!!> Epub ➠ In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage Into the Beauty, Goodness and Heart of Christianity ➟ Author Jim Belcher – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk

In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage Into the Beauty, Goodness and Heart of Christianity Winner Of A Leadership Journal Book Award Best Of The Best In The Leader S Inner Life Category Why Bother With The Christian Faith In The Post Christian World, Doubt And Skepticism Come Naturally To Us Many Have Given Up On Faith Of Any Kind, Finding It Shallow And Unsatisfying But Still We Yearn For We Hope For Our Children S Futures We Long For Lives That Are Meaningful, Even Eternal Grappling With His Own Questions, Jim Belcher Set Out On A Quest To See How The Christian Faith Faces The Challenges Of The Modern World And Answers The Cries Of The Human Soul Seeking Renewal After A Draining Season Of Life, He And His Family Spent A Year Traveling Through Europe, Exploring The Faith That Has Shaped Civilizations Throughout The Centuries They Rediscovered Key Figures, Places And Events In The History Of Christianity, From C S Lewis S Life At Oxford To Dietrich Bonhoeffer S Death In A Concentration Camp Through The Experiences Of William Wilberforce, Vincent Van Gogh, Corrie Ten Boom And Others, Belcher Saw Glimpses Of Insight, Beauty And Courage That Transcended Human Limitations He Found Himself Surprised By Joy And Compelled By Faith Whether You Are Giving Up On Christianity Or Encountering It For The First Time, You Are Invited To Come Along On This Pilgrimage Even If You Are Unsure Of The Destination, The Journey Itself May Take You Far Deeper Than You Could Ever Imagine FROM THE AUTHOR The Story Of In Search Of Deep Faith By Jim Belcher After Almost Years Pastoring Two Congregations, Raising Four Children And Finishing My First Book, I Was Tired And Worn Down Out Of Gas I Needed To Make A Change, To Find A Way To Regain My Passion For My Calling While I Was Exhausted, My Wife And I Were Also Worried About Our Four Children And Whether They Were Developing A Strong Enough Faith To Last A Lifetime Were They Being Influenced By The Culture Around Them The Media, Materialism And Friends Than By The Story Of Christianity And Its Reality In Their Lives Then We Hit On An Idea What If We Traveled On A Pilgrimage For A Year To England And Europe, And Studied And Experienced The Biographies And Places Of Some Of The Great Heroes Of The Faith People Like CS Lewis, Sheldon Vanauken, William Wilberforce, Corrie Ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer And Maria Von Trapp Maybe This Could Get My Passion Back For My Calling And At The Same Time Help My Children Develop A Deeper Faith A Faith That Shaped Their Imaginations And Identities And Futures So We Left The Comforts Of Orange County, Ca And Moved To Oxford, England We Didn T Have Any Definite Plans But Upon Arriving We Discovered That A Pilgrimage Has Three Components To Rediscover Our Roots, To Understand That Life Is A Journey And To Know Our Ultimate Destination These Three Ideas Became Our Inspiration, Shaping The Themes We Pursued, Revealing The Heroes We Studied, And Steering Us Across Time And Place And As The Pilgrimage Unfolded, Day By Day, Month By Month, What We Learned And Experienced Over The Year Would Startle Us And Surprise Us And Change Us Forever In Search Of Deep Faith Is The Record Of This Pilgrimage, An Unfolding Drama Marked By Suspense And Intrigue I Hope You Will Take The Journey With Us And Go Deeper Into The Faith Than You Could Ever Imagine


10 thoughts on “In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage Into the Beauty, Goodness and Heart of Christianity

  1. says:

    I am not going to say a lot about this book I enjoyed the premise, although perhaps the writing was a little contrived, or maybe it was just my own mood Terrific idea.


  2. says:

    Out of the Frying Pan In Search of Deep FaithWhen I accepted the copy of Jim Belcher s latest book in exchange for a review, I had no idea that it was an invitation to such an enormous challenge What s the big deal, right Just read it, and critique it Sure, that s what you re getting here, but this is NOT where it ends.I met the Belcher family while they attended ICCP during their stay in Provence, and was intrigued by Jim s intentions to study his heroes of the Christian faith during a sabb Out of the Frying Pan In Search of Deep FaithWhen I accepted the copy of Jim Belcher s latest book in exchange for a review, I had no idea that it was an invitation to such an enormous challenge What s the big deal, right Just read it, and critique it Sure, that s what you re getting here, but this is NOT where it ends.I met the Belcher family while they attended ICCP during their stay in Provence, and was intrigued by Jim s intentions to study his heroes of the Christian faith during a sabbatical year with his family in tow, no less We ve been witnesses to expatriate families for many years, but none with such a clear plan at least, none that were still holding true to that plan six months on Expectations often get derailed early on while living the dream, so what makes the Belchers any different Their plan is the premise of In Search of Deep Faith, Downers Grove, IL InterVarsity Press, 2013 ISBN 978 0 8308 9576 2 digital ISBN 978 0 8308 3774 8 print Like his favorite travel writer, Robert D Kaplain, Jim and Michelle Belcher wondered how to recapture the sense of endless possibilities before the accumulation of deeds to justify when one was unaccountable to time because there was always time to make up for a mistake Added to that is their exploration of Pilgrimage Jim quotes John Inge, in his A Christian Theology of Place, saying that a pilgrimage is characterized by three things a rediscovery of our roots, and understanding that life is a journey and a new focus on our true destination In Search of Deep Faith recalls John Bunyan s A Pilgrim s Progress, and I would add that this is the family man s Blue Like Jazz This is a journal revealed for our own introspection Even in writing this review, my notes are growing, rather than being edited down for public consumption What is the difference between vacation and vocation I ve had to answer to that question uncountable times in the 25 years I ve lived outside my native Pennsylvania What are you doing here Tim s employer determines where we live, and as homemaker, I ve struggled to maintain equilibrium in foreign lands Because the Belchers voluntarily chose one year abroad, their experience was concentrated by the Refiner s fire We are invited as honored guests into their crucible Jim writes with the clear confidence that even though he doesn t fully understand God s ways, he trusts that Father s guidance will see him through.There is an interesting flow between the heroes stories and the Belchers The real lessons never grow old Time is eternity, when it comes down to God s principles Each chapter highlights different characters in different countries in different generations over different periods and cultures It s utterly fascinating to see how such different people are similar in their quest for a higher goal, and Jim weaves past and present in such a way that invites future exploration.As well as clear heroes of the faith such as William Wilberforce, C S Lewis, Corrie ten Boom, Dietrich Bonheoffer and Maria von Trapp, there are also considerations of Robert Louis Stephenson and Vincent van Gogh what are the crucial elements of faith or what derails a pilgrimage Oh, there is so muchI d like to tell you about what I ve found here But that s what s taken me so long to write this much In Search of Deep Faith is the kind of book that invites further study, both of the people of integrity whom Jim set out to meet, and for the possibilities for development in our own lives The Belcher family participated in a courageous experiment, even if they didn t know what that entailed when they began their journey I was reminded of a lesson that Corrie ten Boom used to share, saying that our lives resemble a complex tapestry of which we only see the tangled threads on the backside It s only after looking back on a life well lived that we can see the beautifully woven pattern that Father designed for us.I hope that I ve convinced you to purchase a copy, and to join me for a coffee and further discussion There s so muchof this journey I want to unpack For instance, the first several paragraphs really bother me Not to drop any spoilers, the beginning did not sound like the Belchers I knew, and felt incongruous to the rest of the book I was uncomfortable reading of their discomfort, and was frankly quite relieved that fearfulness was not a typical condition Discomfort, yes, the pilgrim can expect that, but unrestrained worry I ve got a sense that this was tacked on in final editing to make us feelat home, am I right To quote Jim, This year abroad was about discovering our spiritual roots, then it certainly had to be about helping our children, and us, understand the battle within and how our old nature no longer defines our reality The Culture Shock that the Belcher family elicited plunged the entire family into deep change It could ve gone either way broken binding idols of comfort and implanted a habit of growth, or driven themdeeply into the desire for comfort and developed a life of entropy Jim s expressed blessings on each family member are eloquent evidence that he recognizes their individual potentials and personal development He blesses us, too How do we know if we are on a tour or a pilgrimage According to Wright, The rest of whether pilgrimage is genuine is the question, whether you re prepared for God to remake you instead, lovingly to break the brittle you that you ve so carefully constructed, to soften the clay in his hands and to remake you in his image, not the one you imagined Thanks, Jim, for this blessed assurance that we are not alone on this great journey In fact, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, and it s a true blessing for us to remember that together.I m not in any way required to write a rave review simply because I received a free copy from IVP, or because I think the Belchers are people worth knowing although both are true I m raving because not every book is worth recommending, and this one is In Search of Deep Faith is available as an eBook, but I want to encourage you to support your independent bookseller One of my favorites is Dallastown s very own Hearts Minds for a 20% discount If you re looking forthought provoking or spirit developing books, don t hesitate to ask They even ship wherever in the world you happen to be pilgrimaging


  3. says:

    Jim Belcher and his family were at a crossroads He d spent ten years pastoring a church from its very beginnings into a thriving congregation He made the bold decision to resign His wife needed a respite from the bubble of pastoral ministry And he was facing a significant question as a parent how do I help my children come to own a deep faith in their own lives, not just an inherited faith that disappears when one is removed from a Christian social context, but an enduring faith Belcher s Jim Belcher and his family were at a crossroads He d spent ten years pastoring a church from its very beginnings into a thriving congregation He made the bold decision to resign His wife needed a respite from the bubble of pastoral ministry And he was facing a significant question as a parent how do I help my children come to own a deep faith in their own lives, not just an inherited faith that disappears when one is removed from a Christian social context, but an enduring faith Belcher s answer was a pilgrimage through England and Europe revisiting the sites where thoughtful and courageous Christians he had looked to as heroes lived, and sometimes died for, their faith This book is a kind of travel or pilgrimage narrative of that year.The first part of the book follows their journeys in England exploring the martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer, Sheldon Van Auken s struggle for a meaningful faith, the life and places of C S Lewis, and the conversations that changed the life of William Wilberforce, who changed the course of British history with regard to slavery.The second half of the book Parts Two and Three recount their journeys through Europe He begins, interestingly enough with the life and art of Van Gogh, and his struggle between despair and belief They move on to the French village of Le Chambon, where Andre Trocme and a village of Protestant Huguenots hid and saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust We shift then to Holland and the German prison camps where Corrie Ten Boom lost her sister but held fast to her faith for the same courageous act of protecting Jews Then we consider the life and death of Bonhoeffer, and the equally courageous decisions of the von Trapp family, both like, and unlike their Sound of Music counterparts We end with Heidelberg, and Martin Luther, and finally the soldier s cemetery at Normandy.Belcher interweaves the narrative of his travels and interactions with family with the narratives of each of his heroes And this also seems to have two major parts to it the challenge of ordinary obedience in things like home school lessons and our Jekyll Hyde struggle with sin during their stay in England In Europe, and particularly as they witnessed the sites of courageous acts and even martyrdom, they wrestle with what constitutes a deep faith that sustains one through despair, danger, suffering, resistance, and in the face of death It does seem that when Belcher realizes that the education in faith of this pilgrimage isimportant than math and writing and grammar lessons that they all are opened upto what God had for them on this pilgrimage.I ve read other narratives of many of the lives he profiles but I found Belcher wrote with a concise freshness that brought people like Lewis and Bonhoeffer to life in new ways for me Perhaps it was the act of inhabiting their places And I appreciate that Belcher kept it real with regard to the struggles as well as the moments of insights his family faced on this pilgrimage One of the best books I ve read so far this year I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through a contest hosted on Goodreads


  4. says:

    Remarkable This book took me by surprise My wife bought it for me speculatively thinking that I might enjoy it after noticing the references to CS Lewis and Bonhoeffer on the back cover Yet so many books try to establish a link with those classic authors in promotional material that I ve begun to be wary of it.Part journal, part travelogue, this book covers the author s year out, mid life, to visit places of significance in the story of post Reformation Christianity in western Europe Beginni Remarkable This book took me by surprise My wife bought it for me speculatively thinking that I might enjoy it after noticing the references to CS Lewis and Bonhoeffer on the back cover Yet so many books try to establish a link with those classic authors in promotional material that I ve begun to be wary of it.Part journal, part travelogue, this book covers the author s year out, mid life, to visit places of significance in the story of post Reformation Christianity in western Europe Beginning in Oxford, Jim Belcher travels with his young family to places of significance to reformation martyrs e.g Cranmer , William Wilberforce, literary greats e.g RL Stevenson , artists van Gogh , and those who suffered under the Nazis the ten Booms and others Adopting a framework of pilgrimage, with his wife and children, he reflects on not just the heroes of the faith, but core truths, finding rich insights in traditions such as Cranmer s Book of Common Prayer 1552 and the Heidelberg Catechism 1563 It sounds ambitious, I know, but Belcher pulls it off well, being personal and insightful without being over sentimental or unrealistic.I enjoyed the way he reflects on and writes about the serendipity of travel and pilgrimage There is so much in here that I could comment on What are some of the stand outs Journeys, suffering, parenting, education, the sovereignty of God The problems children and young people today face technology, media addiction, Disney culture and the lack of purpose, malnourished imaginations and impoverished moral education that sometimes ensue Belcher writes about these things as a pastor knowing the realities of our world today and as a parent concerned for the spiritual security of his children He doesn t claim to have all the answers, but invites us to come along with him for the journey He speaks of the false liturgies of desire which surround us today and encourages us to consider alternatives of faithfulness in the face of opposition, servanthood in the face of suffering and loving our neighbours as alternatives He exhorts us to consider our very lives a pilgrimage, with the new Jerusalem our true home.A very worthwhile read indeed, especially for anyone interested in reflective travel as a form of self discovery mingled with some of the most challenging elements of Christian history since the Reformation


  5. says:

    I picked this book up because I am going to Oxford this summer The first 4 chapters take place in Oxford and share some of the great history that has taken place in this city in regards to a number of key Christians from the past Cranmer, Ridey, Latimer, Vanauken, Whitefield, Lewis I read the whole book but was most interested in the first 6 chapters, which were very good The author is a an engaging writer and weaves his own story, theology, and personal reflection into the histories he is I picked this book up because I am going to Oxford this summer The first 4 chapters take place in Oxford and share some of the great history that has taken place in this city in regards to a number of key Christians from the past Cranmer, Ridey, Latimer, Vanauken, Whitefield, Lewis I read the whole book but was most interested in the first 6 chapters, which were very good The author is a an engaging writer and weaves his own story, theology, and personal reflection into the histories he is studying with his family while they are on pilgrimage around Europe The book started out very well but seemed to run out of steam about halfway through Still I enjoyed the first half tremendously and would recommend it


  6. says:

    This is an excellent book which is worthy of being on every bookshelf Belcher chronicles his family s journey on their sabbatical sharing details which everyone can learn from Belcher goes back and forth between their personal story and the historical events his family studied while abroad These lessons are a stirring encouragement for the reader of all levels Go buy it and start reading forthwith.


  7. says:

    I m going to miss this book which took me by surprise how many ways it connected with my life It is advertised as a book about a family pilgrimage into Europe, which it is, but it is also a book that makes fine devotional reading about various people of the faith we can and should learn from It is especially helpful for parents and all those shaping young minds as well At the same time the themes it wrestled with weren t simple or pedestrian, but concerned death, martyrdom, imprisonment, war, I m going to miss this book which took me by surprise how many ways it connected with my life It is advertised as a book about a family pilgrimage into Europe, which it is, but it is also a book that makes fine devotional reading about various people of the faith we can and should learn from It is especially helpful for parents and all those shaping young minds as well At the same time the themes it wrestled with weren t simple or pedestrian, but concerned death, martyrdom, imprisonment, war, concentration camps, and other forms of suffering all the while somehow deeply inspiring and hopeful The first part is a time for the family in England struggling with homeschooling and the second part is a tour across France and Germany to selected sites to learn about deep faith in trying circumstances Belcher really loves his subject matter and takes time to tell the stories in riveting ways, interspersing family lessons, book quotes from what they were reading and a love for the journey of life Highly recommended


  8. says:

    In 2010, after years of church ministry, Jim Belcher was worn out and spread thin, like butter, scraped over too much bread, to use the line from The Lord of the Rings.So along with his family, he set off for a year in England and Europe, not as a vacation so much as a field trip They visited important sites in the history of Christianity, while reflecting on the lives and teachings of their spiritual heroes familiar people like C.S Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie ten Boom, and William Wi In 2010, after years of church ministry, Jim Belcher was worn out and spread thin, like butter, scraped over too much bread, to use the line from The Lord of the Rings.So along with his family, he set off for a year in England and Europe, not as a vacation so much as a field trip They visited important sites in the history of Christianity, while reflecting on the lives and teachings of their spiritual heroes familiar people like C.S Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie ten Boom, and William Wilberforce, as well as figures like Andr Trocm and the villagers of Le Chambon in France, who were equally heroic, though their stories may be less well known.Never have I read a book quite like In Search of Deep Faith, which chronicles the family s pilgrimage Part spiritual memoir, part history, part travel writing, I absolutely love how he weaves it all together.An underlying theme throughout the book is the commitment Belcher and his wife, Michelle, have to raise their children in a way that will prepare them for what s to come as they approach their teen and adult years Repeatedly citing the much discussed National Study on Youth and Religion, which found most high schoolers, even if they grew up in a religious home, were unable to meaningfully articulate their faith In Christian Smith and Melinda Denton s book Soul Searching, which is based on the study s findings, they coin the now familiar term Moralistic Therapeutic Deism to describe the religious beliefs of typical church going youth in North America, who describe their faith in terms of being good people, who primarily aim to be happy in life, while keeping God at arm s length not close enough to interfere in daily life, but close enough to intervene when the need arises Needless to say, this falls far short of orthodox Christian faith.Concerned about the seeming near inevitability of MTD, Belcher wonders how to cultivate in his kids a consequential faith to use Kenda Creasy Dean s term that will sustain them a faith that will enable them to deal honestly with doubt, and that will instill in them the virtues needed to act with courage and conviction when doing so isn t convenient The family s spiritual pilgrimage comes to constitute at least part of the answer, and wonderfully so.The chapter on the French village of Le Chambon provides an unforgettable case in point The story of the courage and conviction of pastor Andr Trocm and his fellow villagers during World War II is told in the book Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, but to my shame it was new to me After France had capitulated to Hitler and Germany, the men and women of this Huguenot village risked their lives to provide a safe haven for an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 Jews, who at that point had nowhere left to hide At a time of barbaric suffering at the hands of the Nazi regime, it has been said that goodness happened in Le Chambon, and it was because the conviction and courage of Trocm and his parishioners had become deeply ingrained virtues, not mere accessories to an already full life Embodying the sacrificial love of Jesus had become second nature.In order for any of us to act as the villagers of Le Chambon did under pressure, who risked their lives to protect the lives of others, doing so would have to become second nature for us too And for it to become second nature, we would need to see these virtues demonstrated in the context of a nurturing community In other words, spiritual formation and fellowship in church have everything to do with doing justice and loving mercy in the world You can t divorce the two without grave consequences.In Search of Deep Faith is not a comprehensive survey of the most influential Christian figures in history Rather, it s limited to those who have most influenced Belcher and his family and who happened to come from a particular region of the world that the family could afford to visit in a limited amount of time So I can t fault him too much for the fact that this pilgrimage was so Eurocentric Nonetheless, I hope I d be forgiven for suggesting what a spiritual feast it would be if someone managed to write a book like this part spiritual memoir, part history, part travel writing exploring notable figures from the rich history of Christianity elsewhere around the world, particularly in the Middle East, where the faith began, as well as Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where fellow believers are reshaping the twenty first century before our very eyes But we can t ask Belcher do to everything maybe I ll just have to write it some day One concluding lesson from this book that I ll carry with me comes from the chapter on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who as we all know was ultimately killed by the Nazis, while so many other clergy in Germany embraced begrudgingly or not the nationalistic and racist ideology of Hitler s regime Like the villagers of Le Chambon, Bonhoeffer s character had been cultivated through liturgical practices and deep community, both of which are instructive for us today.But there was something else especially evident in Bonhoeffer s life right up until the end It was his eschatological imagination, biblically informed, which gave him eyes to see beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hitler and the Third Reich wouldn t have the last word The day is coming, he knew, when sin and death would be no .That hope sustained him then That hope can sustain us still Seeat


  9. says:

    Past history, personal memoir and travel log this book is a crisp easy read It made me want to visit the sites of these great heroes A tiny bit of the narrative seemed to focus on what would be first world problems I think Belcher realizes this when he reviews the horrible circumstances and suffering that some of these Saints endured This book would be a good way to introduce people like Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Corrie Tin Boon, and Van Gogh to those who might not read about them otherwise.


  10. says:

    I absolutely loved this book My only regret is that I did not read it before we went to Europe The book is about the author s family s 9 month trip to Europe He tells the stories of C.S Lewis, William Wilberforce, Vincent van Gogh, Corrie ten Boom, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, among others Highly recommended


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