“Pilgrims”—which all of us are, or should be—“walk away from their lives to discover their souls,” Wesley Granberg-Michaelson counsels. What’s more, he would have readers cast off on such a voyage “without oars”. “[M]any pilgrimages are inward journeys,” Publisher’s Weekly explains, “and require a willingness to step away from one’s routine, and leave behind comfort, for the unknown. […] [D]etaching oneself brings [clarity].” PW expects “Christians feeling wanderlust will find inspiration in this inviting guide.”
Indeed, detachment is the first of three components that go to define a pilgrimage—we must move away from the self we “sell” to others, The Banner reviewer affirms. Attention is next: “Like a soldier at attention, the pilgrim acquires a readiness to ‘hear and respond’.” Finally, attention opens pilgrims to connection: they then can “connect” to their “true self”. As the critic has it, Granberg-Michaelson sees pilgrimage as “an embodied journey, not a cocoon of protected beliefs”. G-M allows, “I’ve come to doubt belief in beliefs.” Beliefs are oars!
So, Granberg-Michaelson, former general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, “proposes that, at some point in our lives, we must”—The Banner again—“trade false security and comfort for abandonment, and embark into danger….”
Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage
By Wesley Granberg-Michaelson
Broadleaf Books, 2020