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You'll encounter many of the important spiritual sites of the history of Christianity and get a flavor for what it was like to be in that place at that time. White then takes you even deeper, exploring key ...
You'll encounter many of the important spiritual sites of the history of Christianity and get a flavor for what it was like to be in that place at that time. White then takes you even deeper, exploring key themes from these historical moments such as calling, conversion and spirituality and showing their implications for the Christian life today.
Posted June 6, 2012
White, James Emery. A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom: Journeying Through the Christian Life.
Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012.
Reading A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom felt like sitting down with a friend to look through travel photos and hear the adventures and experiences which accompany the pictures. The travelogue includes places ranging from North Carolina to abbeys, cathedrals, museums, and a pub in Europe, and finally a monastery and museum in Africa. Each stop on this tour is specially selected for its significance to the Christian life.
As is often true when hearing of someone’s travels, the reader’s first response is to want to pack their bags and visit these places in person. However, short of going on an extended leave of absence from work and inheriting a tidy sum of money, most readers will not be able to do so immediately. While saving money for future travels, readers would be encouraged to delve deeper into the concepts presented. Many chapters note spiritual disciplines to practice or other actions to take to help individuals further their journey on the Christian life. The astute reader will turn from this book to the many sources mentioned throughout the narrative or listed in the notes.
The most pleasurable aspect of reading A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom is White’s warm, friendly, pastoral tone. Reading felt like chatting with a friend over a cup of coffee. Throughout the book, White is very personable and transparent. In the course of relating several adventures, White openly shares his experiences as well as less than holy thoughts and actions. Doing so portrays him as a fellow traveler who has gone before rather than a tour guide.
A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom is recommended for book clubs, study groups, or individuals. With a brief nine chapters, a group or individual could choose to use each chapter as a spring board to further study and exploration into the person or ideas presented. Future editions could be enhanced by the addition of study or discussion questions and a recommended reading list for those interested in pursuing the ideas further.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Church & Culture. 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.”
Posted May 11, 2012
"His reflections, written from places of Christian significance around the world, give a sense, as the author puts it, of what it means to have a life in Christ." (back book cover of A Traveler's Guide to the Kingdom: Journeying through the Christian Life)
James Emery White, author of popular blog Church & Culture, offers his newest contribution to the conversation of one's journey with God from a Biblical, Christian perspective. This pastor, author and adjunct professor from North Carolina combines his love of history, clear thinking and refreshing spirituality taking the reader on a journey about the journey called the Christian life.
Literally writing "on the road", White writes about places with rich religious and historical significance bringing it into contemporary relevance with apparent ease. You can tell he really enjoyed writing this book!
His insights are extremely helpful as well. I found myself dog-earring pages (cringe, I know) so that I wouldn't forget his insights and applications both for myself personally as well as for those I teach and lead.
Places White writes from and about include:
The Eagle and Child Pub, Oxford, England - favorite watering hole for C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien
Iona Abbey, Iona, Scotland
The Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa - Home and prison of Nelson Mandela
The Billy Graham Library, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Dachau Concentration Camp, Dachau, Germany
Thoughts that made impressions on me
My marked page (p. 38) was a list of symptoms you might be experiencing if you are not attending to yourself spiritually. This is worth the book alone. But there's more...
On page 63 he talks about what he calls the "Listening matrix": "A simple but effective set of pursuits that you can take into your tent and with them cultivate a sensitive hearing of the voice of God." This is particularly important to me as I teach about the activities of the disciple-maker. That journey must begin with listening to God.
His discussion about "Shalom" (p. 82) is not just important but added some new thoughts I hadn't ever considered. I had no idea, for example, that in addition to carrying the ideas of peace, health and prosperity, shalom also carries the idea of "completeness." Great stuff here!
One more of my many marked pages was White's discussion on community (particularly in the church). He spends time sharing how and why true community breaks down. Very helpful to those trying to build (or facilitate the growth of) authentic community.
This easy-to-read, yet challenging work is a great read as you build your summer reading list. Add it on and take a journey through the past. It has great potential to impact your future journey. I highly recommend it!
Disclaimer: I received this book from White's assistant with the promise that I would read and write an honest review of the book. I am also distantly related to the author, although we have never corresponded or met.