Journey: The Way of the Disciple

Richard Littledale, Authentic (2017)

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While Forrest Gump compared life to a box of chocolates, Richard Littledale invites us to think of it as a pilgrimage. It turns out to be a rich metaphor for the adventure of faith and this book unpacks it in an engaging, thought-provoking and wide-ranging way. From the earliest recorded pilgrims to the modern-day walkers of the Camino de Santiago, Littledale explores the spiritual significance of setting out from home, of overcoming the challenges and distractions on the road, of developing community with fellow travellers, and of returning home transformed. Along the way he weaves in biblical references, movies, memoirs, hymns and poetry, resulting in a colourful and multi-dimensional picture of the meaning of pilgrimage.

Littledale says at the outset that he has not himself been on a pilgrimage. My first response in learning that was to feel it was a shame, and that some of his credibility on the subject was lost. But the message of this book is not that we should all leave our lives and go on a long and arduous hike. It is really a book about discipleship, as he explains: ‘I want people to look at their path to work, or to college, or to their neighbour’s house, as a segment of the pilgrim’s way, whatever that implies.’ This is a book and a subject that speaks to all of us who call ourselves disciples of Christ. It is written by someone skilled with words and wise in life, making him an ideal companion for the journey.

Reviewed by Jo Swinney