It’s not so much the theology that I find so helpful. I remember after reading A new kind of Christian that I also felt that, although it was a good book, it wasn’t realle mind-boggling. It was just the stuff that we had to figure out for ourselves, in order to express how we are Christians in this day and age, in our context. And I felt quite the same with this book (although, with the last couple of topics Mclaren tackled, it got quite complex). But both books are formulated quite well, and is useful in helping to put into words our own experience of faith. But that’s it about the ideas Mclaren present in the book. What struck me as brilliant was something totally different.
I’ve always loved stories. And this was a great story. You get so pulled into everything, you learn to love the characters. Kerry and Dan, Neo, Carol, and all the others. I don’t wanna give the story away, so I won’t tell you about the point in which I had little tears forming in my eyes, or the things that happened that I’m so happy about. Great story.
When reading New Kind of Christian you kind of get the idea of a monologue. Neo is teaching Dan. Neo has the answers, Dan the questions, and Dan learns from Neo. In The story we find ourselves in it becomes much more of a dialog. Different characters, with different stories, different perspectives, and it’s not only Neo who contributes. A lot of times one of the other characters says something profound, and at places Dan also get a chance to try and explain the way he see things, even Carol as well. And Jess, you’ll remember her form the first book, one of Dan’s daughters, writes a statement of faith.
The best thing about the book, I think, is how Mclaren has showen us something of a new possibility or having theological conversations, more than simply what our dogma should be. The way in which things sometimes stop a conversation, and then you never find an answer, and that’s OK. The way in which different perspectives are presented by different characters, without ever knowing which one was correct. Because it’s about the conversation, the growth, the search for God, more than simply the answers. And sometimes characters make mistakes, or say things which they then change, for instance Neo at the baptism (sorry, you’ll have to read the book).
As I’ve read the book, I wondered if this might not be a great book to use in catechism with high school aged kids. Helping them to find language to formulate their faith which make more sense in the context which they are growing up in. But I’m still wondering, would like to try it sometime though.