The Christian life is a journey not just spiritually but also physically and experientially. As global travel becomes more accessible, new opportunities arise for these journeys to be spiritually significant. You may find yourself in historic places where Christian faith shaped entire civilizations. And you may realize that you too are being changed—from a tourist to a pilgrim.
Christian George recovers the ancient spiritual practice of pilgrimage, in which travel to sacred sites leads to the transformation of the soul. In engaging narratives of his worldwide voyages, he follows in the footsteps of spiritual pilgrims from across the centuries, from Luther in Wartburg to Spurgeon in England. His travels to landmark places from Iona to Assisi give him not only a better understanding of his Christian heritage, but also of God's inner work in pilgrims throughout history and today.
Come with Christian as he breaks bread with Benedictines in Ireland and worships with the Taizé community in France. Experience the transforming power of spiritual pilgrimage. And discover what it means to be a pilgrim as you follow God wherever he leads.
"Pilgrim and wordsmith Christian George here shares himself unstintingly to make us see how visiting Christian places can expand us spiritually. Well done!"
"Sacred Travels is a perspective-giving memoir that sweeps its readers into church history and deep theological thought. The book is personal and poetic yet strikingly unpretentious. It's a series of journal entries that beckons human souls to grope for God. What I got from the book was a very creative reminder that while life on earth is temporal, living is a grand experience of learning to depend on the Lord."
"Christian's project to 'recover the ancient practice of pilgrimage' is a timely one. . . . We armchair pilgrims need not be unengaged spectators when reading the book. For behind the good humor, the touching simplicity, the cleverness too, a morality tale in the medieval tradition is being told to us. And it is one that carries the nuances, the paradoxes, the wisdom and the joy so evident in the lives of our narrator and of many who have trodden the path of pilgrimage before him."
"George is an explorer at every level. His is a fresh, and deep, new voice discovering the ancient paths as timeless, true and life-giving. History comes to life. The stones and saints speak. He's got me looking at maps and wondering where I last saw my backpack. For the ancient paths lead us forward."
"Christian George has a pilgrim heart and a soul sensitive to the sacred. These reflections on his pilgrim journeys to sites of spiritual significance provide just the right combination of memoir and invitation to stir the pilgrim spirit in us all. This book is written with a gentle spirit that whispers, 'You come, too.'"
"For more than half a century I have been a pilgrim; yet only through Christian's insightful pen have the journeys suddenly come full course, especially in the spiritual realm. Interestingly I first met Christian George in the midst of one of his pilgrimages. Traveler or not, young or old, this brief but life-changing volume puts the world and its journeys into perspective! Interweaving travel experience, historical vignettes and personal observation, Christian has given his readers the map to an edifying pilgrimage."
"If you are weary of 'religious fast food' and of competing on the 'fast track,' then slow down and walk awhile with Christian George. You will discover the richness of the authentic pilgrim life. This is a stimulating guidebook for pilgrims who are serious about making progress in the things that matter most."
"Considering that only 18 percent of U.S. adults hold a passport in the face of rapid globalization, it only follows that to be truly educated, Americans must commit themselves to travel. Christian George resurrects the sadly neglected Christian practice of the pilgrimage, saying in effect that not only do we travel to know the world better, we need to take spiritual journeys in order to learn more about ourselves. Sacred Travels is a book that will convince you to hurry to renew your passport or rush to apply for one."
"Sacred Travels is a warm confessional written by a sojourner who has discovered the heart of God. It is in every sense a 'moving' book. . . . Thank God that Christian George poked around in the cold ashes, and found for us the living embers of old sacrifices. In this book, he kindled yesterday's coals into new fire."
Three cheers for Christian George for digging up this important spiritual discipline and re-imagining it for emerging generations . . . He demonstrates from personal experience the life-changing potential and spiritually transformative power of sacred travel.
Foreword by Calvin Miller
Introduction: To Be a Pilgrim
1. Pilgrims in the Process: Preparing to Journey (Canterbury, England)
2. The Desert Ocean: Swimming Against the Stream (Skellig Michael, Ireland)
3. In the Steps of Luther: Finding Refuge from the Storm (Wittenberg, Germany)
4. The Way to Assisi: Toward Transparency (Assisi, Italy)
5. In Search of Spurgeon: A Pilgrim's Perspective (Isleham, England)
6. Amazing Grace: The Secret of Silence (Sweet Home, Alabama)
7. From Sunshine to Shadow: The Cost of Discipleship (Buchenwald, Germany)
8. Thin Places: Don't Forget Your Map (Iona, Scotland)
9. Saints, Swords and Samurai: Called into Combat (Nagasaki, Japan)
10. Sacred Songs: Chanting from the Heart (Taize, France)
11. Breaking Bread with the Benedictines: Heavenly Hospitality (Limerick, Ireland)
12. A Glimpse of Glory: The Path of Worship (Amsterdam, Holland)
13. Roaming Through Rome: The Journey Home (Rome, Italy)
Epilogue: On the Road Again
Appendix: Traveling Tips and Pilgrimage Sites