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Thomas Nelson The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices

Have Christians altogether rejected the practice of pilgrimage? When so many of our faithful bretheren before us have taken up the practice, why have so many all but abandoned the idea? The Sacred Journey is the last in Thomas Nelson's Ancient Practices Series. Here Charles Foster takes a deep and engaging look at the history, anthropology, theology and devotional worth of pilgrimage. Drawing deeply upon his own wanderings across the globe, Foster shows us how a journey to the most holy locations of our faith can deepen our prayerful awareness and strengthen our spiritual endurance.
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Customer Reviews for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Review 1 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

It was real

Date:July 6, 2011
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Stace
Location:Bakersfield, CA
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The book, “The Sacred Journey”, is beautiful .It describes me at my very core. I am the human being that has to walk when things go wrong. I yearn to be barefoot in my journey, because it truly is about the experience. The essence of the book is this: As humans, we pilgrimage. Some religions have a one a year big trip where you have to literally walk for hundreds or thousands of miles to reach a sacred building. As humans, we stride, or walk, wherever we go. It is not about arriving at our place, but it is about the journey. When it comes to our spiritual lives, it is no different. It is about choosing to walk with Jesus Christ daily, and live obediently to him alone.
The journey of walking daily with Jesus Christ changes people. It changes you, and it changes me. If you are not walking with Jesus Christ daily, I pray you would. It is scary. It is challenging. But God yearns to be with us, and He is transforming us from the inside out. He is the only one who has the power to “create me in a new heart” (Psalm 51:10) Rev 21:5 is where the Lord is on His throne, and says “I make all things new!”
God has such awesome power to transform us the minute we become “saved”, but instead we are left to the journey. Why? This is, because it is the experience of the lifetime. We have the opportunity to grow closer to the Lord, as we forsake the old self and turn to Christ daily! We are never left on the journey alone. We have Jesus Christ to walk with us, as we journey and we have the support of fellow believers who are on different stages of the same life-long journey.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 2 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

an interesting slant on an ancient practice

Date:March 27, 2011
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Eezbookreview
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
This book in the Ancient Practices Series, seeks to convince its audience that pilgrimage, in a very real and physical sense, is something every Christian should attempt to do. Drawing from history and different religions, the author shows the reader why man was made to wander. For the Christian, wandering in the sense of a physical journey, to walk with and discover God in one's life both spiritually and physically, should be at the very heart of a Christian's belief. While I disagreed with many of the more liberal spiritual views of this author, I did enjoy the author's relating of the history of pilgrimages to be very interesting and entertaining.
In his attempts to show why a Christian should go on a physical pilgrimage the author often used examples of people who were not Christian which left me with a confused sense as to which religion he was actually trying to promote. I did appreciate the author's linking the words of the Bible, its sense of nomadic life and movement to the present, and why Christians should continue to have that same sense of being strangers in this world, not just settled in to mundane lives with no expectations for a future and hope of life with Christ for all eternity. While I don't necessarily agree with the premise that everyone should attempt to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands utterly destitute and seeking out the Lord in the company of strangers, I do see how being completely dependent only on God both physically and spiritually should truly be the heart of the journey a Christian takes in this life. While not my favorite book to read, I would possibly recommend this book (with a caution to more conservative christians) for its challenging talking points and historical recaps.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. 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
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Review 3 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

The Sacred Journey

Date:February 15, 2011
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Reid
Location:California
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I read The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster. The subject of pilgrimage is one that I know very little about, so I was eager to read this book. However, I had a hard time getting into this book. Not sure if it was the subject matter or what. Also there were several statements that made me question, but I guess that's what this book was designed to do: Make one think for themselves.
If you are interested in this subject, you might enjoy this book, but if the thought of pilgrimage doesn't excite you, I doubt you'll enjoy this book.
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Review 4 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:May 14, 2010
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Clint Walker
This book on pilgrimage is not just a book by an academic that has studied pilgrimages, it is by a man who has practiced the discipline of pilgrimages for what seems to be decades. The author shares authentic insight as he talks about his highs and lows on his journeys. <br /><br />The book addresses the issue of pilgrimage in three movements. The first portion of the book lobbies persuasively for the importance of pilgrimage for spiritual development. It also makes the argument that God made humanity to be nomadic. The author clearly goes through Biblical history to make the point that "God is on the side of the wanderer". The next portion of the book tends to the practical aspects of going on a pilgrim journey. In this section, Foster attempts to answer some basic questions about how to go on a pilgrimages.The final portion of the book attempts to answer some criticism of pilgrimages. <br /><br />I loved this book. The Sacred Journey makes a persuasive argument for all believers to go on some sort of pilgrimage if they are physically able, which was exciting for me.What I loved more than the concept of going on the pilgrimage was the Biblical foundation for being a wanderer. <br /><br />I have always felt like more of a wanderer. Having moved several times as a child, and moved around a little bit in my adult years, I have at times felt judged for not staying in the same place. I have also felt the loss of being "from somewhere" and feeling like I could "go home". Yet, Foster makes the argument for being nomadic, and how this was true of Jesus, Abraham, Moses, and others. I felt comforted.<br /><br />I recommend you read this book. Be ready to be challenged. Be ready to see things from a different point of view. *This book was given to me in exchange for reviewing it by booksneeze.com and Thomas Nelson publishers.
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Review 5 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:May 7, 2010
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Elizabeth
Charles Foster's contention is clear: God has a 'clear bias for the wanderer' and accordingly the Christian life should consist of real pilgrimages, or metaphorical ones for those for whom its not possible. Starting from Abraham's nomadic wanderings and ending with Jesus' journey, Foster attempts to demonstrate that all Christ-followers should have the mind of a nomad-disciple.I was originally alienated by Foster's anti-institutional, anti-authoritarian approach. Whilst valid at times, he fails to acknowledge that God has and does work through institutional structures and even set them up! (cf. Titus 1:5) He mocks the "traditional" definition of the gospel offered by the conservative evangelicals at his dinner party, and instead proposes that the Gospels don't contain 'anything analogous to conversion', rather, people just follow Jesus, and gradually become transformed by doing so. But what about the woman in John 8 who has been accused of adultery? Jesus doesn't tell her to 'follow me', rather he commands that she 'leave her life of sin'.As Foster moves from the theological underpinnings of pilgrimage to the practical benefits of going, he becomes more convincing. Visiting the places Jesus walked, living simply and freely away from modern 'necessities' help build faith and grow in intimacy with God and other travellers. I also appreciated Foster's rejection of gnosticism prevalent in many churches today. This means that flesh and blood experiences like pilgrimages do affect our faith.In all, I appreciated Foster's lyrical, relaxed approach to writing. I also was thankful of his measured approach, whilst not sharing his openness towards relics, I liked that he didn't immediately condemn the Catholic church, and how he acknowledged a variety of Christian experiences but still noted the need to a personal commitment to Christ.
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Review 6 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:April 27, 2010
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Lisa Barnes
The Sacred Journey is about taking a walk, a long walk, otherwise known as a pilgrimage. But this is no metaphorical journey. This is not a book about having the heart of a pilgrim while staying home. For the author, the sacred journey is literal, on your feet, in your shoes, and going. After reading the first few chapters, I had to set the book aside, not because it is hard to read or boring. It is neither of those. I set it aside because I was offended. I resisted the idea that God favors the nomad. I let those early chapters wrestle with me for a time and then renewed my reading of it. By the end, the author had persuaded me to believe that there is nothing like a good pilgrimage to discover the richness and fullness of the kingdom of God. It may be that the authors wry wit, numerous quotes, scriptural references, and personal stories convinced me, or it may be that what he wrote eventually resonated with my own walking spirit. Whatever the case, this is not one of those typical journey books that makes a person feel good about their own spiritual formation. For this reason, I say read it and be challenged to risk the taking of a walk. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.
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Review 7 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Date:April 23, 2010
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beth
If you are secure enough in your faith, and want a new perspective, then this book may interest you. If you are struggling in your own personal journey to/with God, you may want to pass. This book is filled with contradictions, quotes, and confusion. Not one I would recommend to anyone else. The history is quite interesting, though. I spent more time cross-referencing the author's notes than I did trying to understand the convoluted and confusing writing of the author.
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Review 8 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:April 21, 2010
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Anupama rao
I got this book from the Booksneeze program from Thomas nelson publications.This book is about pilgrimage.It talks about how pilgrimage has been a holy tradition for over centuries and among different faiths.It defines pilgrimage from various perspectives and time and again emphasises the fact that the journey matters over arrival at the destination.It explains the physical realm of things in pilgrimage such as travelling,walking,wandering.Then substantiates the cause by quoting how God has travelled along with his people.The author talks about the need of a pilgrimage,where to go and describes the required mindset of a Pilgrim.He goes on to talk about the journey,the hardships on the way.He points out that the act of being on a pilgrimage is a process of re-discovering one's own self.The central idea of the book is summarized in one line when he says "pilgrimage changes people".This idea is reflected when he says that arrival at your destination is in itself a new beginning.And he concludes how life in itself is a pilgrimage and how we have an eternal companion to walk along with us as we travel towards our eternal destination.Just before he concludes he also mentions the reformists view of Pilgrim as a profane journey but doesn't really seem to agree.The book has numerous personal instances depicting various circumstances in a pilgrimage and at times his own experiences as a Pilgrim.It is an interesting read!!
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Review 9 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 20, 2010
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LW
This book focuses on the concept of pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is not something I was ever really taught about. Having been taught about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (God IN us), the notion of needing to go to a particular place in order to feel God's presence seemed like a waste of time and shoe leather. That said, while I do not believe that one must go to a particular place (such as Jerusalem) in order to experience God's presence, there are certain places in which I do feel more connected with God. Foster says, "...there is a sense in which everything is sacred--the veil between the sacred and secular has been ripped down. But that doesn't mean that sanctity doesn't bubble up particularly vigorously in certain places." Foster shares his own stories of journeys he's made to various sacred places and the people and experiences he's encountered during them. And the arrival, he points out, is less important than the actual journey and the lessons learned along the way. He also states that traveling is fundamental to human beings, that we all have an inherent desire for change and for moving. He points out that Christ Himself was a nomad, one who wandered throughout His ministry with no permanent residence. Foster discusses the fact that pilgrimage requires great faith and is often painful, physically as well as emotionally and spiritually. But the road is often the place where God brings insight and revelation in a way that would not happen at home.Pilgrimage is not limited to a physical journey, however; it is about getting beyond your comfort zone and pursuing God with your heart, not just your feet. This book was an enlightening glimpse into a practice that I didn't know much about, and provided much food for thought. I have a feeling that this is one of those books that I'll read again.
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Review 10 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 18, 2010
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GiniB
Here is a thought provoking, well written book. I couldnt say that at first. The authors style is bold and in some ways quite blunt. No sugar coating some of the difficulties of travel here! I soon discovered however, that I did yearn for a sacred journey of my own just a few more pages into his book. Foster shows the similarities between cultures in our basic search for God, a name hed very much like changed in the English language. Shocked, but I had to agree with him that it isnt exactly a very pleasant sounding word. Okay, just one of his asides that can get your dander up if you let it. Another of his opinions has to do with the urbanization of society and the ills that it breeds. Again, after some thought, he is right about that as well. But, when he starts on the farmers and ranchers I couldnt go there with him. Maybe he hasnt met enough of them yet. So what has all that to do with the sacred journey? Besides taking a mini-pilgrimage thinking through whether I agreed with him or not, he builds a case for how settled life styles deaden our senses. We cannot know God, ourselves, or anyone else when we are focused on he day to day grind. Layers of sediment that need scrubbing accumulate and a sacred journey can be helpful to restore our proper function. For most who are seeking that result, anyway. Best yet, he brings it full circle with a section on the return to everyday life after the journey. This well woven tale of the authors experiences alongside those from other times and places makes for an absorbing read. Reviewed for BookSneeze. Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review.
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Review 11 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Date:April 8, 2010
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bonnie shapiro
As part of the Ancient Practices series The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster explores the practice of pilgrimage. Foster pulls from many perspectives: Biblical, historical, his own personal experience and those of others. This book did not reveal it's true self to me until I was able to navigate out of the first few chapters. I am still unsure if it was the work of the author that lead me to this place or my personal desire to walk on a spiritual path. No doubt Charles Foster has presented some interesting theology and perhaps enabled one to question their desires for spiritual movement. However, this reader is left wanting more, not necessarily from this author.The Nomadic lifestyle that is described in the book in both an historic and Biblical perspective is interesting and well worth the read, however, is not to be confused as a 'how to' guide to pilgrimage. In an attempt to discuss pilgrimage in a world view the author has perhaps diverted from the path a bit. This book could perhaps offend many a Christian and make own wonder if Charles Foster has some disdain for Christianity. I believe the author is attempting to suggest that in order to grow spiritually we must keep moving, never becoming sedate or planted in a 'city'. Foster would much prefer we live on the fringe of complacent suburban life and join on a road on the fringe of the settlement. The overall problem with this work is that one is lead to make the best of the worst bits in an attempt to come away with something from the author. This reader came away with a stronger understanding of my own need and desire to seek out what is around the bend, always guided by Jesus. It is hard to say what you may come away with from this book and therefore, at this time, I am not recommending this as a 'must read'.Disclaimer: The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster was provided by Thomas Nelson through the Book Sneeze program for the purpose of this review.
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Review 12 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Date:April 7, 2010
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Derek
The Sacred Journey can be summarized in three parts. The first is the history of pilgrimages from the first Homo Sapiens through the medieval ages (where Luther and the Reformers attempted to put a stop to it) and on to recent times. The second talks mostly about the practical: how do we become a pilgrim? Why go? Even to the details: what should I bring along for the journey? The third is a defense of his position. Its extreme and many people will attack it. Foster gives as much quote space to Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Sikhs then to Christians. He speaks of all these different religions favorably while it seems his disdain for Christianity comes to the surface, never tiring of calling us Gnostics. He seems to favor the Buddhist, quoting one who says, thank you Jesus. When he asks why a Buddhist would thank Jesus the answer he gets is Why, hes a Buddha, my friend. A thought which Foster allows to linger. Finally there is a preference for good works over right doctrine. But more than this, Foster would dismiss right teaching altogether he says: it is shocking to note, yet again, how little doctrine [the disciples] are taught to teach. This is reckless negligence. Two thirds of the N.T. are doctrinal epistles.As I concluded the book, the phrase all things in moderation came to mind a concept that would no doubt horrify Charles Foster who presents his views with as much bigotry as he decries Protestantism often theological bigotry [p.196].)Fosters Gnostic Jesus is to be despised in favor of his Buddhist Jesus.Me, I dont want Fosters Jesus, either the Gnostic one he imagines we serve or the Buddhist one which he prefers. Disclaimer: This book was provided by Thomas Nelson through the Book Sneeze program for the purpose of this review.
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