cover image WAYFARING: A Gospel Journey into Life

WAYFARING: A Gospel Journey into Life

Margaret Silf, Author . Doubleday $21.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385

Christian "how-to" books on prayer can often be dry, intimidating or cloying. In her first foray with a large American publishing house, British author Silf successfully avoids all of these pitfalls. This New Testament travelogue is realistic and accessible, and holds the reader's attention throughout. A retreat leader and author of previous books on prayer and the Christian tradition (Taste and See; Landmarks), Silf is steeped in the meditative tradition of the 16th-century monk Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. So when she invites readers to "walk with Jesus through his lived ministry, through his suffering and death, and into his resurrected life," she is traveling an honorably well-worn path. But Silf's challenge to the adventurous seeker is deeper and broader: she argues that to follow Jesus—to be on the "Kingdom journey"—is to take up the task of "co-creating" the new reality of the kingdom of God in a world fraught with illness and injustice. For example, when reflecting on Jesus' encounters with social outcasts like tax collectors, Silf asks: "Which groups of people does your society most love to hate?" Rich with personal examples, her use of metaphors for the soul's journey is both homely (the joy and nausea of pregnancy) and apt (mountaineering). Written with a direct candor and compelling blend of psychological and spiritual insight, Silf's book should appeal to both prayer novices and experienced practitioners. (Aug.)