MRTYR - Week 6

More Ready Than You Realize…” by Brian McLaren

Book discussion week 6 - chapters 14 & 15

Chapter 14:

  • “ I am less preoccupied with dating a conversion event these days. Instead, I am more focused on being part of an ongoing process.” From pages 104 thru 107, Brian talks about “salvation” or “accepting Christ” as part of the spiritual process/journey, not just an event. As Brian says in this chapter, churches have been so focused on the conversion part, that after the conversion the journey that continues or "the follow-up" is kind of a let down. But if it’s an ongoing process, there is no real let down parse, because the journey can and should be “new every morning”. Respond to what Brian has wrote here. Do you agree or do you think he's wrong on this? Why (either way)? Has your journey been more of a process, or, of a set conversion point and then you started from there? > ”When was I saved? God knows. I don’t.”
  • “How would you describe your relationship to God at this point? Are you strangers, acquaintances, dating, engaged, happily married, unhappily married, separated, divorced, or something in between?” no need to write an extra question, it’s all right there.

—- A side note: as I read Marie’s story (pg. 108), the biggest thing I loved and got out of it was that the whole group/community got a chance to share in a “milestone” in Marie’s journey (committing herself to Christ). The community joined in on this special occasion and got a chance to be with her and next to her on that important part of her journey. To me that’s huge, not only for her, but for the rest of the group too!

Chapter 15:

  • “Realize that spirituality isn’t just about beliefs about God, or sin, or heaven, or morality. In a real way, faith is about constructing a model of reality… This is why faith must always be growing, and why the disciple must always be teachable, open to correction, ready to admit ‘I’m wrong,’ and ready to think again (the root meaning of ‘repent’). This is because none of us is so naïve as to believe that he or she has the whole cosmic theological equation figured out. Nobody’s model is perfect. We are constantly in the process of critiquing our model, adjusting it, recalibrating it.” Pg. 114. wow, that statement made me think a lot. And I totally agree with it, as I see in my life that I’m constantly learning, critiquing and adjusting my beliefs. I feel as if a lot of Christians tend to get to a certain level of knowledge – however it comes – and then sit there saying “this is all there is to know about God and His principles. I’ve got all the theological terms down and this is what I was taught in (you pick: Sunday school, small group, bible college, seminary, from the pulpit, etc…).” So my questions are: do you find your faith growing? If so, in what places or with what people do find yourself free to grow and change without looks/whispers of shock and fear due to you being willing to take God out of a box? If your faith has grown a little lately, would you be willing to share with us how?
  • “ … if our focus is on ‘getting our way,’ then prayer is a pretty frustrating experience. But if the focus is on getting connected and staying connected to God… that’s a very different (and more appropriate, I think) approach to prayer.” Pg. 116-117. I think this is a very real and honest answer from Brian to prayer. He of course is responding to Alice’s e-mail where she said, “ I pray because it feels good to connect with God ”. Honestly, what are your reactions and thoughts to each of there statements? What do you think of prayer or what does it mean to you?

—- Another side note: Brian ends the chapter with this “You may disagree with my response, and in fact, I may be wrong. After all, I’m just a disciple myself, learning and growing and changing my model of the universe as I go.” I wrote a statement under that quote the first time I read the book. “Brian’s able to continue searching, admit he might be wrong, and willing to share his beliefs.” I appreciate his walk, the continually journey and learning of his faith, and the fact that he is not a typical minister – humble and able to admit he might be wrong, and change his model as he grows. To me, he is trying to live as a real Christian, one who truly is on a journey – not just pretending to be. And I hope I am there myself.

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