My friend Ruth Everhart has written a book. Actually, let me be more accurate: she's written hundreds of thousands of lovely, honest and true words over her years as a pastor and writer. But this week, we celebrate a particular achievement, the publication of Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land. Ruth's work is part travel writing, part memoir and part spiritual reflection.
Her book confronts the questions that confront us as we engage in pilgrimage---whether through travel or during our everyday journeys as people of faith--and the unexpected places we land in those journeys. Given recent current events, the book could not be more timely. That said, it is not a political book. It is a personal book, but in that wonderful way that the particular becomes universal.
Ruth is one of my Writing Revs---in fact, she and I are the only two charter members still in the group. (You can read about our group here.) My copy of Chasing is on its way to me, but I've had to joy of reading and digesting the book many times over the months and years. It's gotten better and better through Ruth's hard work and fine craftswomanship (I just made that word up). But what has been there from the beginning is a dogged willingness to ask hard questions of her faith and this land we dare to call Holy---steeped as it is in tradition, religion, conflict and grace.
Author Clyde Edgerton puts it well in his endorsement of Chasing the Divine:
I can think of only two reasons to buy this book: 1. You are not going to the Holy Land. 2. You are going to the Holy Land. In these pages Ruth Everhart writes eloquently about her trip into the dust and beauty of Christianity's cradle -- about her wrestling with her beliefs, her faith, and her past. If all pilgrims were as curious, insightful, introspective, firm, and openhearted as Ruth Everhart, our old world would roll more happily and safely through the universe. In her story you'll find bloodshed, humor, and -- most importantly -- love.
Ruth and I will be at First Presbyterian Church, Arlington, VA this Sunday evening, December 2, at 7 p.m. to read and sign books. Stop by for some nourishment through food and words.