The Back of the Book: ‘When Yahweh became a man, he was a homeless vagrant. He walked through Palestine proclaiming that a mysterious kingdom had arrived … He called people to follow him, and that meant walking.’ – Charles Foster
Humans are built to wander. History is crisscrossed by their tracks. Sometimes there are obvious reasons for it: to get better food for themselves or their animals; to escape weather, wars or plague. But sometimes they go – at great expense and risk – in the name of God, seeking a place that feels sacred, that speaks to the heart.
God himself seems to have a bias toward the nomad. The road is a favored place – a place of epiphany.
That’s all very well if you are fit and free. But what if you are paralyzed by responsibility or disease? What if the only journey you can make is to the office, the school, or the bathroom?
Best-selling English author and adventurer Charles Foster has wandered quite a bit, and he knows what can be found (and lost) on a sacred journey. He knows that pilgrimage involves doing something with whatever faith you have. And faith, like muscle, likes being worked.
Exploring the history of pilgrimage across cultures and religions, Foster uses tales of his own ravels to examine the idea of approaching each day as a pilgrimage, and he offers encouragement to anyone who wants to experience a sacred journey. The result is an intoxicating, highly readable blend of robust theology and lyrical anecdote – an essential guidebook for every traveler in search of the truth about God, himself, and the world.
When Jesus said, ‘Follow me,’ he meant us to hit the road with him. The Sacred Journey will show you how.
NotJustLaura’s Review: I really didn’t like this book. I chose it from BookSneeze and was sent a free copy in exchange for my honest review so I was obliged to read the whole thing. If it were not for this I would have given up and moved swiftly on.
Mr Foster offers a rather disjointed narrative whose argument I found difficult to follow. Each chapter is split into short sections with little linking between them so the whole book seemed to suffer from ‘grasshopper mind’. However, the basic idea seems to be that because Jesus was an itinerant preacher the modern reader should be also. Mr Foster is scathing of those who do not share his enthusiasm for the road (frostbitten fingers and all) and seems to have closed his mind to all other arguments. Unfortunately, this attitude caused me to close my mind to his and I would hesitate to pick up any of his other books.
For those who do enjoy the physical act of going on a pilgrimage, there is certainly plenty of material in this book. Mr Foster shares his own experience and those of others with whom he has travelled. He is at pains to point out that the journey is the main event for the Christian pilgrim rather than the eventual arrival and we can at least agree on this.