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Traditions of the Ancients: Vintage Faith Practices for the 21st Century Paperback – April 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Books (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805440763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805440768
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,769,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Protestants looking for a little more ritual and liturgy in their religious lives without going too far out on a limb will find this easy introduction to be just the thing. A writer, editor and occasional PW contributor, Ford offers a collection of 28 practices grounded in biblical tradition or early Christian worship. Many of these rituals have fallen by the wayside in modern Protestants' religious practice. These include praying for the gift of tears and bereavement; using silence and solitude; and employing fixed-hour prayer, memorial meals, spiritual mentoring, and more. Written in a pleasant, conversational style, the book offers some interesting ideas to readers wishing to climb out of ruts in their prayer and worship habits. Ford makes it safe for evangelicals to borrow back a little of the high church liturgy and ritual from Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, as well as from Judaism. Want to feel physically wrapped in the love of God? Try wearing a prayer shawl. Want to pray unceasingly, but don't know how to start? Try reciting the Jesus Prayer. The book may be best appreciated by baby-boomer Protestants who will resonate with Ford's own religious journey. (Apr.)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on May 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
In her new book Traditions of the Ancients: Vintage Faith Practices for the 21st Century, author Marcia Ford tells two stories. The first is a well-researched and easily understandable retelling of practices of third-century Christians. Ford chronicles ways that ancient ascetics, monks and everyday Christians attempted to bring their bodies and minds in line with the faith they professed. This includes fasting, a theology of tears, manual labor, and a host of other practical, powerful, and occasionally bizarre ways to relate to the unseen.

Woven throughout this framework is the second story, one of an evangelical Christian from the boomer generation rediscovering these ancient techniques and reviving them in the midst of twenty-first century life. It is this story that breathes life into the other and gives the reader hope the they might also learn to apply ancient disciplines to heighten awareness and focus on ethereal truth in a material world.

Ford knows her stuff. In this book, she draws on a wealth of research and experience to reach a generation of evangelicals who often lose sight of the excitement and mystery of living by faith. With a gracious and humble touch, she describes how early Christians related to a religion that was relatively young. Drawing on their disciplines, practices and experiences, she calls today's Christians to rediscover a way of devotion that many have forgotten.

Ford enters into the experience herself, openly describing her encounters with each discipline and admitting when she has not tried the practice herself. With candor and surprising insight, she gets inside each tradition, feeling her way around it, then relating it in a way that is accessible, relevant and compelling.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By indrani on September 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I thought this was interesting, and served as an introduction to some of these ancient practices to those who are not a part of the churches where these practices have been kept alive for centuries, if not millenia. I think it is very misleading of the author to refer to these as "vintage" practices that Christians have kept in the attic - they are in actuality living practices, kept alive by the Eastern Orthodox churche, not kept in an attic by Protestant Christians, as they simply were not aware of them. The author also makes some vague, unsupported claims of these practices being abused by traditional churches, and presumably "sanitizes" them to make them safe for true Christians. This is her opinion - but it seems to me that taking these traditions completely out of their context and religious/spiritual meaning, as they have very deep roots in religious practice, strips them of their full power and significance, which is a true shame. People get a superficial taste of the benefits of such practices, but not the real deal. My advice - if you want more, dig deeper than this book! If you just want to add a little novelty or a different mood to your religious life, this book will suffice, but it also won't affect you in a deep or lasting way, which, unfortunately, will lead you to the false conclusion that the practices themselves were superfluous. If you want to truly change your spiritual lives, dig much deeper. Seek out the ancient church itself, where these traditions are not vintage, but alive: The Orthodox Church: New Edition or Thirsting For God in a Land of Shallow Wells
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must have. This wonderful resource includess 28 chapters with each including an ancient Christian tradition of drawing closer to the Lord. Chapters are short and can be read separately. It's great to see so many different ways and vehicles (non-wacko although some are very interesting) that can be used to further our devotional lives.
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More About the Author

Mostly, I'm a book author, with 18 traditionally published books. I'm also a ghostwriter, though of course I can't talk specifically about those books; let's just say that I've ghostwritten or contributed to 12 additional books. I'm also a book editor, book reviewer, writing instructor, writing mentor, and journalist. I'm married with two adult daughters, and I have a special interest in postmodern spirituality.

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Traditions of the Ancients: Vintage Faith Practices for the 21st Century
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