Christianity is far more than a set of beliefs or a compelling intellectual vision; it is also a comprehensive way of life.” This premise both motivates and informs author Darryl Tippens, who in his delightful new book Pilgrim Heart presents “an invitation to consider afresh what it means to live like Jesus.” Even the Gospel of John, he notes, which so clearly emphasizes believing, practically begins and ends with Jesus’ personal call: “Follow me.” This call is reflected in the subtitle to Pilgrim Heart — “The Way of Jesus in Everyday Life.”
Biblical faith is embodied in a journey, Tippens insists, not in the clouds but here on the ground. It is a pilgrimage of people living in human bodies, experiencing “passion, tears and laughter” in company with others on the same journey with Jesus. A faithful heart is always a passionate pilgrim heart, Tippens concludes, “ever on the road, ever moving forward — searching for understanding, seeking the face of God.” The development and exercise of such a pilgrim heart is the essence of Christian spirituality, as it always has been since those first disciples left their nets to follow the rabbi from Nazareth whom the wilderness prophet John had declared to be the Lamb of God.
What does such a life look like? In answer Tippens offers 14 “practices of the pilgrim heart” — Emptying, Welcoming, Resting, Befriending, Confessing, Forgiving, Listening, Discerning, Singing, Creating, Feasting, Reading and Storytelling, Suffering, Seeking. His discussions of these “practices” (or “disciplines”) share wisdom distilled from Tippens’ own spiritual travels, richly flavored with an encyclopedic range of quotations from such ancient pilgrims as Augustine, Aquinas, Lady Julian and Gregory the Great as well as modern writers including Bonhoeffer, Merton, Nouwen, Foster and L’Engle. Each chapter is intimate in tone and eminently practical, leaving no doubt what the particular “practice” involves for us here and now, the hazards it avoids and the blessings it affords.
I am honored to know Darryl Tippens, a humble follower of Jesus who practices what he preaches (while serving as provost of Pepperdine University) and it is a pleasure to recommend with five-star rating this excellent book. If you have a Bible already and can buy one more book, you will not go wrong to obtain Pilgrim Heart: The Way of Jesus in Everyday Life, by Darryl Tippens (Leafwood Publishers, 2006), available at http://www.leafwoodpublishers.com or by phone toll-free (in USA) at 1-877-816-4455.