Are you a Pilgrim? If you are a Christian, the answer is yes, you are. Maybe the idea brings to the American mind thoughts of the Mayflower, ThanksgivAre you a Pilgrim? If you are a Christian, the answer is yes, you are. Maybe the idea brings to the American mind thoughts of the Mayflower, Thanksgiving, and funny hatted people discovering a new world. Or, perhaps the idea of a person making their way to some far off shrine as the grand object of their worship. Does the idea of a pilgrim put you in mind of a ordinary man or woman, the mechanic, or homeschooling mother? How about a 16 year old high school student trying to decided which college to attend? Perhaps not because, as Jeremy Walker points out in his newest book Passing Through: Pilgrim life in the Wilderness, Christians don't think often enough as our identity as travelers. This book is a good corrective to what may be lacking in our times.
We, in the West, have enjoyed the fruits of gospel revival of the past centuries, living in a culture that was shaped by Christian men and women. That advantage is either dead or dying and we are finding ourselves in the precarious position of learning to living like our forefathers lived. We are, as the subtitle suggests, just passing through; travelers on a journey home. This book addresses the reality that this world is not our home - we are on a pilgrimage. We are in this world, but not of this world.
The opening chapters make sure we understand what it means to be a pilgrim and that we stay on the path and don't fall into the ditch of isolationism or the ditch of worldliness. To avoid being worldly, we are tempted to hide in the bunker and separate from everyone and everything. But the opposite extreme is to take in as much as the world as possible, disregarding our Lord's command for holiness. But the true path of the is neither isolationism nor is it worldliness. Not taking for granted that we even understand what the "world" is, Walker helpfully defines his terms, making sure that we are all on the same page before moving on to the next point.
From there, the focus turns to understanding the world in which we really live in and our role in that world as kingdom people. Loving the world means loving that which is hostile to our Lord and our task as pilgrims is to be faithful and keep our eyes on Christ and we navigate through this journey. We are ambassadors, living in hostile territory and our message of peace and the terms of peace are enmity to the human heart. This book helps us to get our mind around this reality and to understand the world in which we are passing through.
This book is readable, but it is not light. Each chapter follows the pattern of the subject being defined and illustrated, then a spiritual framework is given, followed up by summary thoughts, so each chapter's subject is thoroughly deal with. Full of pastoral application I believe Christians who are unfamiliar with the idea of pilgrim life or Christians who are not struggling with the thoughts of living in an hostile, anti-Christian society, will be helped and encouraged.
Christians have a King, we have a citizenship in Heaven, and we have a mission and this book helps us to get our bearings, who we are, where we are, were we are going, and what we have to do.
You can listen to an interview on the book bothHERE and another one HERE.
You can buy the book HERE (among many other places).
My thanks to Cross Focused Reviews for the review copy. ...more