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Friday, 25 June 2010

The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster

The Sacred Journey is part of the Ancient Practices Series, edited by Phyllis Tickle.  In this book, Charles Foster addresses the practise of pilgrimage.  Journey is part of our humanity.  Physical pilgrimage and all its discomfort is an antidote to gnosticism, says Foster, something that comes up at various points in the book.  Nothing, he says, can truly replace the act of being 'on the road', of walking with a walking God - he who walked and invited others to follow him.

This is a thoughtful book, which made me feel part of a conversation.  I did not agree with everything he wrote, and sometimes found his interpretations of scripture stretched things a little, attaching more to the text than could justifiably be seen.  Nevertheless, his interpretations and his analogies are thought-provoking discussion starters.  I felt allowed to disagree, invited into the conversation - a fellow pilgrim, in a way.

The author's voice and opinions are fairly strong, but this sense of personality is not off putting, and makes this feel different from many other books.  He is not afraid to voice his thoughts and make a case for pilgrimage.  He does so with humility and self-deprecation and as such is an engaging author.

This book is a thoroughly honest yet gentle account of a practice often dismissed in post-reformation times. It calls for us to put aside our scepticism and allow ourselves to entertain new ideas, to re-visit old realities.

The Sacred Journey will appeal to those who hide a natural nomad's heart, who enjoy reflection and engagement, who love discovering new companions and new viewpoints on the roads of their lives. 

I review for BookSneeze

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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"The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."- Richard Foster