The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster

When I chose to read The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster, I wasn’t quite sure what the book might hold in store for me and it took me a little while to get into the flow. Being very much a mental traveler as well as a spiritual pilgrim looking forward to my prepared place in that heavenly city Jesus promised, I was expecting this book to encourage the faithful in that great hope. I wasn’t expecting an emphasis on grabbing one’s backpack and literally going for a lengthy hike. So, that was a surprise.

I do love to travel and have been privileged to visit Jerusalem and the Holy Land, but alas, I’ve done so with a tour group, which Charles Foster doesn’t feel qualifies as a bonafide pilgrimage. And, although he admits he’s never been on a planned tour, he states his doubts that one may be changed by such an experience. But, he makes a strong case for the life-changing value of the individualistic journey that requires a lot of physical discomfort and endurance and reliance on the Holy One for the basic necessities of life, with an emphasis on relying on the freely given help of strangers. And he has many interesting personal stories to illustrate the concept.

Charles Foster has been on pilgrimages and has heavily researched the subject as well, so his book is filled not only with his personal insights but also with many references and quotes from other pilgrims throughout church history. He shares from a Christian perspective as well as several other religions. He says traveling by foot with bands of strangers representing “otherness” broadens one’s understanding and causes one to develop a more ecumenical outlook.  

This book is the final book in The Ancient Practices Series. Phyllis Tickle is the General Editor of the series and she states that this is “the best book on pilgrimage” she’s ever seen. She adds, “Every one of you who reads this book will find at 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.” I totally agree. If you choose to read this book, I believe it will challenge you in some areas and leave you with some questions.

In conclusion, I believe The Sacred Journey is a worthwhile read if you have an interest in the subject of pilgrimage and aren’t expecting to agree with the author in every area. Charles Foster is a good story teller and held my interest for the most part.  I would give the book three stars.

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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.

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About Cherel

I love to read. I also enjoy journaling, writing poetry, sharing faith and encouragement with others, and blogging! Hope you are blessed by my site.
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