The story we find ourselves in


The story we find ourselves in
I just finished Brian McLaren’s “The Story We Find Ourselves In”.  I really didn’t like it.  Perhaps I’m more evangelical than I realize but I found this book disappointing in a couple of areas.  This is odd for me because I really liked “A New Kind of Christian”. 

Brian frames humanity’s journey with God as a great story.  I find the story metaphor more a reflection of our culture than of scripture.  The history of God and people is a great story.  However I don’t find much value in being part of a great story.  I think it depersonalizes and disempowers God.  I don’t want to be part of a mere story, even the greatest story.  I want more of God in a personal relational way.

The NEO character is critical of miracles as if they weakened the creation and its natural laws.  At the same time the book talks about the role of the Spirit in an evangelistic encounter.  I found myself thinking “Isn’t the Holy Spirit’s work in an unbeliever a miraculous event?”.  Isn’t the transformation of our character in to Christ’s likeness divine correction on fallen natural reality?  I believe the only way the church can regain kingdom influence in this world is to rely in faith on God’s divine power and miracles are a part of that. 

Neo is a firm believer in evolution as an expression of God’s creative ability.  I’m open to the idea that Genesis 1 isn’t literal.  I’m not terribly concerned with how God created the earth.  I did however find Neo’s take on the fall of mankind disappointing.  Whatever we chose to do to screw things up warranted a torturous death by a sinless man.  I don’t think Neo’s version of the fall would have warranted what Jesus did for the redemption of mankind.

The story that Brian frames his theological discussion lags at times.  It didn’t capture me like AKNOC did. 

On the other hand I did enjoy Brian’s response to Sept 11. His description of God’s kingdom as the revolution of God resonated with me.  I would recommend borrowing this book before you buy it.  Brian’s stab at the tension between science and faith may intrigue some. 

  1. #1 by Linea on September 9, 2003 - 3:28 am

    Interesting that you didn’t like the book. I found it fascinating and the story metaphor fit for me. However, it is just a book not The Book.

    I could completely understand how he was explaining evolution since it is pretty well how I have integrated what I found in science and my faith. But I agree that some explanations fall a little short – especially his treatment of miracles. I don’t have trouble with the concept of God stepping into his story and changing the story line every now and then – going against nature in a miraculous way. Because my concept of God is a little bigger than a God that is limited by his own creation.

    Since I have absolutely no theological background the insufficencies theologically were not so evident to me. My training is more in science and so those are more the types of questions I have wrestled with.

  2. #2 by Switch on September 9, 2003 - 8:50 am

    LT,

    Be prepared to be bombarded bro. Attacking a book on one of the big head-honchos of postmodern thought in christianity can affect many of his “disciples.”

    Anyhow, I have enjoyed most of his books, but I agree with you. I found the Story we find ourselves In, a little pushed. Like he tried really hard to make it fit. I was disapointed after so much enlightning by NKOC. I just hope his next one doesn’t follow the pattern of the second.

  3. #3 by LT on September 9, 2003 - 11:07 am

    Switch:

    I like Brian. I’ve even met him personally. He is a very nice guy and has a true pastors heart. I recommend ANKOC all the time.

    Sometimes it is hard to say something critical because you don’t want to give the impression you don’t believe in what God is doing through that person. At the same time we need to be honest. My opinion is just an opinion.

  4. #4 by Switch on September 9, 2003 - 11:35 am

    I Totally understand. I like his books and have some email conversations with him too. As I said most of his books – especially NKOC and Finding Faith has been a great companion in the journey.

    Nevertheless many have put him in the guru pedestal – i am pretty sure you come across many blogs with pomo this, emergent that and Brian McLaren as their Patron Saint. To me is refreshing to read your opinion on the book.

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