Sunday, April 3, 2011

THE SACRED JOURNEY by Charles Foster

This is undoubtedly the most difficult review I have ever written. We were provided a free copy for review by Thomas Nelson, and I began The Sacred Journey full of optimism and eager anticipation. In short order I grew disappointed, then outright angry. Feeling the need to justify this position, I provide four examples.

First. I am well aware Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists make pilgrimages. However, as a Christian, I have very little interest in them. Just as I am fairly certain they could care less how many people visit Lourdes or Fatima. It was my understanding the Ancient Practices Series dealt with Ancient Christian practices. I found the book’s treatment of Christianity as one in a group of more or less generic religious traditions to be bothersome.

Second. In addition to containing factual errors, the book is frequently irreverent. I found the reference to Jesus Christ as Yahweh Man extremely offensive. Call me a stickler, but I was also troubled by the reference to the Sudarium as “the veil Veronica used to wipe the face of Jesus.” The Sudarium (Strong G4676) in Oviedo, Spain refers to the cloth that covered Jesus’ face in the tomb. “…and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.” John 20:7. Veronica’s Veil, meanwhile, resides in a special chapel within St. Peter's Basilica and is brought out once a year on the 5th Sunday of Lent, Passion Sunday.

And to speak of the Eucharist, or The Lord’s Supper, as a celebration of a shared meal is to completely misunderstand its sacramental nature. A carry-in potluck supper is a celebration of a shared meal. The Lord’s Supper is, at its least, a perpetual memorial to his sacrificial death, and to many, the body and blood of Christ.

Third. Excluding trips to the Holy Land, most pilgrimage destinations are Catholic sites. It strikes me as disingenuous for a book dealing with what is predominantly a Catholic phenomenon, to turn into an Anti-Catholic rant.

Fourth. The narrative tone throughout the book is flippant, and packed with pseudo cleverness indicative of someone who is full of himself. I would expect a book of this nature to have been written by a theologian or a Church historian. Why they chose a lawyer who is obviously unqualified, is beyond my understanding.

The Sacred Journey is strongly NOT recommended.
— E. G. Lewis

Product Details:
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780849946097
ISBN-13: 978-0849946097

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Ed. I'm glad I didn't pick this one to review. Sorry you were subjected to it. Give me Scott Hahn any day. :-)