In her forward to Foster’s book, part of Thomas Nelson’s Ancient Practices Series, Phyllis Tickle, the General Editor of the series, writes, “Every one of you who reads this book will find a least one thing you totally disagree with and a whole handful of those you want to question. Please do so. Otherwise, none of it is pilgrimage.”
At times I questioned Foster’s, a lawyer, a professor at Oxford, and an Anglican, orthodoxy as he spoke of relics and shrines and jaunts through cities and towns and country sides that made no sense at all. But at other times, I was caught up in the walk across the English countryside, around the world, and through the streets of Jerusalem.
In The Sacred Journey, Foster, who has “pilgrimed” around the world, shares his theology of pilgrimage in a… well pilgrimage through the pages of this book that takes us across this earth, Christian history, and via a comparative look of Islam and Hinduism along the way.
If you are looking for a “how to” of going on a journey, a literal journey, inward as well as “to” something… this book is not for you. Yes, he addresses some of the ‘how to’s’ in this book. But more important, he addresses the “why” of going on pilgrimages.
And… he makes a definite difference between being a tourist (that he illustrates in a memorable story with a group of tourists in Jerusalem) and being on a pilgrimage.
With a colorful (in the right sense of the word) flair and a “wide-eyed” jump onto the roads of faith (and this earth), Charles Foster has done us a favor…
He makes us think about the value and practice of Jesus’ words “Follow me.”
Words that in this shrinking globe of ours take us out of our routines and into the world, the outer and the inner that are part of our discipleship and our call to follow Jesus.
(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program called Book Sneeze (www.booksneeze.com) I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)