There is a statement made in today’s culture that goes something like this, “getting there is half the fun.” In The Sacred Journey: The Ancient Practices Series by Charles Foster, getting there, wherever “there” may be, seems to be the most important thing in life. Foster sets out to show that man was created to be a wanderer, a person on pilgrimage, and happiness can’t be found in just sitting still. He uses the writings of prominent belief systems (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism) to support his position that man, by nature, is a pilgrim on a journey. To me, it was not clear if Foster believes the journey itself is a means to an end to find a relationship with God, or if God expects a pilgrimage of some kind from us in order to be drawn closer to Him. As a result of this not being clear, I was left to debate that question throughout the entire book.
I had a difficult time with this book. I hoped that I would like it, but I could not get there. In the beginning of the book, Foster deals with the story of Cain and Abel. The story was used to support the notion that God favors the wanderer more than others. Foster shares that God despises cities and that permanent structures indicate that man has stopped his journey. I found one statement to be especially hard to agree with. Foster wrote, “Throughout the Bible (with a crucial last-minute twist) God hates cities. He is much easier to find in the wilderness. He takes the side of the itinerant shepherd against the factory farmer.”
The reader, as I was, is somehow left with the impression that if you never have the opportunity to leave the comforts of modern life and take a journey of some sort you will never be satisfied. Although one example is given to the contrary, the initial impression still stands. Although I did not like this book, I was challenged by it. The Sacred Journey is well written and well researched. Foster challenged me to remember that our lives as a Christ-follower is a journey: every day moving closer to Christlikeness. He challenged me to be active in my pursuit of Jesus Christ.