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Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness…
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Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice

by Belden C. Lane

Series: Backpacking

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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. ( )
  b22johansen | Apr 7, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199927812, Hardcover)

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 Hammarskjöld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the natural wonders he encounters--Bell Mountain Wilderness with Søren 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:35 -0400)

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