Reflections from The Postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress
I really liked The Postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress. It was thoughtful and funny–a great combination! It was an allegory, and I usually rather hear the ideas because that’s much faster than a story. That being said, I recommend this book!
The book was filled with a ton of great ideas–challenges, reminders, and encouragements. The book has a ton of quotable material, but I think the following was probably the central theme:
“That’s right: you weren’t enough,” the King said. “You were never meant to be enough. You were only asked to be faithful. You were only asked to keep on going forward.”
This story addressed a wide mix of “classical” and “contemporary” spiritual struggles. What do I mean by this?
Since the beginning, followers of Jesus have struggled with doubt, temptation, anger, discouragement, confusion, suffering, loss, the problem of evil, etc. (I consider these “classical” issues).
Unsurprisingly, the creators of the Babylonian Bee would also address current issues like cancel culture, deconstructionism, prosperity, and abortion. And let’s not forget the angry people on Twitter!
The story effortlessly weaves between all of these issues, evidence of great writing! According to my reading, here’s the picture the authors painted:
#1 The spiritual life is filled with constant struggle, pain, and loss. A dark picture! (I wonder if their primary audience is comfortable Christians.) The Christian life is good, but it isn’t easy. The authors did a great job driving home this point.
#2 God’s Word is important without becoming more important than God. The journey wouldn’t be possible without “the Book.” They also accurately described the core messages of the Bible and how we experience them.
#3 Everyone needs a buddy! We don’t need to get lost in a crowd of like-minded people; we need one person who is both encouraging and challenging–through the highs and the lows (Although there aren’t many highs in the story!).
#4 They connect faith and action. The spiritual life isn’t just about believing the right things; it’s also about doing the right things. When everything is upside down, and we don’t know what to do, just move forward!
#5 Humanity is limited — utterly and completely insufficient. We aren’t smart enough to understand God, and we aren’t good enough to follow Him.
I’m sure I’ve missed a lot! When I read the book, I wasn’t reading with a critical eye. I read it for personal encouragement, and this post reflects my “takeaways.”
I don’t want to be a comfortable Christian. I want to rely on God’s Word every day. I need a few good relationships, and I need to nurture them. I want to believe the right things about God — with AWE and REVERENCE — and I want to do the right things for God — with PASSION and ENDURANCE. Ultimately, I want to be faithful in all things, and the can’t happen without humility.