In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage into the Beauty, Goodness, and Heart of Christianity  -     By: Jim Belcher
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In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage into the Beauty, Goodness, and Heart of Christianity

Inter-Varsity Press / 2013 / Paperback

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An stirring journey into the heart of the Christian faith.

In In Search of Deep Faith Jim Belcher, author of the bestselling book Deep Church sets out on a quest to see how the Christian faith faces the challenges of the modern world and answers the cries of the human soul. With his family, Belcher spent a year traveling through Europe, they made 'pilgrimages' to specific locations critically important to the formation of the Christian church in the modern world. They rediscovered key figures, places, events and themes in the history of Christianity:
  • Oxford: The City of Spires, Pilgrims and Martyrs
  • Igniting Desire: Sheldon Vanauken's Search for Meaning
  • The Struggle Within: The Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • The Weight of Glory: C.S. Lewis and the Power of Story
  • The Call: William Wilberforce and Two Conversations that Changed History
  • Broken Beauty: Searching for Vincent van Gogh
  • Goodness Happened There: Le Chambon and the Transforming Power of Community
  • Suffering: The Case of Corrie Ten Boom
  • Confident Hope: Learning to Die with Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Confidence: Searching for the Real Maria von Trapp
  • Heidelberg and Normandy: Lessons from Castle and the Cliff
Along the way, the Belcher family saw glimpses of insight, beauty and courage that transcended human limitations. They found themselvessurprised by joy and compelled by faith.

In a post-Christian world, doubt and skepticism come naturally to us. Many have given up on faith of any kind, finding it shallow and unsatisfying. But still we yearn for more. We hope for our children's futures. We long for lives that are meaningful, even eternal.

Whether you are giving up on Christianity or encountering it for the first time, you are invited to come along on this pilgrimage. Even if you are unsure of the destination, the journey itself may take you far deeper than you could ever imagine.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830837744
ISBN-13: 9780830837748
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Winner of a 2013 Leadership Journal Book Award ("Best of the Best" in "The Leader's Inner Life" category) Why bother with the Christian faith? In the post-Christian world, doubt and skepticism come naturally to us. Many have given up on faith of any kind, finding it shallow and unsatisfying. But still we yearn for more. We hope for our children's futures. We long for lives that are meaningful, even eternal. Grappling with his own questions, Jim Belcher set out on a quest to see how the Christian faith faces the challenges of the modern world and answers the cries of the human soul. Seeking renewal after a draining season of life, he and his family spent a year traveling through Europe, exploring the faith that has shaped civilizations throughout the centuries. They rediscovered key figures, places and events in the history of Christianity, from C. S. Lewis's life at Oxford to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's death in a concentration camp. Through the experiences of William Wilberforce, Vincent Van Gogh, Corrie ten Boom and others, Belcher saw glimpses of insight, beauty and courage that transcended human limitations. He found himself surprised by joy and compelled by faith. Whether you are giving up on Christianity or encountering it for the first time, you are invited to come along on this pilgrimage. Even if you are unsure of the destination, the journey itself may take you far deeper than you could ever imagine. FROM THE AUTHOR The story of In Search of Deep Faith by Jim Belcher After almost 20 years pastoring two congregations, raising four children and finishing my first book, I was tired and worn down—out of gas. I needed to make a change, to find a way to regain my passion for my calling. While I was exhausted, my wife and I were also worried about our four children and whether they were developing a strong enough faith to last a lifetime. Were they being more influenced by the culture around them—the media, materialism and friends—than by the story of Christianity and its reality in their lives? Then we hit on an idea. What if we traveled on a pilgrimage for a year to England and Europe, and studied and experienced the biographies and places of some of the great heroes of the faith—people like C.S Lewis, Sheldon Vanauken, William Wilberforce, Corrie ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria Von Trapp. Maybe this could get my passion back for my calling and at the same time help my children develop a deeper faith—a faith that shaped their imaginations and identities and futures. So we left the comforts of Orange County, Ca and moved to Oxford, England. We didn't have any definite plans but upon arriving we discovered that a pilgrimage has three components: to rediscover our roots, to understand that life is a journey and to know our ultimate destination. These three ideas became our inspiration, shaping the themes we pursued, revealing the heroes we studied, and steering us across time and place. And as the pilgrimage unfolded, day by day, month by month, what we learned and experienced over the year would startle us and surprise us and change us forever. In Search of Deep Faith is the record of this pilgrimage, an unfolding drama marked by suspense and intrigue. I hope you will take the journey with us and go deeper into the faith than you could ever imagine.

Author Bio

Jim Belcher (PhD, Georgetown) is President of Providence Christian College in Pasadena, California and former associate professor of practical theology at Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is the founding and former lead pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Newport Beach, California, where he served from 2000-2010 and led a period of steady growth. He is the author of the award-winning book

Endorsements

Jim Belcher's book is a great theological adventure story and Christian travel guide to Europe all rolled into one. But more than that, this book is just the ticket to a deeper faith for all who will take the journey.
-Will Vaus,
author of Sheldon Vanauken: The Man Who Received "A Severe Mercy"

This book had me at hello. The more I read, however, the more I was drawn into Belcher's earnest pursuit of the holy and found my own faith being deepened. Belcher is a master weaver of memoir, history, art, literature and theology--strands not easily brought together in one place. Upon the last page, I am reminded of Thomas Merton's words, 'Sit finis libri, non finis quaerendi'--'Let this be the end of the book but by no means the end of the searching.' Powerful and moving, In Search of Deep Faith offers a pilgrimage through the pages not to be missed.
-Carolyn Weber,
author of Surprised by Oxford and Holy Is the Day

What an engaging and illuminating book Jim Belcher has written. He carries us on an intellectual, biographical and geographical journey with his spiritual and theological heroes. You will not be surprised to find that his heroes are yours also. But this absorbing and honest book gives that rarest of gifts: a new, poignant way of thinking about familiar history. In the process, his pilgrimage enhances our own.
-Michael Cromartie,
vice president, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C.

The first chapter was my favorite--until I read the second. The second chapter was my favorite--until I read the third. Chapter by chapter, Jim takes you and your family on a practical theology pilgrimage through Europe that will expand your vision for Christ-centered living. You'll be thinking about it and talking about it long after you finish the final page.
-Kara Powell,
executive director, Fuller Youth Institute, Fuller Theological Seminary

Winston Churchill famously said, 'The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.' My friend Jim Belcher points the way forward by taking us on a compelling journey back through time and place in search for the ways in which the Christian faith has impacted the world, transformed people and shaped cultures. The fruit of Jim's year-long pilgrimage throughout Europe, In Search of Deep Faith is a personal, probing and provocative adventure into the robust realism of the Christian faith. Highly recommended.
-Tullian Tchividjian,
senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and author of One Way Love

Jim Belcher's intimate portrayal of his family's year-long journey through Europe reminds us that it is in life's pain, suffering and trials that we discover beauty, and its Creator.
-Daniel A. Siedell, author of God in the Gallery

A generation that desires to be 'radical' needs to be reminded that the word actually means 'rooted.' Jim Belcher's beautifully written family adventure through Europe provides an accessible, and touchingly personal, introduction to our Christian roots and church history. He reminds us that if we think we've seen farther, it's only because we stand on the shoulders of giants.
-Skye Jethani,
author of With and Futureville

Equal parts pilgrimage memoir, parenting book, theological reflection and biography collection, In Search of Deep Faith takes you on a particularly fascinating journey. That combination might sound strange, but it totally works, allowing us to view historical authors, theologians, artists and dissidents through the eyes of the author and his family, and to reflect on theological anchor points as if we were traveling with them.
-Mark Oestreicher,
partner, The Youth Cartel

'Come and see' is always and everywhere the invitation to the truest learning, and Jim Belcher is a remarkably gifted teacher, drawing young and old, believer and skeptic, into his own pilgrimage. Allowing us the unusual grace of seeing over his shoulder and through his heart as he leads his family into the stories of the people and places that have shaped his own soul, Belcher asks the honest questions about life and the world that we all ask, and answer. I want everyone I know and love to read In Search of Deep Faith, learning from Dr. Belcher about the things that matter most. A Pilgrim's Progress for the twenty-first century.
-Steven Garber,
The Washington Institute, author of The Fabric of Faithfulness

In his new book, Belcher expands upon the idea of deep church, investigating the sources of modern doubt and skepticism and sharing examples of Christian witness. In Search of Deep Faith helps readers discover just that: a faith with the power to carry through the ages and still convict our hearts today.
Relevant,
September-October 2013

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  1. Chris Woznicki
    Los Angeles, CA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    For anybody who has decided to take the journey...
    December 9, 2013
    Chris Woznicki
    Los Angeles, CA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I read Deep Church when I started doing vocational ministry and it absolutely shaped my approach to ministry so I began to read this book with very high expectations. It's safe to say that my expectations were met, and even exceeded.

    As the title implies this book is about a "Pilgrimage," specifically a pilgrimage in search of deep faith. Belcher's pilgrimage takes him on a journey to ensure that his "roots are deeper," his "maps are better," and his "destination is clearer." (291) Roots, Journey, and Destination are what this book is about.

    As you begin reading, you are immediately thrown in to a tense situation; you find Belcher and his family stuck in an RV in a shady part of Poland, looking for Bonhoeffer's secret seminary at Finkenwalde. The rest of the book is filled with that same sort of suspense you encounter in the first few pages, except the suspense isn't limited to his family's adventures throughout Europe; the suspense comes from the stories of several historical figures he introduces us to.

    Summary

    The book is broken up into three parts: 1) Rediscovering our Roots, 2) Life as Journey and the Need for a Map, and 3) Seeing our Destination.

    1- Rediscovering our Roots: These chapters emphasize the need for making our faith our own, and how making our faith deep bears upon our daily lives. Here we hear the stories of his family's move to Oxford, but also the stories of the Oxford Martyrs. We also hear the story of Sledon Vanauken's search for beauty. Belcher also recounts the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, he explains that this story teaches us about our own struggle between desiring holiness and desiring our sin. He ends this section with the story of William Wilberforce.

    2- Life as Journey and the Need for a Map: These chapters expand the metaphor of the Christian life as a pilgrimage, and show us that we need a "map" so to speak if we are to walk faithfully on that pilgrimage. He uses the stories of Vincent Van Gogh, Andre Trocme, and Corrie ten Boom as examples of people who didn't have a "map" (van Gogh) and people who had the "map" to guide them in their journeys.

    3- Seeing Our Destination: You can't be on a pilgrimage if you don't have a destination_ Here Belcher emphasizes the need to know our "destination." In times of trouble knowing our destination gives us strength to persevere. Belcher uses the stories of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria von Trapp (The Sound of Music) as examples of people who knew their destination. He concludes his journey with a trip to Heidleberg, the source of the Heidelberg Catechism. This final chapter is the clearest articulation of how the Gospel and the destination it points us to shapes our lives.

    Pro's

    1- It's a Great Introduction to Church History - I would not have expected it, but this book is actually a great primer on European church history, spanning the time from the reformation up until the 20th century. If you know somebody who could use an exciting introduction to church history then this is the book for you.

    2- It's a Great Book on Parenting - Throughout the book one of Belcher's concerns is instilling a deep faith into his children. I got a taste of how difficult that actually is, to be honest it freaked me out, but at the same time it gave me hope that its possible to pass on a deep and meaningful faith in Christ to our children.

    3- It's Very Well Written - At the end of the book Belcher credits several author's influence upon his writing, as you read you can tell that he has really worked on his writing skills. Yes, Belcher was a good author in Deep Church, but his writing skills have really improved. He crafts suspenseful stories and makes his points in a very clear manner. His writing kept me engaged the whole time.

    Con's

    1-There are no real con's - Some people might have some issues with his reformed leanings. Others might have some issues with him using Vincent van Gogh as a sort of "spiritual hero." But there really isn't anything to complain about here_.

    Conclusion

    In a season of my spiritual life where I have been feeling spiritually dry and aimless, God used this book and Jim Belcher to encourage me to stay excited about moving forward on the journey God has put me on. The stories of Thomas Cranmer, Corrie ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, William Wilberforce, and even Maria von Trapp encouraged me. Seeing their deep faith, which was grounded in the truths of the Gospel is sure to encourage anybody who reads this book. With that, I highly recommend this book. Whether you have been a Christian for a long time or whether you are just beginning to explore Christianity there is something for everybody who has decided to take a journey into Deep Faith.

    (Note: I was given a free review copy by IVP and was under no obligation to give it a positive review.)
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