“It is a dangerous business… going out your door. You step into the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
— Bilbo Baggins to Frodo
I believe that God sends to us the conversation partners that we need at any particular time in our life. These are often friends who help us to sort through difficult issues that we are facing. For me, however, some of my best conversation partners have been great books.
I am facing some important decisions and potential changes in my life over the next few months and I have just discovered a wonderful conversation partner. It is a brand new book calledIn Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage into the Beauty, Goodness and Heart of Christianity written by Dr. Jim Belcher. The theme of the book is pilgrimage.
Dr. Belcher took his wife and four small children on a pilgrimage across England and Europe to help them experience many of the great heroes of the Christian faith. Belcher explains in the first chapter that his goal is multifaceted. He wants his children to truly embrace the Christian faith and know the stories of such people as C. S. Lewis, William Wilberforce, Corrie ten Boom, and even Maria von Trapp (from the “Sound of Music”).
But Belcher takes the pilgrimage himself as well. He wants a renewed sense of love and devotion to the Lord and seeing and experiencing the places where such great Christian men and women walked helped to bring him back to his love and away from the burnout he and his wife Michelle were facing.
The book begins with their time in Oxford and a trip to the site of the burning of Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer. Belcher’s prose here is mesmerizing. Far from a dry history lecture, the lives of these three men come alive, and their deaths are written about with care, accuracy, and emotion.
Belcher mentions his trip up the stairs to see the representation of the cell in which Kranmer was kept until he was burned at the stake. On the way up the stairs, they pass a door which is the actual door behind which Kranmer was kept. Dr. Belcher goes on to poetically remind the reader of how important doors are to a pilgrimage.
This first chapter is both challenging (particularly for Christian parents) as well as affirming. I believe that this book will be one of the most important conversation partners of the last 15 years for me and I look forward to sharing with you more lessons from upcoming chapters.
If you would like to order the book (and I highly, highly recommend it) click on the link below. It’s a book that you should read with your entire family.
P.S. Full disclosure-Dr. Belcher is a colleague of mine at Knox Seminary, but a good book is a good book. And this is a great book!