Gift Guide

A Search for What Is Real

( 3 )


There have been times when you’ve felt that if there isn’t a God, there ought to be.

Swept up in the mystery of the night sky, you’ve felt the closeness of its designer. Nature’s extravagant diversity, unfolding in living color, has made you long to know the artist who dreamed it all up. Imagine what that might be like—to actually know God in a way that fills your heart and whispers tremendous value and purpose to something deep within you.


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Finding Faith---A Search for What Is Real

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There have been times when you’ve felt that if there isn’t a God, there ought to be.

Swept up in the mystery of the night sky, you’ve felt the closeness of its designer. Nature’s extravagant diversity, unfolding in living color, has made you long to know the artist who dreamed it all up. Imagine what that might be like—to actually know God in a way that fills your heart and whispers tremendous value and purpose to something deep within you.

But how can you experience a being you’re not even sure exists? Religious jargon and games can’t satisfy such a longing. It’s got to be real … or nothing at all.

A Search for What Is Real helps you sort through the questions, objections, and concerns that arise when you consider God not as some theological abstraction, but as someone you can actually connect with … and want to connect with, perhaps more than you know.


The Finding Faith books A Search for What Makes Sense and A Search for What Is Real don’t try to tell you what to believe; they are guides in learning how to believe. If you think the spiritual journey requires turning your back on honesty and intellectual integrity, these two companion volumes will speak to both your mind and your soul.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In this book, nondenominational pastor Brian McLaren explains that faith must answer the needs of both your mind and your heart. Among the gnawing questions that he tackles are: Can God be experienced through doubt? Why is church the last place I turn to connect with God? Does it really matter what I believe? Why are there so many religions? Do all these paths lead to the same God? Uplifting reflections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310272670
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Series: Finding FaithSeries Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.13 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian D. Mc Laren (MA, University of Maryland) is an author, speaker, activist and public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian pastored Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. Brain has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors for over 20 years. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings in the US and internationally.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Steve Chalke     9
Introduction     13
Spiritual Experience
How Might I Experience God?     23
How Else Might I Experience God?     44
Can I Experience God through Doubt?     70
Help for the Spiritual Search
Why Is Church the Last Place I Think of for Help in My Spiritual Search?     80
Why Is the Bible the Next-to-Last Place I Think of for Help in My Spiritual Search?     102
What If I Lose Interest?     123
Milestones in My Spiritual Journey
Tadpoles on the Kitchen Table     143
Jesus Anonymous     158
On a Maryland Hillside     170
Afterword     189
Sources and Resources     191
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Faith Discovery Quest

    McLaren explores the ways in which people "experience God." In this book he addresses those who have not yet come to belief, who have not yet come to experience God. His stated goal is to help the reader discover how to believe.

    This book is not for a person who has decided they have already figured God out. McLaren takes God seriously and leads us to explore God in relational terms that draw us into the actual life of God, not just an easy dogma. McLaren takes seriously the inner turmoil and uncertainty many of us have when moving into faith or progressing in the rich and uncharted depths of the Faith-Life.

    This sensitive writer is clear that he has beliefs and that these are basic to his identity. But he understands his task to be not telling others what to believe, how to believe or how to experience God. Rather, he takes the approach of an advocate, a partner in the search, and steps back from his own experience to explore how various people of his personal acquaintance have come to experience the reality of God and to come into relationship with God.

    In the process, he shows no fear as he additionally reports on personal experiences, problems and challenges that have led to his own insights and awareness of the reality of God. He speaks of experiencing God in various situations and coming to constant awareness of God's presence and working in his life.

    McLaren does not set out to give answers to common problems. This book is not another of those popular books in the vein of "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About God and How to Believe in Him." No, this thoughtful and sympathetic book takes seriously people's inner experience of life and its complexity. As in previous books, McLaren takes both Faith and his readers seriously, inviting the reader to engage the topic and explore the possibilities.

    In this focused, personal and readable book, McLaren encourages exploration, and leads us on a journey through the real experiences of people who have experienced God and come to understand life in Faith. He illustrates 12 common ways that individuals come to faith through their experiences and thought processes.

    He then spends one whole chapter on an additional possible way to come to faith. Chapter 3 asks "Can I experience God through Doubt?" He then proceeds into two areas: Help for the Spiritual Search and Milestones for My Spiritual Journey. As usual, McLaren does not waste time on useless philosophies or abstract ideas. This is not a rationalist presentation of abstract intellectual constructs.

    This is a practical guide, with a friendly tone and an understanding heart. McLaren's little volume will be a helpful and non-threatening aid for those who have the feeling there is something in the reality beyond us that holds value for us, but who are tired of the silly and judgemental trivialities usually presented as the way to find the spiritual reality we call God. McLaren is nobody's fool.

    This book could be considered a contribution to the topic of Faith and Life. Because McLaren reports on actual case studies, it could also be considered a commentary on the challenges of contemporary American culture, from a dynamic spiritual perspective.

    McLaren is a friend and guide who helps clarify common questions and suggest situations and processes for discovering and exploring the spiritual reality of God in personal faith.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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