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Posted April 16, 2011
Tessa Dawson enters a Christian college known for being solidly Biblical in its teaching but soon discovers this isn't the same college her grandfather attended. Requred to take a class in "spiritual formation", she is introduced to the writings of Teresa of Avila, a 16th century nun who practiced "Christian mysticism". As Tessa is drawn deeper into the spiritual practices taught by her spiritual formation professor, she finds herself in a real spiritual battle between Biblical truth and new-age spirituality that threatens to draw her into a demonic world she didn't expect. She reaches out for help from her grandfather and a young man who recognizes the teaching for what it is.
Castles in the Sand is "fiction with a message" that tells a composite story of how contemplative spirituality is impacting Christian colleges and universities, churches, and seminaries worldwide. While the book features fictional characters, it is based on the real life and teachings of Teresa of Avila which are embraced today in the Christian contemplative spirituality movement.
The topic itself was of interest to me but this is also a well-written story with all the components of a good suspense novel that I read in one evening because I couldn't put it down. I felt it gave a realistic account of the dangers people may unwittingly open themselves to when they delve into the spiritual practices and teachings of lectio divinia, contemplative prayer, visualization, centering, sacred space, desert fathers, kundalini, labyrinths, spiritual formation, and "the silence."
I think anyone who enjoys Christian suspense fiction will like this book, as will anyone who has questions about what is at the foundation of contemplative spirituality. I also think it is a good book for parents and students to read just to be aware of the ways contemplative spirituality may be represented on college campuses.
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher but the opinion of it is my own and was not solicited, nor was a positive review required.