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Taking My God for a Walk: A Publisher on Pilgrimage Paperback – November 27, 2016
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"Tony's pilgrimage challenges on all levels - from aching feet and exhaustion to the deep longing within him to connect soul to soul with the God he loves. This book will move and inspire you." -- Pam Rhodes "Engagingly insightful, endearingly witty, and wholly honest, this account of Tony's adventure will whet your appetite, as it has mine, to embark on your own pilgrimage into self-discovery and deeper richness of life." -- Simon Guillebaud "Tony Collins' new book is an absolute delight. We take not one walk with him, but two, and both are a genuine pleasure. Here is a man who stands at the verge of retirement, who looks back and forward, and does so with both reverence and great good humour. There was so much quiet passion contained within these pages, and so many powerful lessons. Highly recommended." -- Davis Bunn, bestselling author "Reading Tony Collins's tale of thirty-two days upon pilgrimage provides a reader with much of the experience of the journey, except for aching knees and blisters. Tony began the trek hoping to 'put myself in a situation where, if God were inclined to speak to me, I would be in a state of mind to listen.' It becomes apparent as the book ends that this did indeed happen. If one cannot make the pilgrimage to San Juan de Compostela, reading TAKING MY GOD FOR A WALK is an excellent substitute." -- Mel Starr, author of The Unquiet Bones "Veteran British publisher Tony Collins calls us to join him along the famous Camino pilgrimage path, guiding us through its beautiful, gritty, punishing terrain. Joy, pain, regret, discovery - you experience them all on a journey like this." -- Sheridan Voysey, writer, speaker, broadcaster "A beautifully-crafted, hope-laden invitation to us all to put on our walking boots." -- Malcolm Duncan, author and speaker "A truly wonderful book: part travelogue, part history, part journal. Tony writes with wit, charm and intelligence, and above all, honesty." -- Andy Bannister, author of The Atheist Who Didn't Exist "This is a pilgrimage on paper. The words are like the whisper of God on the evening breeze. The images painted are like glimpses of the dawn after a long night. Tony's pilgrimage is that of a man who is learning to fall upwards, in the words of Richard Rohr. You hear the depth of his faith and the yearning of a heart that knows God is so much bigger than any of our limited notions of him and so much more beautiful than our most beautiful thoughts and ideas of him." --Malcolm Duncan
About the Author
Tony Collins has spent more than forty years publishing books and magazines, and has started several imprints, including Monarch Books. He is a reader in the Church of England.
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Top customer reviews
The book provides a chronology of Collins's pilgrimage, each chapter, a journal entry of a days or two's walk, recounting the sights, sensations and encounters. He relays the hardness of the path, his conversations with fellow pilgrims and the way made by walking. This is a travelogue describing Collins three-fold journey: a journey of cultural discovery of the sights, tastes and culture of Northern Spain, a historic journey into the politics and demographics of the region, and spiritual journey undertook to seek 'sources of reverence'(17-18). He meets God on the pilgrim road and is profoundly impacted by this journey.
I was interested in this book because the pastor of the church I am attending, recently came back from the Camino and came back with fascinating stories about her journey (which made their way into many sermon illustrations). Collins walked the same path. He weaves his theological musings with descriptions of towns and countryside, and particular interest in the friends forged along the way.
I enjoyed reading about Collins reflections on life and faith, his embarrassment (early on) of the impropriety of having a traveling companion called his 'girlfriend,' the ways he braved boredom and bed bugs as he sought out the gifts of the journey. I enjoyed the book without necessarily finding it a compelling read. I found I could only read it in fits and starts. I don't think this Collins fault. He is a good writer, witty, observant,insightful. But pilgrimage unfolds circumspectly. He walks the way of St. James and meets God in the walking and at the culmination of his journey. I give this book three and a half stars.
Note: I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. Monarch Books is an imprint of Lion Hudson and is distributed by Kregel in the United States.
Collins decided to make such a pilgrimage, the route of the Camino, the Way of St. James, a path for pilgrims for over a thousand years. He had found his spiritual life suffered from distraction. A suggestion by a friend seized his imagination and his journey was born.
Collins shares his halting steps at changing his thinking, of getting away from a schedule and the compulsion of productivity. He writes about the people he met, the conditions at night, his equipment, the history of the places, the shrines. He highlights the times of solitude and the ones of camaraderie. He reveals his own introspection and what he learned on the journey.
“One of the joys of the Camino, I think, is to meet so many folk who have refused to sit down by the waters and weep – or, having wept, have climbed to their feet once more. I heard some distressing stories along the Way. But I didn't meet any victims.” (202)
We live in a noisy world. Sometimes, Collins writes, we use that noise as a drug. It keeps us from having to think, to consider our place in the world. Going on this pilgrimage taught him much about his life. “I have eschewed peace and contemplation,” he writes. (157) Unlike a vacation, this journey forced him to evaluate his life, to be a solitary individual in a world where solitude is rare.
I recommend this book to those interested in pilgrimage. You'll find out why some have done pilgrimages historically and why people still do them today. You'll traverse the miles with Collins and meet other pilgrims. You'll also learn quite a bit about Collins himself, both the past and present.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
I found this book hard to get interested in because there were so many new-to-me words. By the title of the book, I thought it would be a book on the how-to of prayer-walking. It is actually a month long story of a 490-mile pilgrimage in all types of weather, meeting all types of people, including one man without shoes who rubbed vaseline on his sore, bare feet.
Disclaimer: "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own."