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A Review of More Ready than you Realize

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 14, 2012

More Ready Than You Realize: The Power of Everyday ConversationsMore Ready Than You Realize: The Power of Everyday Conversations by Brian D. McLaren

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I usually like McLaren’s books and I wanted to like this one, but in the end, I didn’t finish it because I just couldn’t buy the primary premise. It’s a book about how the Christian church needs to revitalize its efforts at evangelism to a postmodern world by changing guilt inducing preaching to a series of conversations. Fine. I’m OK with that. However, McLaren constructs the book with the skeleton of a series of emails, allegedly legitimate, from a woman he calls “Alice” in order to protect her identity. Alice is a college student who, for reasons that are never clearly explained, WANTS to become a Christian very badly but is turned off by the intolerance, judgmental attitudes, etc., etc., of contemporary evangelical Christianity. Why she’s so desperate to become a Christian eludes me. Anyway, they meet at a book signing of his and he helps her pack some stuff while during which time she admits to having glanced at his book and found it interesting. So she starts emailing him. He claims to include the emails in their entirety, misspelling and all, for authenticity purposes. OK, this girl might be a smart college student for all I know, but the emails are absolutely insipid! Just trite ramblings. And then McLaren gleans somehow “meaningful” elements from them, stretching to in some occasions it seems to me, and he apparently responds to her emails so as to answer the various religious/theological/spiritual questions she has. But while he’s apparently saved ALL of her emails to him, he saved NONE of his to her (ever heard of checking your Sent Mail outbox Brian?), so we can only go on his word that he made a brief comment or two addressing her concerns. I found this profoundly disturbing. I mean, it feels like he’s trying to hide something! What’s going on here? And as this woman draws closer and closer to God and Christianity, he continues to encourage her through these email “conversations” all the while printing her emails in their entirety and none of his. What teachings is he sharing with her so that she grows? We’re never told. I made it to page 95 before giving up in disgust. I think it’s largely a useless book, which perhaps had some promise in its premise, but is ultimately insipid. Pity.

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