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The Ancient Practices SeriesSabbath and Pilgrimage

September 3, 2013

I just completed two addition volumes in The Ancient Practices Series edited and introduced by Phyllis Tickle. The two volumes were SABBATH by Dan Allender (Thomas Nelson, 2009) and THE SACRED JOURNEY by Charles Foster  (Thomas Nelson, 2010). The first volume I read in the series was on FASTING by Scott McKnight and it set the bar very high (see my past post/review of that excellent book. I was not disapointed in Dan Allender’s effort. The book flows out of a graduate class by the same title he teaches at Mars Hill in Seattle Washington. The metaphores and analogies he sets fourth as well as the practical examples he gives are worlds away from most of the dry, life squelshing traditional explainations often given about what sabbath keeping is about choosing terms like “sensual glory and beauty, ritual, communial feasting and playfullness”.  At the center of the discussion is “TIME” and how we as followers of Christ and the Kingdom of God are to relate to it in light of eternity. Read this book and let the fresh prespectives transform your sabbath experience. The second book by Englishman Charles Foster is not so easily described. He makes comments like, “when Yahweh became a man he was a homeless vagrent.’ This does not seem to indicate much reflection on Jesus role as a 1st century Jewish Rabbi which does not tend towards “vagrency”. He states “humans are built to wander…seeking a place that feels sacred, that speaks to the heart.” What does that mean exactly? In exploring the history of pilgrimage across cultures,religions and ages Foster places much to much stock in the reflections of non-christian pilgrims for my taste and sensabilities. I should not have been suprised Phyllis Tickle writes even in the introduction, “Everyone of you who reads the book  will find at least one thing you totaly disagree with and a whole handful of those you want to question” She was understating the case but she was right!! I look forward to reading the next book in the series.


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