Brian D. McLaren is the author of Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It. Shout out to my friend Mike Branch for sending me a copy of this book! You’re too kind!!
This book is an important milestone in the progressive Christian movement. It is really only partly about doubt as such. It is more about the various stages of faith and how doubt is a natural stage of the faith journey that helps provoke us to greater and deeper experiences of faith and transcendence. Drawing on the work of many other authors who have noted the ways that faith moves through various stages of maturity McLaren proposes his own four-fold scheme: simplicity, complexity, perplexity, and harmony. He has several appendices that help map and explain these stages in detail and also map them in comparison to other similar schemes.
The pastoral heart of the book is one of its major strengths. McLaren obviously cares deeply about people who have had shameful church experiences or deep periods of doubt. The book is organized into three parts and fifteen chapters as follows:
Part One: Your Descent Into Doubt
- Doubt as Loss
- Doubt as Loneliness
- Doubt as Crisis
- Doubt as Doorway
- Doubt as Growth
Part Two: All In Doubt
- Doubt as Descent
- Doubt as Dissent
- Doubt as Love
- A Human Problem
- Faith, Beliefs, and Revolutionary Love
Part Three: Life After (And With) Doubt
- Communities of Harmony
- Theologies of Harmony
- Spiritualities of Harmony for the Rising Generation
- Harmony as a Survival Strategy
- A Civilization in Doubt
I would recommend this for those people who have found themselves on the fringes of the Church or those who have left all together. This book is also good for those who are comfortable in their faith and would like a little challenge. I liked the book, but I did find it challenging for me personally. Having read it though, I am better for it. Consider reading it and meeting to chat about it!