A Reader Writes: In the chaos of war … your best book yet

First of all, I think “Faith After Doubt” is your best book yet; thank you for putting down in words the journey so many of us have walked.

We met about ten years ago when you spoke at a church near where I live.  I was a military chaplain at the time and told you how you had almost literally saved my (spiritual) life through your books while I was deployed in Iraq.  I was deep into what you now label as Stage 3, having wrestled with doubts for years, but seeing it all come to a head in the midst of the chaos of war.  It took several years after our meeting to finally break through and feel comfortable in the Harmony stage, though of course that’s still a work in progress.  … As I read your book I was amazed at how my own spiritual journey mirrored the movement between the Four Stages of Faith as you described them.  I told my wife that it was as if you had read my memoir and used my story for your book!

I came away from reading your book both affirmed and longing.  Affirmed, obviously, because I know the movement into Harmony is fulfilling both individually and socially.  But longing because this can be such a lonely and isolated place to be.  You related the conversation with the young couple about the possibilities of raising their children through the stages towards a faith working itself out in love.  You honestly told them there are not many communities of faith that are open to doubt and working towards harmony.  Those that do exist seem to be almost entirely made up of young people working through their doubts and explorations, or old traditional congregations that may be open, but are tied down to their liturgies and organizations.  So where does that leave someone like me, a former professional Christian who has moved through perplexity and now breaths the liberating relief of Stage 4 Harmony?  There are no congregations in our community that walk in this kind of faith, and I am not one to go camping at a week-long retreat somewhere in the mountains.  I’m certainly not looking for you to have a solution, but perhaps it’s something to address in the future?

So, again, thank you for the latest edition to my Brian McLaren library!  And thank you again for consistently, if unknowingly, being a spiritual strength for me over the last decade of my journey.

Thanks so much for these kind words. I remember our conversation many years ago. It means a lot to me to hear how you’re doing and how your growth process continues. Even in our sixties, we’re still not finished growing!

Yes, we need more demand and supply of four-stage faith communities … and I hope and pray that your words here will inspire some current and future church leaders (as well as rabbis, imams, and others) to build those communities. It can happen … I believe it will … but as in the case of all births, gestation and labor can’t be avoided. I will continue to hold this need in my heart and respond as I am able. Again, thanks for your encouraging words …


If people are interested in ordering the book (also available as digital and audio), you’ll find ordering info here: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/faith-after-doubt/