Saturday, April 30, 2011

Becoming Naked

“Naked Spirituality”, A Life with God in 12 Simple Words by Brian Mclaren. A book review.

He begins the book with the story of St. Francis, who after being accused of selling his fathers goods to raise money for a church renovation project, stripped himself of his clothes and everything he had to repay his father. Standing in front of his father, neighbors and peers said, “I shall go naked to meet my naked Lord.”
From here the author offers up 12 words that will help us to become naked before God. 12 words that help us develop practices that will lead us into a way of life with God. What the author means by these practices is,”…doable habits or rhythms that transform us, rewiring our brains, restoring our inner ecology, renovating our inner architecture, expanding our capacities. We mean actions within our power that help us become capable of things currently beyond our power.”

Like any book that deals with list of things some are better than others. Let me give you what I thought were a few of the better ones.

1. Thanksgiving. Being appreciative of what we have no matter how much or how little we have. He brings out the point that the more we have the more we should show gratitude or else our ingratitude will lead to unhappiness. Happiness is not to be found in the things that we have but in how thankful we are for the things that we do have.

2. He uses the word “O” to signify our need to worship. He gives 7 ways in which we can incorporate worship into our daily lives:

1) Give God the first greeting every morning
2) Give God the first thanks at every meal
3) Give God the first response to every pleasure
4) Give God the first consideration in your weekly schedule
5) Make God the first supervisor or customer for all work
6) Give God the first part of every paycheck
7) Give God the joy of your creativity

3. He uses the word “No” to express our times of discouragement and suffering. ‘No’ is our practice of rage and refusal to give up and to give in. It is the ability to question God and wonder where God is at during our dark times. The writer uses Psalm 77 and the story of Job to bring home his point.

The author concludes, in an appendix, ‘twelve simple prayers’ that relate with each of his 12 words. I liked these prayers. They are not prayers just to be recited but fill-in-the-blank types of prayers. Seemingly very practical and helpful.

This book was a good and easy read, the author avoids any big theological or technical terms thus making it accessible to all. He had some very good and original thoughts associated with many of his ‘words’. The only problem I had with the book is that I felt it was a little too wordy. Everything said could have been said in 50 less pages.

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