web site hit counter Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice

Availability: Ready to download

Carrying only basic camping equipment and a collection of the world's great spiritual writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary spiritual treks through the Ozarks and across the American Southwest. For companions, he has only such teachers as Rumi, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskj�ld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings wit Carrying only basic camping equipment and a collection of the world's great spiritual writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary spiritual treks through the Ozarks and across the American Southwest. For companions, he has only such teachers as Rumi, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskj�ld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the natural wonders he encounters--Bell Mountain Wilderness with S�ren Kierkegaard, Moonshine Hollow with Thich Nhat Hanh--demonstrating how being alone in the wild opens a rare view onto one's interior landscape, and how the saints' writings reveal the divine in nature. The discipline of backpacking, Lane shows, is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Just as the wilderness offered revelations to the early Desert Christians, backpacking hones crucial spiritual skills: paying attention, traveling light, practicing silence, and exercising wonder. Lane engages the practice not only with a wide range of spiritual writings--Celtic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi Muslim--but with the fascination of other lovers of the backcountry, from John Muir and Ed Abbey to Bill Plotkin and Cheryl Strayed. In this intimate and down-to-earth narrative, backpacking is shown to be a spiritual practice that allows the discovery of God amidst the beauty and unexpected terrors of nature. Adoration, Lane suggests, is the most appropriate human response to what we cannot explain, but have nonetheless learned to love. An enchanting narrative for Christians of all denominations, Backpacking with the Saints is an inspiring exploration of how solitude, simplicity, and mindfulness are illuminated and encouraged by the discipline of backcountry wandering, and of how the wilderness itself becomes a way of knowing-an ecology of the soul.


Compare

Carrying only basic camping equipment and a collection of the world's great spiritual writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary spiritual treks through the Ozarks and across the American Southwest. For companions, he has only such teachers as Rumi, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskj�ld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings wit Carrying only basic camping equipment and a collection of the world's great spiritual writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary spiritual treks through the Ozarks and across the American Southwest. For companions, he has only such teachers as Rumi, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskj�ld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the natural wonders he encounters--Bell Mountain Wilderness with S�ren Kierkegaard, Moonshine Hollow with Thich Nhat Hanh--demonstrating how being alone in the wild opens a rare view onto one's interior landscape, and how the saints' writings reveal the divine in nature. The discipline of backpacking, Lane shows, is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Just as the wilderness offered revelations to the early Desert Christians, backpacking hones crucial spiritual skills: paying attention, traveling light, practicing silence, and exercising wonder. Lane engages the practice not only with a wide range of spiritual writings--Celtic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi Muslim--but with the fascination of other lovers of the backcountry, from John Muir and Ed Abbey to Bill Plotkin and Cheryl Strayed. In this intimate and down-to-earth narrative, backpacking is shown to be a spiritual practice that allows the discovery of God amidst the beauty and unexpected terrors of nature. Adoration, Lane suggests, is the most appropriate human response to what we cannot explain, but have nonetheless learned to love. An enchanting narrative for Christians of all denominations, Backpacking with the Saints is an inspiring exploration of how solitude, simplicity, and mindfulness are illuminated and encouraged by the discipline of backcountry wandering, and of how the wilderness itself becomes a way of knowing-an ecology of the soul.

30 review for Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice

  1. 4 out of 5

    Philip Barbier

    The subject matter and lessons within this book truly spoke to my soul. At the same time, it was a surprisingly difficult text for me to read. After reading a page, or even a few paragraphs, I would find my mind wandering, musing over what I had read. I would bring my attention back to the text only to find my mind wandering, contemplating the ideas the text invoked. If you are unfamiliar with the more mystical traditions within Christianity, this book offers an interesting starting point with wh The subject matter and lessons within this book truly spoke to my soul. At the same time, it was a surprisingly difficult text for me to read. After reading a page, or even a few paragraphs, I would find my mind wandering, musing over what I had read. I would bring my attention back to the text only to find my mind wandering, contemplating the ideas the text invoked. If you are unfamiliar with the more mystical traditions within Christianity, this book offers an interesting starting point with which to engage the tradition. If you are interested in backpacking and the outdoors and wonder how it can serve as an allegory for spiritual wandering and growth, it is also an interesting read. I would though advise against reading this as you might another book on spirituality or even general non-fiction. It does not serve the book or the reader well in trying to plow through a reading. Rather I would recommend reading a chapter here and allowing it to sit in you before continuing on with the text.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Larry Hansen

    I like backcountry and mystics so this book looked good. At first it seemed forced, like the author was a wannabee; a white collar or academic sort that is out of their element with common folk. It quickly got better, or maybe I just gained confidence in Lane, and I looked forward to each new chapter, adventure, and saint. It does not flow like a novel because there is so much to digest. He says "We gather endless amounts of information, seeking out external authorities to quote so as to appear i I like backcountry and mystics so this book looked good. At first it seemed forced, like the author was a wannabee; a white collar or academic sort that is out of their element with common folk. It quickly got better, or maybe I just gained confidence in Lane, and I looked forward to each new chapter, adventure, and saint. It does not flow like a novel because there is so much to digest. He says "We gather endless amounts of information, seeking out external authorities to quote so as to appear impressively knowledgeable.". He quotes a lot of sources and impresses me immensely, but he does it a way necessary to his message and not ostentatiously. He refers to many familiar saints and some I hadn't met yet in a way that makes you want to know what they have to say and without any type of evangelical appeal. I would love to go for a hike with this guy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Porter Sprigg

    Belden Lane does a great job evoking the grace and wonder that can be shown through wilderness experiences, connecting truth from the writings of the saints to truths in nature. I especially loved the chapters on fear, failure, and desire. As someone not deeply familiar with a Catholic mystic tradition, this book was certainly helpful for me. As a La Vida Sherpa, I resonated with a lot of the little lessons Lane could draw from nature. I give this only three stars because there were some chapter Belden Lane does a great job evoking the grace and wonder that can be shown through wilderness experiences, connecting truth from the writings of the saints to truths in nature. I especially loved the chapters on fear, failure, and desire. As someone not deeply familiar with a Catholic mystic tradition, this book was certainly helpful for me. As a La Vida Sherpa, I resonated with a lot of the little lessons Lane could draw from nature. I give this only three stars because there were some chapters that were a little slow or a little confusing to me. The insights he has are worth reading, but sometimes the individual chapters can be a little boring.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura Engelken

    I'd compare reading this book to a long backpacking trip. You've enjoyed the journey but you're really ready for it to end. While it took a little bit to acclimate to Lane's prose, I enjoyed his connections between lessons learned in experiencing wilderness spaces in light of reading the lives/texts of spiritual saints. A retired theology professor from St. Louis University, many of his chosen trails are found in Missouri's Ozarks and his selected saints include Christian, Hindu and Buddhist the I'd compare reading this book to a long backpacking trip. You've enjoyed the journey but you're really ready for it to end. While it took a little bit to acclimate to Lane's prose, I enjoyed his connections between lessons learned in experiencing wilderness spaces in light of reading the lives/texts of spiritual saints. A retired theology professor from St. Louis University, many of his chosen trails are found in Missouri's Ozarks and his selected saints include Christian, Hindu and Buddhist theologians and mystics. All his reflections are grounded the spiritual practices of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, who sought illumination in a natural setting fiercely indifferent to their human presence and ego. It's not a read that compels you from cover to cover - rather, it was better to take it a little at a time and stay with the theme Lane was exploring in a particular chapter (e.g., disillusionment, solitude, mindfulness). I enjoyed learning more about the lives and perspectives of saints whom I had only previously known by name. I also appreciated the diversity of sources Lane utilized for explanation and inspiration, although he often seemed to become lost on the trail - circling back on a point again and again using a series of small quotes or stories.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adam Henker

    Brilliant! No other book have I read quite captures the beauty and mystery of the wilderness. Lane captures the essence of my own wilderness experience where the line between self and God becomes blurry, affirming my deep desire to know his presence there. Lectio Terrestes!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pina Marek

    Promise me, you'll read at least the Prologue. Don't ask me why, you'll see. Promise me, you'll read at least the Prologue. Don't ask me why, you'll see.

  7. 4 out of 5

    C.S. Fritz

    Lane has quickly risen to one my most influential writers and ministers

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nick Klagge

    This book was OK, but didn't really speak to me. As someone who really likes hiking and backpacking, my sense is that it is very difficult to write well about those experiences. The author praises the value of backpacking to instill a less self-centered view of the world, and to encourage the capability to deal with disappointment and setbacks. I agree with these things, but they end up coming across as didactic or self-important when you put them to the page. John Muir is the only writer I've r This book was OK, but didn't really speak to me. As someone who really likes hiking and backpacking, my sense is that it is very difficult to write well about those experiences. The author praises the value of backpacking to instill a less self-centered view of the world, and to encourage the capability to deal with disappointment and setbacks. I agree with these things, but they end up coming across as didactic or self-important when you put them to the page. John Muir is the only writer I've read who does this kind of writing well; he however writes very narrowly about the direct experiences he had or his immediate reactions to them, rather than trying to draw out lessons or values for other parts of life. As for the saints part, mysticism has never really struck a chord with me, so I didn't find much that was meaningful there. However, the book did get me interested in Dag Hammarskjold, and I may pick up his memoir at some point.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bobby Johansen

    This is an excellent combination of travel memoir and spirituality textbook. Be prepared that it is definitely not an easy travel memoir read. The author is an academic, and it is thus written with that style. However, it is written quite well if you are prepared to read this style of book. Each chapter has a small story from the author's outdoor experiences and then talks about a saint that the author either read on that trip or who's writings relate to the experiences of the trip. Overall it i This is an excellent combination of travel memoir and spirituality textbook. Be prepared that it is definitely not an easy travel memoir read. The author is an academic, and it is thus written with that style. However, it is written quite well if you are prepared to read this style of book. Each chapter has a small story from the author's outdoor experiences and then talks about a saint that the author either read on that trip or who's writings relate to the experiences of the trip. Overall it is a great way to introduce these spiritual masters from many religions as well as introduce the reader to the theme of wilderness spirituality.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    10 Stars! Belden Lane is a lifelong hiker and backpacker, and in this book he combines his academic profession of theology with wisdom from the mystics and psychology to explore the many facets of nature and wilderness for the spiritual journey. He himself is approaching retirement, so in addition to recounting how wilderness has guided him in the past, he is very much in the midst of a middle journey himself. It has an extensive bibliography, which has been so helpful in my own reading. I wish 10 Stars! Belden Lane is a lifelong hiker and backpacker, and in this book he combines his academic profession of theology with wisdom from the mystics and psychology to explore the many facets of nature and wilderness for the spiritual journey. He himself is approaching retirement, so in addition to recounting how wilderness has guided him in the past, he is very much in the midst of a middle journey himself. It has an extensive bibliography, which has been so helpful in my own reading. I wish I could take a hike with Dr Lane!

  11. 4 out of 5

    J.W.D. Nicolello

    Juvenile in tone, one can still reap some benefits from its brief index. Whenever the well-off digress on survival mode one is in for a degree of facetiousness, frivolity. A book for high school students and college freshmen, and those with a college freshman of the soul.

  12. 4 out of 5

    T

    When I started reading "The Body of God," *this* was what I was expecting. Fascinating material, beautifully written. Recommend to passionate backpackers as well as the religious and spiritual. When I started reading "The Body of God," *this* was what I was expecting. Fascinating material, beautifully written. Recommend to passionate backpackers as well as the religious and spiritual.

  13. 5 out of 5

    James

    The book's description suggests a much more diverse spiritual take on the wilderness experience. While Lane does draw from several faith traditions, as well as secular writings, it is always in service of his interest in Christianity's take on wilderness. The few non-Christian "saints" he introduces are given short shrift. Lane is like that insufferable party guest that turns every conversation back to himself (or in this case, the desert fathers of early Christian faith). Although Lane can craf The book's description suggests a much more diverse spiritual take on the wilderness experience. While Lane does draw from several faith traditions, as well as secular writings, it is always in service of his interest in Christianity's take on wilderness. The few non-Christian "saints" he introduces are given short shrift. Lane is like that insufferable party guest that turns every conversation back to himself (or in this case, the desert fathers of early Christian faith). Although Lane can craft a pretty sentence, his thoughts are too often shallow and anthropocentric. He places himself, and humanity generally, over nature. For example, he spends several pages talking about the fragility and balance of a wild ecosystem. He then shares his connection to this place by describing his acts of devotion, like how he pulled a dead coyote from the creek and buried it beneath a pile of rocks. That he has no claim to impose his spiritual fancies on the ecosystem, or that he has pulled nutrients from the natural cycle, seems not to occur to him. He will go home after two or three days and feel like he is tuned into God's creation. Meanwhile, God's scavengers and decomposers will miss a good meal. Lane's highest praise for nature is to relate it to the accomplishments of humans. Frogs are monk's chanting in the night, bird song is an Irish lullaby, and lions and gazelles have a humanlike understanding of their place in the food web. Worse, Lane repeatedly spouts the idea that God works through evolution toward a culminating point of greater communication and integration. The idea that evolution has a progressive arc is not only wrong, but dangerous, as it leads to notions of social Darwinism. Lane admits this may be better theology than science, but this hardly excuses the airing of bad ideas. It's like retweeting debunked conspiracy theories and then claiming you don't necessarily believe them, you were just putting it out there for others to judge. Lane frames nature as fundamentally separate from humans. There are no natural places left, only second-nature, which he defines as places where the natural elements outnumber the built ones. Given this divide, nature is always seen in tension with human understanding, and it always has a purpose to serve for the benefit of humans. Even the early desert fathers, whom Lane so admires, use nature as a gateway to the divine. When they see a caterpillar, they don't see the biological entity but instead a perfectly formed word of God. Ultimately, the greatest value in this book is it's reference list. Lane is, after all, an academic (a fact he won't stop reminding you of throughout the book). He reads like a first year grad student, eager to put footnotes on every other thought, lest you forget how widely read he is. But his academic vigor is your gain, because he pulls some great quotes and points the way to some amazing thinkers. This book gets two stars for providing me a solid reading list.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Palm

    This book has been my companion for nine months now. My mentor recommended it, and we read it slowly together, taking our time with each chapter. One of my favorite parts about this book is the way he equates the journey in and out of physical wilderness to the journey of the spiritual life. The first leg is departure, or the call to adventure. We sense that God is calling us to something new. A necessary part of this is dissatisfaction and disillusionment. We must realize how far we have to go, This book has been my companion for nine months now. My mentor recommended it, and we read it slowly together, taking our time with each chapter. One of my favorite parts about this book is the way he equates the journey in and out of physical wilderness to the journey of the spiritual life. The first leg is departure, or the call to adventure. We sense that God is calling us to something new. A necessary part of this is dissatisfaction and disillusionment. We must realize how far we have to go, and accept things for what they are, rather than we desire them to be. The second leg is discipline, or the embracing of spiritual disciplines that help us through the wilderness. These include mediation, prayer, fasting, simplicity, solitude, and service. The third leg is descent, or failure and loss. This part of the journey is the most fearful and dark. The final leg is delight, where you return home and bring a newer sense of discernment and joy. Having this as a frame for Lane's stories made the book that much more personal and helpful in my own journey. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to encounter a kind and intelligent guide in the spiritual life. Lane has definitely been that for me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This is a very difficult book to review and to rate. At first I was enjoying his description of himself as a recovering scholar and his descriptions of being in the wilderness. I share what he describes as needing to hike but not having to celebrate having done it. BUT, then all the positive reactions to the books are destroyed by the constant invocation of how various religious people describe the importance of the out-of-doors. I almost had to stop reading at about the half-way point when the This is a very difficult book to review and to rate. At first I was enjoying his description of himself as a recovering scholar and his descriptions of being in the wilderness. I share what he describes as needing to hike but not having to celebrate having done it. BUT, then all the positive reactions to the books are destroyed by the constant invocation of how various religious people describe the importance of the out-of-doors. I almost had to stop reading at about the half-way point when the words of the saints become much more important that the wilderness. I ended up using my have-to-get-through-it approach by reading the first and last sentence in each paragraph. The chapters when he over-cites Gandhi and Merton are sort of okay. In many ways the book tried to take away my own elation at being in the wilderness. Others who are into reading what the religious world likes to say will probably find it enlightening. Perhaps the most interesting thing for me about the book was learning about the wilderness aspects of Missouri – somewhere I never thought of as a state for hiking. I started out thinking the book might be a 5 and ended up giving it a 2.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Malin Friess

    "The first gift of solitude is its capacity for separating the individual from the crowd. When you're alone in wilderness, you escape the fretful arena where performance and the search for approval govern so much of your life. There are no expectations to meet, no authorities to please, no audiences to impress. In wilderness, you stand outside of the throng, outside of the pressures of admiration and blame. Only there...outside...are you alone enough to resist being defined by anything external. "The first gift of solitude is its capacity for separating the individual from the crowd. When you're alone in wilderness, you escape the fretful arena where performance and the search for approval govern so much of your life. There are no expectations to meet, no authorities to please, no audiences to impress. In wilderness, you stand outside of the throng, outside of the pressures of admiration and blame. Only there...outside...are you alone enough to resist being defined by anything external. 2020 has made me want to grab a back-pack (ala Chris McCandless or Edward Abby) and disappear into the wilderness (just in case you wondered...wilderness is defined by the US Gov a "minimum of not less than 5,000 contiguous acres of roadless area)- and then maybe pop back out once the election is over and the vaccines are ready. 4 stars. Being on a trail (often two feet wide but miles long) is a physical and a spiritual journey and may be the best solution to the mysteries we can not explain but love.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I found this a bit difficult to get into, but once there, I was intrigued by Lane's integration of great Christian classics (Merton, Thomas Traherne, Soren Kierkegaard, Dag Hammarskjold, John of the Cross, Martin Luther, Teilhard de Chardin) with his love of the wilderness. He traveled light, with his dog, Desert, or a close friend, seeking solace, and often finding the opposite. He offers much insight and wisdom. On the trail, as in life, in ventured out, only to be disillusioned; assuming the I found this a bit difficult to get into, but once there, I was intrigued by Lane's integration of great Christian classics (Merton, Thomas Traherne, Soren Kierkegaard, Dag Hammarskjold, John of the Cross, Martin Luther, Teilhard de Chardin) with his love of the wilderness. He traveled light, with his dog, Desert, or a close friend, seeking solace, and often finding the opposite. He offers much insight and wisdom. On the trail, as in life, in ventured out, only to be disillusioned; assuming the discipline and consciousness of being alone (that is being attentive and careful); accepting his fears and failures; and then returning home. He calls Scripture and nature the "two book" revelation of the mystery of God in alternative modes. There is much to contemplate.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kevin DaVee

    A dear friend introduced me to Prof. Lane via his work, The Solace of Desolate Landscapes. That was probably about 2004. It has stayed in my mind ever since. Lane is retired as a Theology Professor at a Jesuit University. Given he is an ordained Presbyterian minister, that is interesting in and of itself. This recent work of his is about Wilderness, Saints (Christian, Muslim, etc) and how they inform us and make us laugh at ourselves and our concerns. It is also about his own transition at the e A dear friend introduced me to Prof. Lane via his work, The Solace of Desolate Landscapes. That was probably about 2004. It has stayed in my mind ever since. Lane is retired as a Theology Professor at a Jesuit University. Given he is an ordained Presbyterian minister, that is interesting in and of itself. This recent work of his is about Wilderness, Saints (Christian, Muslim, etc) and how they inform us and make us laugh at ourselves and our concerns. It is also about his own transition at the end of a long career in Academia. As I approach the end of my own long career, I find a lot of resonance here.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marlies

    This book came at the right time. Wrestling and struggling to understand purpose. I’m grateful to Lane for taking me with him as he explored his life and faith. “Backpacking as a spiritual practice is about making yourself vulnerable in order to be stretched into something new. It’s the need to recognize your limits, to be taken to the end of yourself where resources are exhausted and you stumble in blind faith toward that which is more than you.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Garry

    This is a fascinating but slightly challenging book to read. It's not perfect and has some clunky, dense pasenges. However the earnest mixture of writing about the joys of frequently solitary backpacking mixed with introductions to a myriad of fairly exotic saints and spiritual thinkers is a charming combination. At least for me. Recommended if this sounds like something you would want to dive into, but admittedly not for all. This is a fascinating but slightly challenging book to read. It's not perfect and has some clunky, dense pasenges. However the earnest mixture of writing about the joys of frequently solitary backpacking mixed with introductions to a myriad of fairly exotic saints and spiritual thinkers is a charming combination. At least for me. Recommended if this sounds like something you would want to dive into, but admittedly not for all.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stevejs298

    A very good book (presuming you have an interest in hiking and religion/Christianity). Belden Lane affirmed my innate sense of the value and the joy of finding the Creator in the Creation. This certainly made me want to grab my hiking shoes and head out with a good book in hand. Hope I can make it happen.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis Fredericksen

    Discovered this author through a friend and really like his writing. I used as a daily meditation and it was particularly relatable as I sat on my porch looking at the woods in the mornings. Lane finds God in everything, particularly nature. I find that I do too. Great insights here.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    Belden Lane's insights and experience combined with Christian saints and backpacking are fantastic. This is the kind of incarnational Christianity that people in our hypermodern/postmodern Western civilization need. Belden Lane's insights and experience combined with Christian saints and backpacking are fantastic. This is the kind of incarnational Christianity that people in our hypermodern/postmodern Western civilization need.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    I have read this book little by little over several months. Very encouraging. Lots to think about.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Slow reading but good thoughts

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Spectacular book with a lot off meaningful insights that I’ll carry with me into the wilderness and also the office.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Such a unique book. A writer, hiker and spiritual seeker after my own heart. Thank you, Belden Lane!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    Interesting in places, but overall I just thought it was ok. It was a little over my head at times, maybe that's why I didn't love it. Interesting in places, but overall I just thought it was ok. It was a little over my head at times, maybe that's why I didn't love it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda Stephens

    terrific armchair shamanism

  30. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Wells

    Belden Lane is a retired professor of theology and world religions and he has discovered a vehicle for writing about his life’s work that is surprisingly accessible to the educated public. I guess I should say that he has found an anti-vehicle: the backpack and the open trail. Professor Lane’s dual interests are a fortunate mix for the rest of us. If religion and philosophy classes remain poorly attended these days, interest in backpacking and wilderness trekking are much higher priorities. Lane Belden Lane is a retired professor of theology and world religions and he has discovered a vehicle for writing about his life’s work that is surprisingly accessible to the educated public. I guess I should say that he has found an anti-vehicle: the backpack and the open trail. Professor Lane’s dual interests are a fortunate mix for the rest of us. If religion and philosophy classes remain poorly attended these days, interest in backpacking and wilderness trekking are much higher priorities. Lane’s book is an interesting introduction to the spirituality of the world’s religions even as it appeals to the modern spiritual pilgrim who seems to prefer communing directly with the Creation to any second-hand religiosity coming from the pulpit. How many thousands of us are there who sense a spiritual summons from wild places but that remain loyal to the Faith of our Fathers? Lane handles this duality with much skill and sensitivity. It has been the most rewarding book I have read for some time. Lane’s search for wilderness solitude is refreshing and immediately important. He recognizes that wilderness can be a spiritual fulcrum and yet he argues from traditional canons. Many of his audience will be surprised at how informed the world’s spiritual leaders of the past have been about the natural world. And many will be surprised at how ecologically relevant these same texts are today. This is not a book of extremes. Lane is not a fitness junkie nor is he a spiritual recluse. He plods along wilderness trails at his own pace and is “fascinated by the discipline of body and mind that wilderness backpacking requires. Being pushed to your limits you discover things about yourself (and God) that you wouldn’t find in the safety and comfort of home.” The reader travels with Lane to the Ozarks, to western mountains and deserts, and to other wild places around the world. His travelling companions include Martin Luther, Thomas Merton, Mohandas Gandhi, Thérèse of Lisieux, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dag Hammarskjöld, and others. The reader will likely find insights from her own religious tradition and learn of the rich wilderness literatures of others. In solitude she will consider fear, desire, risk-taking, disillusionment, mindfulness, failure, dying and many other vitally important and spiritually demanding themes. This is the appropriate place to do so: under the stars, alone and naked before God. This is a book to own. You will want to return to it for information and for inspiration many times. There are many sentences in every chapter that will surprise you, that will make you smile, that will speak to your soul. Take this one for example: “From a Judeo-Christian perspective, if we are truly the temple of the Holy Spirit – the dwelling place of the Most High God – then being present to ourselves in any single moment will be an act of prayer.” You may want to buy two copies, one for your library and one to fit in a plastic bag underneath your sleeping gear. Bon voyage.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.