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Sailing Acts: Following An Ancient Voyage Paperback – October 15, 2006
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About the Author
Linford Stutzman was born in the logging community of Cascadia, Oregon. He learned many of his carpentry and mechanical skills by working alongside his father who was a farmer, logger, and pastor of the community church. Linford’s teenage years were spent in the remote interior of British Columbia, Canada. There he worked for the Canadian forestry service, fisheries, at a hunting lodge, and in mining exploration. Linford and his wife Janet have lived in Jerusalem, Israel; Munich, Germany; and in Perth, Australia. They have two grown sons, David and Jonathan. Linford holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America, a master’s degree in Religion from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree in Bible from Eastern Mennonite University. Since 1993 he has been teaching courses in religion, culture, and mission at Eastern Mennonite University. Together, Linford and Janet have led Eastern Mennonite University’s cross-cultural study semester to the Middle East numerous times, as well as summer-study programs to Albania, Lithuania, Greece, and Turkey. In the summers, they continue to explore the Mediterranean aboard SailingActs.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sailing Acts is arranged in chronological order from the time when Stutzman first considered this voyage to its completion years later. It records the struggles in getting time to take the trip, buying the boat, and navigating through Paul's missions. The pace, like that of a sailboat, is slightly varied yet always interesting. It feeds the imagination as well as the logical mind with adventure and contemplation of life in another time.
Part of the charm of Sailing Acts is the personal touch Stutzman brings by telling his own story. It is not just that the apostle Paul had hard times when he took his voyages. It is not even that others after him found it difficult. It is the storyteller himself who works to make the trip a success, and he knows first hand what struggles, exertions, and blessings it takes to succeed. The reader feels as though he is there along with him, worrying about boat prices and getting through customs. The people seem real and ready for conversation. Weather in the Mediterranean takes on a whole new significance, and Paul takes on new realism. This realism and immediacy stem not so much from facts, but from the story of experiences.
As a professor of religion at Eastern Mennonite University, Stutzman has authority to speak about the facts of Paul's life and travels. His knowledge is woven together with his impressions of the people, places, and stories he encounters to form a solid image of what it might have been like for Paul as he made these same journeys nearly two thousand years before. Passages of Scripture that used to seem dead and boring come alive when the subject is examined from a real-life perspective. - Linette Yoder, Christian Book Previews.com
SailingActs can be used as an inspiring devotional book as well as an adventure story. The author shares biref spiritual insights as he discovers more about Paul's life and his own spiritual quest.
Stutzman's humor, his descriptions of his fellow travelers in the sailing community, and his entertaining first-hand accounts made me wish that the journey would go on and on!
SailingActs is Linford Stutzman's account of the journey he and his wife took throughout the Mediterranean following the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul. From the purchase of their boat, christened the SailingActs, to each port of call that they (and Paul before them) make, to the end of the journey 15 months later, we sail with the Stutzmans to Israel, Turkey, and Greece in a quest to find out more about the man who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles.
Stutzman gains some valuable insights into the hazards of travel on the Mediterranean, hazards that were there in Paul's day just as they are today. Bad weather, government officials and their red tape, delays, the potential of shipwreck; Stutzman faced all of that, just as the apostle did thousands of years before.
I appreciate that Stutzman doesn't sugar-coat any part of the journey. When problems crop up, he tells about them. When parts break, we get to see just how hard it is to buy boat parts when you don't know the local language and the parts are for an older boat. The Bible only tells us of a few of the difficulties Paul faced in his journeys, but it's clear that there were a LOT more hurdles that he faced, but didn't write about.
The saddest part, for me, were the stops in Turkey. Turkey has a rich history of Christian ministry; the churches listed in Revelation chapters two and three were in Turkey, churches in that part of the world were instrumental in the early formation of Christianity. But the people there are ignorant of that part of their history. They don't know who Paul was, or what the big deal was about him. Everyone in Greece knows Paul, and honors him, but in Turkey (where he spent just as much time), he's an enigma. People are missing out on a major part of their heritage, and it's a shame.
SailingActs is an outstanding account of a tremendous journey. In the tradition of Feiler and Jenkins, Stutzman goes beyond a simple travelogue and learns to identify with Paul even as he learns more about him.