cover image AT SEA WITH GOD: A Self-Guided Spiritual Retreat

AT SEA WITH GOD: A Self-Guided Spiritual Retreat

Margaret Silf, Author . Doubleday $12.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385

As the speed of life increases, so does the appeal of a "self-guided spiritual retreat." Silf, a Jesuit-trained retreat leader, offers this guide to "the art of sailing life's waters by a Christian compass." Nautical imagery abounds—the boats are our bodies, cargo is the "emotional baggage" we carry, storms are the problems we encounter and dropping anchor is what we do when we need to stop for a while. Each chapter contains questions and reflections for discussion or journaling. Silf has a knack for re-framing Bible stories to fit modern situations, which mainline Christians will appreciate. For example, the story of Jesus and the rich young man (Mark 10:17–27) becomes the tale of a wise teacher asking a wealthy young man to let go of his life's "baggage" in order to step on a boat taking him into deeper water. The book's high point is the real-life seafaring wisdom for dealing with the storms ("go higher, go deeper" and "keep the distress channel clear"), outlined in bullet form, and transformed into accessible and practical advice on coping with distress. This gentle spiritual guidebook definitely pushes the sea metaphor to its limits, but readers on the nautical wavelength will find it delightfully smooth sailing. (Aug.)