Short Trip to the Edge: Where Earth Meets Heaven—A Pilgrimage

Scott Cairns, Author . Harper San Francisco $22.95 (263p) ISBN 978-0-06-084322-9

As a former Baptist who passed through the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches on his way to the Orthodox Church, Cairns, a poet and professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Missouri, offers readers a unique and often compelling perspective on life as a pilgrim on Mount Athos, Orthodoxy's holy mountain. Recounting three visits to the mystical bastion of male monasticism and another trip to an Orthodox monastery in Arizona, Cairns writes transparently of his struggles to grow in the life of prayer as he searches, mostly in vain, for a spiritual father who can help him. His accounts of traveling to the various monasteries on Mount Athos are earthy and blessedly not saccharine, yet beautifully accented with descriptions of times when he was particularly moved by an experience of worship. Especially touching is his narrative of the pilgrimage he makes with his son, Benjamin, who affords a fresh perspective on all that his father has previously seen and related. Cairns includes several of his poems, which serve as well-placed enhancements to the text. His open attitude in explaining matters of faith makes this book suitable for a broad audience of readers on spiritual journeys. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 09/25/2006
Release date: 03/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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