Monday, July 6, 2015

Review of The Transforming Path

Book #27. The Transforming Path, by Terry Wardle. Paperback.

Despite being a seminary professor (of spiritual formation) at Ashland Theological Seminary, Wardle writes with the heart of a pastor. This was quite a fast read, and for the most part that’s a good thing. I would have preferred a little more “meat” in the book, but that’s not the audience Wardle was writing for.

The organizing structure of the book is a series of steps on the path of life that most (if not all) Christians will face. And also like a pastor, he manages to begin each of these steps (and chapters) with the same letter: Conception, Community, Consecration, Confrontation, Construction, Commission, Credentialing, Conflict, Communication, Communion, Compassion, Cross & Crown.

There are a few chapters that were particularly strong. “Compassion” talks about the distance that middle-class American Christians (including the author) have managed to place between themselves and the poor, and the damage that does the Church’s witness in the world. He also talks about the priority of racial reconciliation in the Kingdom of God, as well as those who are physically, emotionally or mentally disabled.

Another chapter I got a lot out of was “Cross,” which uses the role of Simon of Cyrene as a model for Christian living. Wardle points out that little is known of Simon’s ultimate fate, although his children are mentioned in the Bible. But his example of carrying the cross is one that we can learn from. Wardle gives many examples of the sacrifices that believers are to make as part of their Christian walk.

Again, there are moments when the theology could have been pushed just a little further; adding another ten to fifteen pages would have still kept the book very accessible to laymen. But in terms of what is in the book, as opposed to what is NOT in the book, I find this a good entry-level discussion on the basics (and a few of the not-so-basics) of the walk of a modern-day Christian believer.

Source: I pulled this one off of our bookshelf. Based on when it written, I would guess it was purchased at the bookstore of this church.

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