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Thomas Nelson The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook

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 - eBook
Review 1 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

The Sacred Journey is worth the read

Date:October 31, 2011
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BeLoveServe
Location:London
Age:25-34
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Quality: 
4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I recently received a book, that is part of the Ancient Practices Series with Thomas Nelson publishing, titled A Sacred Journey. The book is authored by Charles Foster. I have no past experience with Charles Foster; however, the title seemed to resonate with where I have been 0f late. Over the last year, I have found myself on some unique travels. Also, I have been on the edge of moving to far off places like England, Seattle, and New Zealand, over the last year or so. So I have spent plenty of time living and thinking about the life of adventure. This book has given me a whole new appreciate for the theology of pilgrimage. Charles Foster has clearly spent some time wrestling with words like follow, kingdom movement and wandering. As Foster says, “Yahweh became a man, he was a homeless vagrant. He walked through Palestine proclaiming that a mysterious kingdom had arrived…he fascinated the people on the edge of things: the underdogs, the despised. He wasn’t a big hit with the urban establishment.” My Jesus is often too suburban and safe, to resemble the God I read in the Bible. Once I picked up this book, I couldnt put it down. It reminded me of how much I have grown in love with stuff, become lazy, and find myself suffocating for something real. However, the book did not stop there. Charles Foster challenges his readers to take Jesus’s words, “follow me” very seriously. The book actively inspires me to exercise my faith, take risks, and enjoy the journey. I highly recommend this book. I will share a few of my favourite quotes. However, you may need to read the book to really understand the context.
- “Pilgrimage can give a taste of Christian radicalism. In fact ‘Christian radicalism’ is a tautology: nothing that is not radical is Christian. That takes some grasping. The road can help us grasp it. A stockbroker on pilgrimage for a week will be able to imagine better what it means to leave everything and follow Jesus. He’ll be on the fringes of places and the fringes of society, and hence in the heart of the kingdom and the company of its elite. For that week he’ll be an ally of Abel, not an enemy. Those little tastes of the kingdom can be addictive.”
- “The Reformers lost the war against pilgrimage. You can’t root out something so fundamental to human identity. Christians of all denominations and none, and people with nothing other than the compulsion to walk, flock to Taize, Santiago, Rome, and Jerusalem. Their motives are perhaps more mixed, or less well defined, than some of those medieval pilgrims. Many would say that they are going to find ‘themselves’ or ‘what its all about’… Not everyone finds what he is looking for, but everyone finds something that he didn’t have before and that he needs and wants. Pilgrimage involves doing something with whatever faith you have. And faith, like muscle, likes being worked.”
- “I did a trail at my pastorate at Holy Trinity Brompton. Without indicating the source, I wrote down several doze quotations on the subject of pilgrimage culled from most of the main religions. I asked the theologically sophisticated Christian audience to identify the ‘Christian’ ones. They couldn’t. They were hopeless. When I told them which was which, they were amused and horrified. A rather intense girl had identified a sixth-century Hindu text as, ‘oozing the spirit of Jesus’ (And who am I to say she was wrong?)”
- “If the blood flow through your heart reduces, you have pain. If it stops moving, you die. If water stops moving, it gets foul. This seems to illustrate a general rule.”
- “Throughout the Bible (with a crucial last-minute twist) God hates cities. He is much easier to find in the wilderness. He takes the side of the itinerant shepherd against the factory farmer.”
- “The best-traveled people, the ones who have seen the most, are the ones who remain the most capable of seeing the world through the eyes of children. Children’s eyes dont have the spiritual cataracts that blir the vision of the worldly-wise. They see color, mystery, and excitement where we see only a parking lot. They are immeasurably richer than we are.”
- “The gospels smell of the road as The Odyssey smells of the sea.”
- “Pilgrimages do things. The travels of Abraham inked in the covenant and laid the foundations of a nation; the exodus transformed a people and won a land; the Baptist girl at my dinner got a husband, was healed of hay fever, and became a Jesus Freak. Then came the Sermon on the Mount, which is all about the people on the edges – the sort of people you meet, eat with, walk with, bed down, and become if you walk from town to town, but would never see if you drive along the freeway in your air-conditioned limo. By and large the Sermon on the Mount is utterly irrelevant to most modern churches. Our lives, our business, and our mission strategies are constructed very specifically according to precisely the principles so clearly denounced by Jesus. If we had been running his campaign, we’d have thrown money not at lepers, but at management consultants and lobbyists… And Jesus certainly wouldn’t have been allowed to walk. It’s dangerous, time-consuming, and sends out all the wrong signals.”
- “He loved the road because it honored adn enabled that community. He hated the city because it brutalized and suffocated it. But community itself has been redeemed; relationship has been redeemed. That is the meaning of the new city. It’s not that true fellowship of the road can somehow manage to exist within the Holy City; there is nowhere else that it can be what it has always really been. And that is the end of all pilgrimage. There is no other end. ‘The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’(Rev. 22:17)’”
- “Shane Claiborne talks about his Christian upbringing in eastern Tennessee. At evangelistic services, there would be the great call to the front; and every year he and his mates would go forward, singing ‘Just as I am’; and each year, he says, they would leave just as they were. Whatever your fastidious theological doubts about penitential pilgrimages, that never happened to someone who had walked from Paris to Rom in winter, losing toes from frostbite on the St. Bernard Pass, carrying a yoke forged from the club he’s used to beat his wife to death.”
- “We see the same syndrome again and again in conservative religion. The greater the evidence against its assertions, the greater the zeal with which they are preached, the greater the consequent isolation from the rest of the world, and the greater ease with which the cult members can be protected against the corrupting power of alternative worldviews.”
- “The early Christian Celts spoke about ‘thin places’ – places where worlds (I would prefer to say ‘dimensions’) were particularly close to each other. Places where, if you were quiet enough, you could hear the murmurings of God.”
- “Go. Don’t take much. Don’t worry too much about preparing. The journey itself will prepare you for whatever you need to be prepared for.”
- “Habitual tourists may be reading this and feeling left out. Good. Sorry, but what you do isn’t what we’re talking about here. A religious tourist in the holy sites is an invulnerable pilgrim. An invulnerable pilgrim is an oxymoronic creature, like a four-legged biped. Certainly pilgrims can read guidebooks, see the sights, and tick boxes on clipboards; but tourists cant get new eyes while remaining tourists.”
- “It’s not just pilgrims who make a pilgrimage: it’s pilgrims different from you. A pilgrimage is a journey to the ultimate otherness.”
- “Pilgrimage is a little pocket of nomadism. Many insecure societies notably the ‘advanced’ ones that have lost their connections with the land, and therefore fear it and its people, feel threatened. They worry that a little focus on pilgrimage might metastasize dangerously into settled life. They are right to worry.”
- “The nomadic people of God, if they’re on the right road, go from an oasis somewhere in East Africa, Mesopotamia, or the Jungian collective subconscious (depending on your exegetical preferences) through wild and barren places, progressively learning to smile, relate, and serve. And they end up in a city where none of their desert sensibilities are violated, where everything they have learned about self-giving and relationship is used and multiplied and transformed.”
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Review 2 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

life is a highway

Date:August 24, 2011
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markbraye
Location:Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada
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4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
4 out of 5
"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, The Sacred Journey)
The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster is a volume in The Ancient Practices Series from Thomas Nelson. this volume, like the rest of the series, is excellent.
the concept and metaphor of journey is a wonderful way to think about the spiritual life. like a journey, the spiritual life is full of ups and downs, roadblocks, bumps, storms, and times of smooth sailing.
Foster's The Sacred Journey is part theological and spiritual text, part biographical, and part great story telling.
early in the book, in the Preface, Foster states, about the book: "I have tried to articulate a theology of pilgrimage."
The Sacred Journey has received mixed reviews and feedback. it seems to stem from the fact that this book is not your typical conservative evangelical text. in fact, a few of the volumes in The Ancient Practices Series would rub some people the wrong way. this is unforetunate.
The Sacred Journey is well-written and a delight to read. it is defintely worth reading. it will enrich your spiritual jounrney greatly.
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Review 3 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe 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
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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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 4 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Is it really about Christ?

Date:June 10, 2011
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inlovwitchrist
Location:Ontario
Age:18-24
Gender:female
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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1 out of 5
1 out of 5
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1 out of 5
1 out of 5
"Sacred Journey" is part of the "Ancient Practices Series" and even though I had not read the other titles I was still able to get the main message of this book in the series. This book is about pilgrimage either as an intentional departure from regular life to trek on an actual pilgrimage or as how our very lives can be a pilgrimage if we plan about it. The book includes stories from the writer's many experiences as a pilgrim and also tidbits from the experiences of other pilgrims of other religions. The writing is excellent, the thoughts clear and easy to read.
That said, I did not like the book. I did not like the style, the humor, the sarcasm, the irreverence, nor the free flowing mix of criticism of Christianity and adulation of pagananism. I found it very unpalatable at times. I found it downright sacrilegious at other times. I found it almost anti-Christian at still other times. I must admit that by the end of the book I was quite annoyed with the implied superiority that I believed was coming through his words. It struck me as interesting that his last chapter dealt with that exact comment from one of his friends.
Well, as we all know everyone has a different perception point. Others have read this book and come out of the experience with a deeper spiritual understanding. So this is my take on this book, you may want to deciced for your self
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Review 5 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

For the pilgrim in us all

Date:April 20, 2011
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Stnd4truth
Location:Michigan
Age:45-54
Gender:female
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
"The Sacred Journey" by Charles Foster, is a book intended for those who yearn for pilgrimage, a retreat from the mundane, a journey into the spiritual that will forever change your outlook on life.
The first few chapters into the book were difficult to keep reading but my curiousity kept me turning the pages. I discovered within my own self, the desire to embark on a pilgrimage of my own and this book gives an interesting viewpoint on how to correctly go about a true pilgrimage instead of a mere site seeing tour of a spiritual attraction that the pilgrim hopes to find spiritual revelation from.
This book offers the reader insight into the psyche of the individual who yearns for a true connection with the God who has made him. Although a harder read than I would have liked, this book definately takes the reader into a place of contemplation into their own world of discovering their relationship with God. For those of us who yearn for something more, perhaps a deeper connection and a truer understanding of ourselves, I would recommend this book to read.
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Review 6 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great Resource about Spiritual Pilgrimages

Date:April 15, 2011
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Wordmachine
Location:Grayson, GA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This book describes what spiritual pilgrimages are about, how they can give new eyes to people about the world around them, and how they change people on the inside. Spiritual pilgrimages are important to grow in relationship with the Lord. Each chapter prepares a better understanding of spiritual pilgrimages and encourages people to be involved in them.
This book spiritually enlightened me. It opened up my mind to what spiritual pilgrimages are and has created an interest inside of me to learn about other topics relating to spiritual pilgrimages to expand my thinking on the subject. I could probably spend many weeks or months in deep study on these topics.
The book does a great job of explaining that not all spiritual pilgrimages will be the same for everybody. It also gave me a new outlook on wanderers.
The study guide enclosed in the book is great for personal reflection or small group discussion for each chapter. This book has made me curious about what the other books in "The Ancient Practices Series" are about, also.
If you are looking for a book that will help you find ways to drop everything (or most everything) to follow the Lord, then this book will be an encouragement to you.
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 7 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Painful to finish

Date:April 13, 2011
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Tracy
Location:Panama City, FL
Age:35-44
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2 out of 5
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3 out of 5
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1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Humans are built to wander. History is crisscrossed by their tracks. Sometimes there are obvious reasons for it, but sometimes they go in the name of God, seeking a place that feels sacred, that speaks to the heart.
Exploring the history of pilgrimage across cultures and religions, Foster uses tales of his own travels to examine the idea of approaching each day as a pilgrimage. The result is an intoxicating, highly readable blend of robust theology and lyrical anecdote.
I took this summary from the back of the book because, quite honestly, I never quite figured out what the book was actually about. I couldn’t figure out the point, or why I invested hours of time that I will never get back.
First, I must disagree with the summary. This ISN’T a highly readable book. I felt myself getting bogged down by obscure references to quotes and authors that added little to what the chapter was suppose to be conveying. I felt the chapters and paragraphs were more of a pilgrimage, the wanderings through the mind of the author. I felt there were many times when I couldn’t figure out where the line of thought was going. For example, (p.77) “On the eighth day Jesus ... was taken up to the Jerusalem temple ... then the family headed up on the old road through the hills of Samaria [okay, talking about a Jewish pilgrimage] (one of the loveliest and most inflammable routes in Israel, marked by command towers and suspicion. ...we stopped to eat hot dogs at an Israeli Army post [So?] ‘Every week the Army here catches a young boy who wants to blow himself up on a bus in Israel’) [What does that have to do with the Jewish pilgrimages that the paragraph opens with?]”
Second, there are numerous contradictions. Foster ascertains that the pilgrimage will always change the pilgrim, for better or worse. Then, in talking about Margery Kempe (p. 175), he says “Pilgrimage seems to have taught her nothing.” Which is it? He quotes from “my friend Steve” who says that Heathrow airport is just as holy as Jerusalem. Holiness is wherever a person repents and turns his life over to Jesus. Foster disagrees and says that place matters. Then on p. 134 he writes, “the arrival point is less important that the journey” and “The meeting you thought would happen in the throne room in the center of a royal palace actually happen in a urine-drenched bus shelter. And that’s because the bus shelter is the palace.” This implies that Heathrow is just as holy as Jerusalem. So which is it?
Lastly, I feel like he uses cliche in such a way that they really add nothing to the point. It seems like he tried to use wit or insight to get a message across, but it only added distraction and confusion for me. I kept stopping to figure out where this was going. I felt he makes assumptions about the heart of the tourist and the pilgrim. If a “pilgrim” complained or whined, he isn’t a true pilgrim, but rather a tourist. When Foster lost his finger to frostbite, I am supposed to assume that he didn’t complain about the finger or the pain since he is a “pilgrim” because “A pilgrimage is transmuted into a package tour at the first sound of a whine.”
All in all, I didn’t enjoy this book. I don’t feel like I learned anything from it and I won’t be recommending it to others. I finished the book only because I committed to finishing it and submitting a review through Booksneeze.com.
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Review 8 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Straddling the Fence

Date:March 30, 2011
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Pam M
Location:NC
Age:45-54
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Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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2 out of 5
2 out of 5
I will start with the best thoughts I had about the book, The Sacred Journey. The writing makes me think...it challenged me not only intellectually but also spiritually. There are no answers, only observations and appeals to yearnings I have to admit I have had. A yearning to be a hobo, not in a bad way, but a dependent way. This book if you make it through it, will shake and jar you. This could be good or it could be bad.
The editor and author tell us that the book may be offensive. I feel that I can truthfully say it was offensive to me. Alongside that offense was a question of why did it offend me? I think it was the easy acceptance of the author that a spiritual pilgrimage could include alcohol and cannibis and throwing caution to the wind in your choice of companions in life. I cannot say I would recommend this book to anyone, in particular young people or those in typical mainstream Christian churches (which the author seems to have issues with).
I found the book to be filled with stories, points, quotes from non-Christian religions that support the author's premise that a physical spiritual journey is necessary to move into a lifetime of following Jesus. There were many things I agreed with and many I didn't.
I believe this book will lead a person into areas of thinking that are different from the norm of a typical Christian. It would be a great discussion book and it does have a study guide in the back. These questions do focus on living life with fresh eyes and open mind.
The references to literature and history may make the book hard to follow if you have not studied at a college level. I have a college degree and still needed my dictionary for many of the words.
I thought , "I hate this book" all the way to page 32. Then I began to see it as a book that "could" be used to spur me into deeper thinking. However, if you are looking for an inspirational easy read...this is not it.
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Review 9 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe 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
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2 out of 5
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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 10 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

best of the series

Date:March 21, 2011
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pastor2519
Location:West Point, UT
Age:55-65
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Book review: The Sacred Journey
In a strange sort of way this book reminds me of me. I’m a wanderer, although as I get older, it sometimes seems strange to say that. It’s getting harder to get around; more ‘stuff’ seems too important to not take along, and the thought of sleeping on the ground makes my back scream out in agony. But as I read this book, I wanted to pack a (very small) bag and set out with old and blistered feet and new and tired eyes.
Since this is part of the Ancient Practices series, I was a little surprised to read that it wasn’t a ‘Christian book’, in the sense that the author draws from the wisdom of many religions. And that certainly increases the appeal: pilgrims aren’t limited to being Christian, and it’s a wise man that learns from others, even if they don’t always dance to the same drummer. Besides, Jesus didn’t start out as a Christian: He was born a Jew. And when Abraham started his wandering, Judaism wasn’t known yet.
And as Foster points out, God seems to have been very much in a pilgrim mode as He led His people from place to place, ‘living’ in a tent for generations before allowing the temple to be built for Him.
I was actually hooked by the ‘test’ offered in the prologue. As I evaluated my answers and the reasons for answering the way I did, I found myself looking forward to seeing the answers revealed in the following pages.
This is one of those books that I found difficult to put down, but at the same time, it was difficult to keep reading. I wanted to read more of what Foster had to say, but I wanted to stop and savor every morsel of the delicious meal that he had offered up to the company of pilgrims wandering with him on the Sacred Journey.
Bottom line: I like the Ancient Practices series, and this book is my favorite from the series. (4.5 out of 5)
This Book was provided free by the publisher, with the expectation that I would write an unbiased review.
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Review 11 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Take a walk with Jesus

Date:March 13, 2011
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gadfly1974
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Have you ever been to Jerusalem?
I haven't.
But if I had, I wouldn't have gone as a pilgrim on a spiritual journey. I would have arrived as a tourist, and that wouldn't have been right.
Now that I've read this book, I feel like I'd get more out of the experience.
Charles Foster shares many personal stories about pilgrimage, as well as an overview of the many pilgrim routes in Europe and the Middle East.
The last line of the book sums up its contents well: "[A]s a summary of the four Gospels, 'Let's go for a walk together' is not bad."
If you'd like to take a walk with Jesus, then I recommend you read this book.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Review 12 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

The Sacred Journey

Date:March 12, 2011
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khulifish
Age:25-34
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5 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Pilgrimages are no longer common place these days, although still taken by some, the majority of those in christianity do not do it. Charles Foster in The Sacred Journey is trying to invoke in us the need once agin to go on a Pilgrimage, to show us what we are missing by not going on one. Pilgrimages largely died out due to the fact that they were seen as unnessecary and not asked for by the bible. Charles Foster explains that we have lost a lot in not going on pilgrimages. His belief is that we are always on a journey of discovery of our faith and the actual undertaking of this pilgrimage will do much to aid us in the journey. He states that even thou we are on a journey with God as our lives proceed, his argument is that an actual journey, an actual pilgrimage will help with our journey. He believes that the pilgrimage improves our faith and strengthens our belief system. To which I must readily agree.
This book is quite enlightening and brings thru into the reader an longing to go on a pilgrimage in order to discover more about themselves and their faith. Charles Foster wants to bring back to Christians something that was once seen as a great excercise in belief and wants to renew this in modern day Christians. His arguments for going on pilgrimages and for bringing them back are strong and in depth, but he also backs up his arguments with testements and erittings from long ago when pilgrimages were common place. He includes in this, many of the beliefs and scriptures from sources outside of christianity and the reader must be able to accept this addition, he uses these as ways of showing that pilgrimages are used to strengthen the faith of many people still.
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Review 13 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:March 2, 2011
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Thrifty Mom Spot
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
The Sacred Journey is the final book in "The Ancient Practice Series." In this series, ancient practices are studied in depth, by different authors, such as fasting, tithing and communion. This book, focuses on "pilgrimage" as the final lost ancient practice of the early church.
Do not waste your money and do not waste your time reading this book. The author clearly has a distorted view of reality. Phyllis Tickle states in her forward that the reader will probably disagree with at least one thing the author has to say about pilgrimage in this book. That is an understatement. The first few chapters of this book are attempting to convince the reader that God continually endorsed pilgrimage in the Bible. That it is a part of His character. Who is is. He uses examples such as Cain, Abraham and Jesus Himself. Sure, people travelled in the Bible and yes, their travels were recorded, but they weren't "enlightening pilgrimages"as Foster implies, they were a means to an end and they were recorded in the Bible because that is how people travelled then. When they went, it was for a purpose (a census) or because God specifically told them to (Abraham). Yes, God met them there and lives were transformed, but even so, God can and does meet us here, in our everyday lives.
We don't need to go to Jerusalem to meet God. I've been there twice in my under-graduate studies. When we first arrived to our campus, the dean of students sat us down and made it clear,"if we haven't yet found God in our lives, we certainly weren't going to find Him here in Jerusalem." Why did she say that? Because it's true. She, along with other locals, have seen many people when the "Jerusalem Syndrome." Foster jokes around about this syndrome but the fact that he has left his wife and children at times to go live as a squatter in the streets of Jerusalem, makes me wonder if he himself has fallen prey to this disease. Foster accuses western Christians of being gnostic, over-spiritualizing the Word of God. Now, I've been to Jerusalem, maybe not completely in pilgrimage mode as he suggests but I don't think it's gnostic to believe that when Jesus tells us to follow Him, it's a spiritual abandonment, in our hearts. Sure God requires natural sacrifices as well, and plenty of them, but running off to Jerusalem without a clear word from God is not only physically dangerous but spiritually dangerous as well. This book was given by book sneeze for an honest review.
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Review 14 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

A long but decent read

Date:March 1, 2011
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kitkatm
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
The Sacred Journey is not a quick read. Saying this, this book is also not a bad one. One must stop to think about everything that is being said because as one reads it, the ideas being given are very revolutionary to a person who has never gone on a pilgramage.
Keeping inline with a biblical point of view, Charles Foster makes his point over and over again that life is not worth living unless we are completely one hundred percent living and following Jesus Christ. It isn't enough to walk the same footsteps Jesus walked. One must allow themselves to give over to Him no matter how hard it will be.
Several examples and stories are written throughout the book to illustrate this point. In fact the book is almost written as a series of examples. Hence, why the book is a slow read.
Thought provoking and insightful this book is very deserving of 3 stars.
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Review 15 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe 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 16 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Try a pilgrimage

Date:February 4, 2011
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Wynd
Location:Saskatchewan Canada
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
This is the seventh book in the Ancient Practices Series. This one is about pilgrimages written by an English wordsmith. Jesus was a walker and all those who follow him must also be walkers in order to understand him more deeply. He includes scenes from his many experiences as a pilgrim and also tidbits from pilgrims of other religions. The writing is excellent, the thoughts clear and easily read. However, I found it quite Eurocentric but I suppose that was to be expected because pilgrimages seem to be more common to European and Asian people than to those of us in North America. His premise is that God is on the fringe of society, that Abel was his chosen favourite because God is at heart a nomad and dislikes cities which were developed by Cain. Therefore, it is easier to encounter him while walking on pilgrimages. He is definitely anti-gnostic and makes several disparaging comments throughout about church practices he believes lean towards the gnostic tradition. I agree with him in his statements that it is the journey that is the most important part of the pilgrimage, the feeling of being totally dependent upon God, the countryside, other pilgrams, and the goodness of hosts. This is when life-changing epiphanies will occur, not when you reach your destination. The big difference between being a pilgrim or a tourist. He does seem to pound home the idea that those of us who do not go on pilgrimages are missing a whole relationship with God and are second class Christians. I must admit that by the end of the book I was quite annoyed with the implied superiority that I believed was coming through his words. It struck me as interesting that his last chapter dealt with that exact comment from one of his friends. I wasn't alone in my thoughts after all. God is found in the messy parts of our lives but those of us who can't go on pilgrimages can also find him in our lives whether we are settlers or not.
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Review 17 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe Sacred Journey.
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Expected something different

Date:January 3, 2011
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mamabear1975
Location:Las Vegas, NV
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
I received this book free thru Booksneeze.com and am writing this review without being influenced by this site or any other parties. I was hoping for, and expected, something different with this book. I found this book to be a very deep, but very difficult read. Often, if seemed to go over my head, and yet, I have a master's degree, and loved school. I love to learn new things, so I went out of my comfort zone and selected this book, thinking I would learn more about the history of pilgrimages, past and present, but found any bits that I was hoping for to be slow in coming. . I did my best to stretch my mind to 'go with it' and tried to get into the mindframe of what was presented, when the author offfered new ideas, but I felt I was trying too hard. A historian, scholar, or professor might feel differently, but my feeble mind could not wrap itself around it. Often, I wondered how a topic or thought was, at all, related to the previous one. I'll pass this book on to an intellectual.
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Review 18 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe 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 19 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe 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 20 for The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromThe 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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