A SPIRITUAL FIELD GUIDE: Meditations for the Outdoors

Bernard V. Brady, Author, Mark Neuzil, Author
Bernard V. Brady, Author, Mark Neuzil, Author . Brazos $12.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-58743-118-0
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"A simple walk in the woods is not simply a walk in the woods." This is the fervent hope of Brady and Neuzil, who have compiled a solid and fulfilling collection of writings about nature with a spiritual bent. Most have a Christian context, if not outright expression, but the Christianity here is broad and inviting. It rests comfortably, and with some frequency, alongside secular authors and other sacred traditions. Organized into five chapters, each theme is introduced by an essay that provides the anthologists' philosophy for inclusion, often by way of contributors' biographies. This approach enlivens the material. "Reading Plans" offer thrice-daily options for backyard breaks, daytrips, weekends and weeklong getaways. For example, one day features Wendell Berry, Genesis 1:1-25 and Augustine of Hippo. The variety of voices here is a plus, and any reader who wants a comforting outside companion will find one. Kudos, too, for the charming cover design that recalls a tattered, well-loved field manual. The authors make a compelling final point: "Jesus often went to the sea, up the mountain, or into the desert. Nature was a way through which he entered into prayer and sensed the divine on earth. Each of us would do well to do the same." (May)

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